With a deep inhale I back away, letting the screams dull as I think about how sunken in her face was when she came to me after a month of being gone. I didn’t know. I didn’t take responsibility for what I’d done, and I let her walk out, thinking she’d be fine.
Because that was the story I wanted to hear.
“She told me things you had her do, but you didn’t have a name then. How you took advantage of her. You had others come in while she was tied down on the table. She told me how she didn’t even care when you tossed the heroin at her. That she remembers how badly she needed the hit. Even as you and the other men laughed at her and what you’d done.”
Seth isn’t expecting the next blow I give to the guy, straight across his jaw. He lets out a shout of surprise as the blood sprays from the gushing wound, down Seth’s jeans and onto his shoes.
The once clean, bright white sneakers with a red streak are now doused in blood.
He takes a step back, getting out of my way and keeping his hands up in the air. He’s acting like I’m the one who’s gone crazy. But how could I be sane if the very thought of what happened didn’t turn me mad?
“Seth, she ever tell you the things she did when we sent her away?” I ask him. Feeling a pain rip my insides open.
He shakes his head. His dark eyes are shining with unwanted remorse.
“She said she did shit she was so ashamed of, she couldn’t tell me. She said she didn’t deserve to live.”
I smash the hammer down onto Hal’s shoulder. But he doesn’t scream this time and that only makes me hit him harder. Still, he’s silent. His head’s fallen to one side and I don’t care. Maybe his ghost will hear me.
“All the money and all the power in the world, and I couldn’t save her,” I scream at the man. “You know why?” I keep talking to him. To the dead man. Feeling my sanity slip. “Why I couldn’t save her?” I ask him, knowing Seth’s eyes are on me, hearing his attempts to calm me down but ignoring him.
“Because she couldn’t live with the things she’d done when she wasn’t sober. She remembered it all. And she couldn’t deal with it.”
There is never true justice in tragedy.
You have to live with yourself after what’s done is done.
“Angie couldn’t do it,” I tell him. “She couldn’t live with the memories and she couldn’t forgive herself.”
I locked her in a room to help her get over the withdrawal. I gave her the pills and I gave her a safe place.
She killed herself.
“She had a sister. She had a mother who needed her. I couldn’t even get out of the car at the funeral because of how they were crying.”
It’s the endings that don’t have an honest goodbye that hurt the most. They linger forever because the words were never spoken.
I don’t know who I’m talking to at this point. Seth or a man who didn’t feel remorse for what he’d done, only for himself. I should have made him suffer longer. I should have controlled myself.
I hate that I ever sold her anything. I hate that the beautiful redhead at the bar would never smile again. All because of a dime bag of powder that took her far away from the world she wanted to leave. All because I sold it to her.
Every blow, I would take too. I deserve it.
Bethany should do to me what I’ve just done to this man. I led Jenny down that path. We sold her drugs, we bribed her with them for information. Even if it wasn’t her first or her last, I know we sold her something and then let her walk away.
The thought only makes me slam the iron of the hammer down harder and more recklessly. Crashing into his face, his shoulders and arms. Every part of him. Over and over again, feeling all the anger, the pain, the sadness run through me, urging me to do it again and again.
When my body gives out and I fall to the floor on my knees, heaving in air, I finally stop. Letting my head fall back, and closing my eyes.
I could never tell Bethany. She deserves to hate me. I don’t deserve her love, let alone her forgiveness. Not any of it.
The very idea of leaving three hundred thousand dollars in the back of a car makes me want to throw up. People kill for this kind of money.
I can hardly even believe I actually have that amount. I didn’t count it and I don’t intend to. I don’t want to touch it. All I did was unzip the bag once and then close my eyes again, pretending like I didn’t see it.