6 Dec 2010


Posted by Oblivion in Fiction | 10:32pm

The nonchalant, sly smile broke Sid's patience. He closed his fist and punched Russell on his face. In his youth, such a blow would have hardly had any noticeable effect on Russell. But his frame has aged and become frail. The impact made him fall to the floor. As his jaws shivered, his mouth was full of blood. Collecting himself, he still managed to smile - it could've meant mockery of Sid's strength, or the lack of it - and stood up. Sid looked at him with rage. With a stronger blow, he saw Russell fall again.

Before Russell could clean the blood and stand up, Sid reached for the pistol on the table beside. He moved closer and pointed the weapon at Russell, whose eloquent eyes showed no trace of fear. "It's up, bastard!" Sid asserted. It took effort for Russell to smile and speak, "Not quite, son! I trust the Almighty and He will see me through".

"Delusions get stronger in the face of death", Sid remarked. "I don't even pity you. I served six years in prison for a murder you had committed. Now I will give you six holes in your skull - one for each of those years of my life that got sucked by time. None shalt save thee! Truth shall triumph".

Russell remained composed and replied, "Let me tell you a secret, son. Truth is most vulnerable. It is bare. Defenseless".

Sid noticed the cross resting against Russell's chest. Looking back intently at Russell, he said, "A remorseless exploiter is not fit to talk of vulnerability. You seem to be completely lacking in conscience".

"You excel at presumptions! Conscience is a self-appointed cop, needed by those who run away from themselves. A clear soul doesn't need conscience. Thank you very much!"

"Let me see how clear your soul is, then. Just because you got away with the murder six years ago, you think you can put the truth behind, locked and buried in a closet? You will pay for it. With your life. Now", Sid said emphatically.

"Six years ago when I killed Rameses, you knew it. But what of it? Who cared? The sinner gets away with it, wins plaudits and worship, and the poor fellow - you - has six years cut and the indelible tag of convict, just for being the unlucky witness to the crime! World cares for robes. I have the robe of the priest; you have that of the sinner. Nobody cares for truth".

"Much as I appreciate your wisdom and shrewdness, I am amused at your confidence. It's just one pull of the trigger that separates you from a certain death. You got away then. There's no getting away now. It's the judgment day. The world might have spared you... It indeed spared you, and that's why I am here. I will not", Sid explained. "And if you think I am here to brood over the lost years, you are wrong. It's for selling those three girls to pimps, you fucken pig! I won't let you get away with it". 

Briefly, Russell's eyes reflected surprise. "How could I not guess that! They are young, pliant and ambitious. I put them in to the trade they will do good at. Even if I take your moralistic ground for a minute, why should you have a problem when they don't? Regardless, son, I can see that I can walk out alive even now. I have the signs. I pity you don't see!"

"The signs? Like what? Miracles? Let me remind you, fucker - it takes twenty miracles to survive six shots to your brains. I don't mind another six in prison, but this time I will go with contentment. And I will let the world know how much of a disgusting old pig you are. They shall know the truth", Sid insisted.

"Either you don't know the world at all or you are too naive", Russell remarked with a smile. "The world is a slave to beliefs and hope. Hope is a lie, beliefs are lies. They want lies. All they do is talk about truth; they don't want it. They are scared that the truth might not fit their belief. In such a world, truth is always a casualty. So whom will you tell the truth to?"

"However the world is, it is not my problem. It's not about them. It's about truth. Whether they take it or leave it, it's their problem. I'm not leaving it to them this time. I'm ensuring justice right here, right now".

Russell looked unruffled. "You are still a young fellow. Don't be foolish, son. Listen to me. Give it up. Put it down. Forget it. Walk out. Go, live!"

Tightening his grip around the pistol, Sid punched Russell with force. Russell fell to the floor. His jaw was swollen. Sid took two steps forward, aimed the pistol at Russell and pulled the slide. "This is it, mate! Pray your Almighty". Russell saw Sid's face silhouetted against the bright glass roof. Holding the weapon tight with both hands, Sid squeezed the trigger.

When the trigger released, the sound was almost deafening. Even as his hands recovered from the recoil, Sid fell to the floor. The bullet went right through Sid's left eye and left a gaping hole in his skull. Russell got up slowly, adjusted his robe and stepped toward Sid. Looking at Sid lying dead in a pool of blood, still gushing, Russell whispered, "The first rule when you aim, son - be sure which way the weapon fires. You should've known that I wouldn't have kept a straight one for your taking! God bless you!"

The next morning, one read in print: "Sid shoots self. Succumbs". Further, the brief read: "Sid, the convict who served sentence for killing Rameses six years ago, shot himself as an act of atonement. He died instantly. Shortly after dusk last evening, Sid stepped into Se Cathedral, offered prayers, confessed to Rev Russell how guilty he had been feeling and how desperately he sought forgiveness and expiation. He carried a loaded pistol, whose ownership police have failed to determine. When Rev Russell tried to stop him, he reacted violently, effecting injuries. Before Rev Russell could alert the police, Sid shot himself and fell to the floor, dead".

The doctor administered analgesic to Russell and assured a quick recovery. "Should not take more than ten days, Father. Thank goodness he didn't shoot you!"

Russell smiled. "Thank you, son! God bless you!"