Cold Night of Redemption

The darkness of night collapses around a small town. Out of the shadows, a man appears, running for his life. “It’s done and over,” he tells himself; running towards the black sedan, pulse racing with excitement. Heavy rainfall soaks him to the bone while fumbling for the car keys in his jacket pocket. He tosses the heavy green duffel bag into the backseat and then starts the engine. He speeds off, gripping the steering wheel, white knuckles breaking through his skin as if he was tightly holding the reins of a wild black stallion.

The rhythm of the windshield wipers seems to synchronize with his racing heart. This moment was months in the making, and he could not believe how easy it was, how quickly it went. No one ever suspected him nor saw this coming. There is barely any heat in the cabin of the sedan as he speeds along the icy road. Then he remembers that he needs to make a quick stop before continuing to his destination; the long winding road eventually leads him to an old cemetery.

He takes a long stare towards the valley of headstones as he exits the vehicle. The rain becomes sleet, like shards of broken glass scratching his face as it falls against his skin. He walks towards an unmarked grave; the headstone, cracked from erosion with various forms of weeds growing at its base. He cups his hands towards his mouth, blowing warm air into them as the cold night air provides an extra chill to his wet and aching bones.

Speaking down towards the headstone, “I did this for you.” Kneeling, “I promised I would take care of you and I failed, I should have never left you alone that night, “ wiping away his tears, “but it’s over now, tonight, I finished what they started.” The rain softly turns into snow, “no more children will ever have to suffer, and mothers will not have to cry themselves to sleep at night because of what that family did.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a picture of a little girl; it is an image of her laughing with the ocean behind her. He then kisses the picture and places it back into his pocket.

Suddenly, his cell phone begins to vibrate; he sees a text message warning him that law enforcement authorities were heading towards his current position. “I have to go now,” he stands and begins running towards the car. Arriving at the sedan to see the road covered in snow, and his windshield covered with thick ice. The car will not start; each turn of the ignition provides nothing but starter clicking and frustration. Time is running out; the authorities are gaining more ground. In his rear-view mirror, he can see headlights approaching bathed in blue and red flashing lights.

His mind races as he tries to figure out a way to escape certain apprehension, “no way out this time,” he tells himself. He hears, on a police band frequency, an all points bulletin for a person leaving the scene of his crime. The announcement describes a man who is not him as police cars race passed his car. All he can do is smile, relieved that he was able to get away with something so heinous.

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