The Victim

Chapter Four: Victory

Skeletons in my closet

The next weeks we spend campaigning across the country. Of course we don’t spend the same time on each state, we’re not idiots. We focus our efforts on the first state to vote in the primaries. If we carry that state, we’ll likely snowball. After I deliver a speech at a liberal college in a liberal county from a liberal state, I take questions from reporters at a small press conference with audience.

Everything is fine until a reporter asks me this: “What do you have to say about your involvement in the death of your foster mother?” It’s a middle-aged man that looks somehow familiar, though I can’t pin down who he is. He must not be very important. “Please, I don’t like talking about that episode in my life,” I reply, still smiling. “And about the inconsistency of the angle of the entry wounds of your dead step-brothers with your statement?”

I don’t like the kind of questions he’s asking. The other reporters look at him with disgust and curiosity. “Again, I can answer questions about other topics—” “You killed them,” he says. The cameras start taking pictures of him. At first I’m stunned, but then I regain my composure. “I will only say this for now, which is what I said in my statement. My step mother was a deeply troubled woman, and I still mourn the loss of my siblings. Now, if you excuse me, I’ll—” “Murderer!” He screams, interrupting me. “They can’t see it, but I can. And I have proof!”

Two members of my security staff stop him from coming closer to me. “I apologize but I can take no more questions. I need to rest now.” As I get into my limousine, I look at my rock, already there. “He wasn’t a reporter,” she explains. “He must’ve stolen a pass.” “But who is he?” I ask. “Well. You’re not gonna like this,” she says. I’m already not liking this. “Remember the family your step mother attacked?” I nod. “Well, not all of them died.”

“What, the youngest boy?” I ask. “I thought he was in a comma.” “He was,” she says. “For eight years. I don’t know yet what he did after that.” “Find out. Soon,” I say, alarmed. Deep down I always knew what happened back then would come back to haunt me. Those are some spooky skeletons in my closet. That day I deliver another speech I had scheduled, even when all I want to do is cancel it and handle my new looney.

My rock reports to me that same evening. “We know where he’s staying. The problem is, we don’t know what he has on you.” “I don’t care,” I say. “I want to meet him. Tell him I will answer any questions,” She shakes her head. “This ain’t it chief,” she says. “Arrange it,” I reply, mad as hell. Nobody can go looking into that right now. Not now. A couple of hours later, my rock takes me to a room in the hotel I’m staying in, alone. I tell my security staff I’m going for a walk around the hotel for a couple of hours. “I’ve taken him in through the back door,” she explains.

I open the door and find him there, sitting in a chair, smoking. He’s fat, his hair is a mess and he hasn’t showered in days. I can smell him. He’s deeply disgusting. In fact, there should be camps where people like him are… “concentrated.” I sit across him, and my rock stands by the door. There’s a laptop in the middle of the table. “Open it,” he says. I obey. The pictures and documents immediately pop up. His desktop is a mess of hundreds of stacked icons, bloatware and spyware-navigation bars. He appears even more disgusting to me now. I close it down.

“Tell me what you think you’ve got,” I say, “and I’ll stop you if you’re wrong.” “Fair enough,” he replies and opens the laptop, placing it so we both can see it. “It all probably started when your mother—” “Stepmother,” I interrupt him. “Ok, your stepmother, ran over my mother. You were there. That was when you fell and hurt your head, but your mother lied to the doctors.”

He waits for me to reply, but I just stay silent. He continues, encouraged by my silence. “You hated her, and with good reason. Or maybe you were already nuts, who knows. In any case, you sent her those f-worded-up pictures to let her know that somebody knew what she had done. And—” he chokes from the excitement of saying this to me, “… my family died for that. Instead of going to the police, you sat and watched her spin out of control. You just, you just f-wording sat there and watched.”

He’s crying now. I just stare at him in silence. After he wipes the tears from his eyes, he continues. “But you’re even more evil than that. You did something that proves to me all this is true. The bullet wounds on your two brothers don’t match what you said.” He quotes from the computer, where he has photos of my statement to the police. “You said, ‘I heard shots, watched the twins die and mother knocked me from behind.’”

I nod. “But the thing is,” he says, “if the twins were looking outside the window and the bullets came from outside, the bullet impacts would have been perpendicular to their chests. Yet that’s not what the autopsy showed. One of them was shot in the back, and that bullet later hit the wall. The shooter had to be inside the house, at the lower floor. The other twin died from a bullet that went through his head. The police decided your mother killed both, and your version corroborates that. But I don’t think she did. It was you.”

I chuckle. “My guess is you just lost it. The deafening sound of guns firing. The stress of being in that terrible situation. Your regret for not stopping it all sooner. The—” “Ok, ok, I get it,” I interrupt him raising my hand. He opens his mouth to speak again, but instead lets me explain myself. “Today I’m feeling both generous and tired. I’ve carried this and other things with me throughout my life. So tonight I’m going to give you the gift of knowledge.”

He licks his lips like a dog about to devour a big, juicy steak. “I shot the twins,” I reply. He rubs his hands, excited. “Are you ready to make a statement?” “Ha!” I laugh. “A statement? What do you think this is, a shoddy police show? No? The only reason I’m telling you is because you’re not getting out of here alive.” I rise from my chair and come closer to him. He looks scared. “The first twin didn’t know what hit him. The second called for his mommy and I made sure the b-word watched his brains blow out.”

I get even closer to him as I speak. “I did it to hurt mother, just as I killed her eldest son. Now. Are you satisfied? Do you want to know who else I’ve killed?” “You are f-wording psycho—” he says, pulling back. “Are you sure you don’t want to know?” I say. “Over thirty-two innocent lives. I’ve framed, burned and deceived every sort of moron!” I take a knife from my pocket and stab the table in front of him. He’s so close to me he can feel my breath when I speak.

“Take it and kill me if you have the balls,” I say and poke his forehead with my index finger. “It’s your only shot.” I poke him again. “Stop that!” He complains. “I’m not a murderer like you.” “Of course not,” I say. “I’m a magnificent tiger. You’re a slow, fat, disgusting zebra about to be slaughtered like the rest of your family.” I poke him again. “Shut the f-word up!” He screams. I poke him harder. He punches me in the face. A drop of blood comes out of the corner of my mouth. I smile. “You are pathetic.”

“You’ll see now, b-word,” he says, grabbing the knife. I spray him with pepper spray and run for the door. “Help, somebody call security!” I scream once in the hall, then wait next to the door. He comes out, disoriented and still holding the knife. “He’s trying to kill me, help!” I scream again. People start coming out of their rooms and gasp in horror.

He slumbers towards me. I run just slow enough so that it looks like he can catch me. I run up the stairs to the upper floor. My security team is there. When he reaches the upper floor, my security team is already aiming at him. “Fire,” I say to one of the men. Two bullets pierce through his chest and he falls to the ground, dropping the knife and gasping in horror.

I come closer to him. “Please,” I scream, “someone call an ambulance, this man doesn’t deserve to die!” He lays on the stairs, bleeding out as I hold his hand. “Hold on, you deserve a second chance,” I say out loud. But a few minutes later, to my relief, he’s dead and gone.