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The Grand Finale
Danny could not sit still as the cab sped over the black and bumpy tarmac so fast that the passing greenery became a hazy blur. The car was an old Toyota model that had seen better days with worse suspension than a homemade pram. The only sound punctuating the silence in the vehicle was that of the air conditioning pumping through only a few filters and whistling with the extreme pressure. As the world slid by through the window, Danny was a kaleidoscope of emotions.
Alex had called him moments earlier requesting that they meet up at the park. Danny didn’t ask any questions, all that mattered to him was where they were.
He stared out of the car into the side walk but he wasn’t really seeing anything. It felt like the world wasn’t really there at all, like it was stolen and replaced with something empty, photo shopped, fake. His mind had drifted far away from the moment and he wasn’t quite sure who to blame for his predicament –his estranged and vulnerable wife or his double-faced friend that he trusted so much.
He blinked away the vivid visuals that flashed by his face as he watched the CCTV recordings few hours earlier. It was the most heart-wrenching recording he had ever seen. It felt like he just watched his wife in an X-rated movie.
He felt his side pocket for the blade as though to reassure himself of its presence. The harsh metal should have been cold and raw against his bare skin, but his numb body could not feel anything except for the excruciating pain of his betrayal. He was blinded by a five-course serving of rage that tasted awfully bitter, longing to be satisfied. The knife would eke out his recompense.
His fingers curled tightly around the hilt of the knife. In his mind, he could feel his fist smashing into Alex’s nose, splattering red blood everywhere, just before he buried the knife somewhere in his torso. He clenched his fist at the thought then shook his head as though in pity but rather his patience at the journey had begun to wane.
At the next turn, the Public Park stood out with rolling acres of greenery as far as the eyes could see. The park, once resplendent in the town’s heyday was now a scrub of moss and weeds. The down and outs jostled each other for a spot on a concrete bench, anything to get off the sodden ground. There were benches, ornamental trees, flowers year round growing unkempt and what once was a water fountain now bare safe for a carpet of slimy algae.
But this was one of the few parks in the town that had a decent crowd visiting it every weekend.
Cars jostled for parking spaces as kids, parents and lovers thronged the entrance of the park. Danny didn’t wait for the vehicle to stop as he tossed some cash to the driver and then slammed the door shut behind him. His change? – that didn’t matter, not today!
He felt like a one-man-army, his body still reverberating from anger that sought for release that afternoon and it didn’t matter if the park was parked to the rafters with people or not.
As he entered the park, a slight breeze rustled the leaves along the concrete walkway making them fall to the solid ground one by one. He paid little attention to this as he scanned the sea of heads for a familiar face. He looked out for Julia, confident that he could recognize his wife even in the dark. Then he approached in measured strides the walkway towards the fountain turning his head on either side looking for Julia.
The scenery and landscape of the park didn’t appeal to him like they once did. He looked critically at everyone within his line of sight in search for his friend and Wife.
Alex watched from a vantage spot, he had seen Danny march in like a man on a mission. His body language told him all he needed to know. His eyes that were once filled with so much purpose and love was now replaced with bitterness and hate. The only thing that showed any resemblance to the old friend was the shell the bitter soul inhabited. His old friend had gone and in his place was this impostor whose stance did not bode well. In these ashes there was nothing to renew the spark of loyalty they once shared.
At that moment, he saw the outline of the knife tucked into Danny’s trouser pants as the whistling wind opened up the lower part of Danny’s shirt. The glimmer of the blade was unmistakable even as the crowd moved across his line of sight. A sudden blanket fear absorbed Alex, his hand found the knife tucked in between his own pants for comfort. Tapping it for assurance.
Alex grabbed Julia by her wrist firmly and dashed through the crowd. This wasn’t going the way he had thought-yet again. Julia offered no resistance, she hadn’t seen Danny.
Danny noticed the sudden movement and spotted the couple as they made for the lower section of the park. He heaved an elderly couple hobbling slowly away from his path and started a chase.
His breath came in small spurts, hot and nervous. At his sides, long fingers curled into sweaty fists, swinging forward as if it would make him faster. He was indeed gaining ground as he could see his wife running gingerly behind his friend.
“Julia” He screamed
Alex was having none of it. He soon realized that being chased was nothing like the movies. The stars look heroic, sexy and in command of the situation. Reality was far removed from that pretty version of running to save you skin. He had no time to wait for Julia as he let go of his hold and took to his heel.
Julia crumbled into a mass of flesh as she hit the concrete walkway with a thud. She turned her head to see Danny running within a few meters towards her. Her lover was far ahead weaving through the crowd of holiday makers.
Danny only had a short moment for Julia, “Are you okay?” he asked in between deep breaths with his face contorted into a deep and genuine concern.
Julia had never seen her husband’s face so full of conflicting emotion. He was up on his feet before Julia’s hand could caress his sweaty face. He continued the chase, this time with more gusto but Alex was fast disappearing into the crowd, running in zigzags.
Julia followed Danny, she lacked the strength to run as fast as Danny as her legs could no longer carry her weight. She resolved to a power walking while meandering through the bodies bearing all sort of sweaty and pungent perfumes. The crowded park slowed her down.
Alex started to tire out as his legs broke from beneath him and he collapsed onto the nearest bench. He had to catch his breath. His lung could only take so much gust of air. He scanned the park for signs of Danny. At first it looked like had more time to rest, but within a few seconds, Danny’s galloped in like an untiring horse. His heart started racing and he knew he had to keep going. Branches constantly attacked him, leaves crunched under his feet and big, brown logs seemed to appear out of nowhere as if to try and stop him. But he kept a steady pace.
Soon enough he could smell Danny as he inched closer towards him. But he had to stop before his lungs gave out on him.
Danny lunged at his best friend, no words spoken with raw anger. The two men grunted as they took handfuls of each other’s clothing and attempted to wrestle the other to the ground. Then Danny released a hand-hold and used it to start jabbing the Alex in the ribs.
Alex then released both his hands and grabbed Danny’s head, bringing his face down sharply onto his bent knee. Instantly crimson red blood flowed from his friend’s broken nose and he staggered backwards. But that was just the beginning of their scuffle.
Danny felt the pain in his broken nose right at his very core and this angered him even more. He moved towards Alex who had started to say something but not quick enough as Danny delivered a solid upper cut to his moving jaw. The move was so brutal it almost got his tongue cleaved in half by his own teeth. It sent Alex sprawling into the concrete bench. It was a cruel fall.
A crowd had formed just as blood slobbered from Danny’s nose almost out of control. He watched as Alex’s crumbled body heaved himself up from the fall. His eyes still dazed from the impact of the upper cut.
From the corner of his eyes, he saw two quick fire images; one was the sight of Julia running as fast as her legs could carry her screaming at the top of her voice something incoherent to his ears. He wondered if his ear drums weren’t already damaged.
The other image was that of Danny drawing out a knife and he was convinced that his eyes were seeing correctly.
The crowd of onlookers gasped when they saw the glimmering blade. They looked on, caught between an impulse to help and another to stay out of bother.
For Danny it was time for justice. For the crowd, they just got a free pass for live streaming on social media right with their mobile phones.
Behind him, Danny could hear the jeers and excitement from the crowd. He didn’t care. Alex looked out of sorts already. Mud had smeared his sweaty and bloodied face and his shirt was barely covering his body. The fight was short, violent and bloody, but Danny wasn’t done.
Danny slashed the knife violently at Alex with a novice-like apprehension, and as he did so the reflection of the Julia flashed quickly within the cool steel. Alex braced up.
“Don’t do this Danny” Bellowed Julia’s voice as she rushed towards her husband.
Danny lunged desperately at Alex with the ferocity of a vicious animal, the knife destined for Alex’s body. But Alex had other plans. His plan B this time wasn’t destined to fail. Not this time.
But Julia jumped too. Right into the two bloodied men.
Her scream was more violent than any gale. It echoed into the park as the crowd fled at the sight of blood. She cried as if the ferocity of it might bring him back. From her mouth came a cry, so raw that even the eyes of the strangers around her within ear shot were suddenly wet with tears.
It was as if every sound that escaped her mouth was set to the frequency that would shatter her heart to pieces again and again and again. Emotional pain flowed out of her every pore as she wailed. She cried in such a desolate way that no-one could bare to listen for long. Her screaming sobs were only interrupted by her need to draw some breath. It was a primal sound, one that could not be ignored.
Her eyes started to close, as she realized the blood on her hands were not just his but hers as well.
The pain was so blinding, she watched life ebbing away from her body too.
Thank you for reading the Waste of Sin
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