Today, we learn the fate of our friends introduced to you in yesterday’s Micro-Fiction Monday.
“THE MOMENT OF TRUTH”
By: Rachel A. Carrera
One week later…
Kevin kept his arm tightly around Jen’s shoulders as the white casket with marble corners was lowered into the ground. He wiped his red eyes with his free hand.
Jen stared blankly into the distance. Her face was serene.
After the service, Pastor Sills shook Kevin’s hand. “I’m so sorry for your loss, Mr. and Mrs. Young. Have the police turned up any suspects, yet?”
Kevin shook his head and sniffled. “No. Their lab didn’t find any DNA, and Jen’s still catatonic, so she can’t help. I just checked her out of the hospital this morning.”
The pastor sighed and lowered his voice. “The doctors couldn’t make her talk?”
“No. They said she’s in shock, but she’ll eventually snap out of it in her own time. She’s going to start seeing a psychiatrist next week. I’ve taken some time off work so I can stay with her. After my leave is up, I guess I’ll have to hire a nurse. Neither of us have any family left, ya know. By the way, I appreciate you coming all the way out here to Dobbin to perform the service. I knew Jen would want Alisha buried next to her parents.” Kevin wiped his eyes and forced a smile, then grabbed his wife’s hand and laced his fingers through hers.
“Of course. I was happy to oblige. Well, listen, I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’ll keep you both in my prayers.”
* * *
On their way home, Jen stared blankly out the windshield.
Kevin sighed and patted her knee. “Jen, come on. Can’t you talk to me? Baby, please.”
A few minutes later, a loud bang from within the vehicle startled him from his thoughts. As the car rolled to a stop at a red light, he looked over and saw Jen’s casted arm hit the door of the car again.
Her mouth formed a silent O, and she leaned forward as she glared out the side window.
His eyes grew large. “What is it, Baby? What do you see?”
Jen’s breath came quickly. “That’s him! That’s the man that killed Alisha!” She pointed to a man heading into an alley. Her voice was loud and high pitched with urgency, and tears welled in her eyes. “That’s him!”
Kevin’s stomach lurched as he hurriedly parallel parked the car. “Are you sure? I should call the cops.” He took his cellphone out of his pocket then saw that the battery was dead. “Shit! I’m gonna go talk to him. Wait right here.” He jumped out of the car and raced to catch up to the man.
The man stepped out from behind a dumpster, gripping an old pizza box like a long lost treasure. He wore a shabby, black knitted cap and a threadbare, blue windbreaker. His crooked smile revealed several broken teeth. “Hey, buddy, can you spare a couple of bucks?”
Kevin scowled as he noticed the new burgundy and black plaid scarf tied around the man’s neck. That’s the scarf Jen got me for Christmas! His eyes narrowed, and his face turned crimson. “How come you’re asking for a handout when you’re wearing a cashmere scarf?” His nose twitched at the man’s stench.
The man chuckled. “You’d be amazed at what people throw away these days. Some jerk was probably banging his secretary, and she got it for him, and he didn’t want his old lady to find out. So, how ‘bout it, man? Can you spare some change?”
Kevin felt fire rise from his chest to his face, and his heart thumped loudly. He lunged at the man and shoved him against the brick wall with all his might.
The man dropped the pizza box and attempted to push Kevin back.
Adrenaline pumped through Kevin’s veins, and he literally only saw the color red. “You bastard!” He effortlessly pulled the scarf tightly around the man’s neck until the man’s face turned blue.
The man made some gurgling noises as he tried to gasp for air. Then the noises stopped, and his eyes bugged out as his head flopped to the side. He slumped to the ground as if in slow motion.
Reality slapped Kevin in the face. Hard. He gasped and stepped backward, then looked at the scarf still in his hands. Damn. What have I done? He shoved the scarf in his pocket and rushed back to his car. His hands shook as he pulled onto the road and sped away. After several silent minutes, he willed himself to remain composed as he asked, “Jen, are you okay?”
Jen stared silently out the window for the next several miles.
Kevin breathed deeply and tried to gather his bearings. I can’t believe I actually killed a man. I’ve never even struck another person in my life. He willed his breath to slow. I only did what I had to do. If I would’ve waited for the police, he’d have been long gone. His teeth chattered as he drove. “Jen, can’t you talk to me again? Huh, Baby?”
As they passed the sign that said, “Welcome to Brighton,” the car rolled to a stop at a downtown intersection. Suddenly, Jen gasped and pointed out the window. “That’s him! That’s the man that killed Alisha!”
The well-dressed man walked on the sidewalk toward them then passed the car. He wore an expensive, black ivy cap and a fitted, blue pea coat.
Kevin’s stomach churned as he looked over his shoulder, and his jaw dropped open. As he stared out the back passenger’s window, he caught a glimpse of his burgundy and black plaid, cashmere scarf draped across the backseat. The color drained from his face, and he felt lightheaded as he absentmindedly reached in his pocket and his fingers touched the other scarf.
* * *
Time to talk: Would you ever take justice into your own hands? Have you ever been guilty of mistaking one person for another?