My heart was racing. Even still it couldn’t keep up with my body. The little shit was still a good ten feet ahead of me, but I never give up. I remember being a kid and running all day long. I loved running for fun, but mainly I ran when my dad was drinking. I was always faster than him, I had to be. I knew what he would do to me if he caught me.
My dad was a cop, not a very clean one. He always talked about honesty and principle. He was very good at talking, but not following it up. It got him killed. I wish I could say I missed him, but I honest-to-God don’t. I hate him and I think he wanted me too. I didn’t become a cop to follow in my father’s footsteps. I became one because of honesty and principle.
I swore to be a better cop. A better father and person all together. I like to think I’ve succeeded. My wife calls that modesty. I was gaining on him now. I was so close to catching him. Instead I got a face full of two-by-four. To make things better there was a nail in the top of it. I could feel the nail come out with the board. I couldn’t feel any pain though. Thank God for adrenaline. I tasted blood in my mouth, but I kept walking. I could barely see the asshole and his newly discovered friend “Babe Ruth”. They ran out of my sight, my bloody and blurry sight.
I still pushed on. I ran my hand along the building on the side of me for balance. The world spun around me. I didn’t plan on dying in an alleyway. I couldn’t even remember what the crook did, but it didn’t matter now. I had to keep moving. My life flashed before my eyes. I never thought that kind of thing really happened.
I saw my mom kissing my forehead and tucking me in. I miss her more than anything. She was an angel. Her heart was too big and it got her killed. She stopped to help someone on the side of the road. They shot her and drove off with her car. The police eventually caught the two monsters. I remember looking them in the eyes and asking why they would do such a thing.
“It seemed like fun.” That’s all they said.
No other motives or reason. That’s the day I met pure evil. Clyde Marvin and Donald Seether, their names still haunt me. I saw myself at her funeral. I was standing next to my dad.
He was squeezing my hand and staring into space stone-faced.
“If you cry I will beat the shit out of you. Act like a man and not a little bitch. Because I will treat you like one.”
He said that to a ten year old child. How was I supposed to act? He was squeezing my hand so hard it caused two fractures. Next I saw myself at fifteen. I was in my living-room and I heard a knock at the door. I answered it to find my dad’s partner Officer Joshua.
“Hey Jackie-boy, can I come in?”
I ran and hugged him before he could step foot in the house. I always considered Josh as my real dad. I knew why he was there. My dad had finally gotten what was coming to him. Josh held me tight like I was grieving. In truth, I had never been happier. I had waited years for that knock on the door.
It may seem wrong, but it was better than him walking through the door and throwing beer bottles at me. My dad wasn’t evil, but he still wasn’t a good person. I prayed for anything to free me from him. They were answered when some drunk patron at a bar smashed my dad’s head in with a pool stick. I guess he didn’t have a hard head after all. I didn’t go to his funeral even with Josh pushing me to.
Josh adopted me and for once things started to work out. I finished school and joined the police academy.
Josh tried to talk me out of it. “You can do anything Jack. You don’t have to live your life looking over your shoulder or around the next corner waiting to get shot.”
I looked at him and smiled. “That’s why we wear Kevlar.”
He smacked me upside my head. “You’d be dead if that was a bullet.” He laughed.
A year later Josh pulled over an armed suspect. Instead of paying a speeding ticket he shot and killed my best friend. David Reynolds is spending the rest of his life in a maximum security prison. He never got to see me graduate from the academy. I just hope he was looking down on me smiling.
Then in a flash I was back on my first date with Dianna. She was so beautiful. Her luscious red hair was covering her captivating blue eyes.
I pushed it aside with my finger.
“Now that’s better. You can see my pretty face a lot clearer now.” I said with a smirk. She laughed. Her laugh was intoxicating. I could bottle it and get drunk on it. Nothing was more heavenly than when she looked me in the eyes. My spine disappears and I melt into a blubbering idiot. I loved her more than anything in this world.
Suddenly I was at a church. I looked forward and my heart melted. She was walking towards me in her pearl white wedding dress. This was the day I swore never to forget. How could I, she was so beautiful. Everything seemed to be in slow-motion.
That’s when I fell face first into the ground. I was going to die. I would never hear my wife’s beautiful voice again, or my child’s first scream. I heard someone walking. I tried to move my head to see, but the adrenaline wore off. I couldn’t even call for help. I didn’t need to. Someone picked me up and started dragging me towards one of the buildings in the alley.
He was wearing a strong cologne. A familiar one. “Stay with me Jackie-boy.”
© 2017, Zachary Rhoads. All rights reserved.
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