They were there. They may had faded away long ago, but they were always watching.
The winter chill seeped through my bones despite the thick layers I wore, and my surroundings were desolate. Silent, serene. The files were nestled within my coat, and the sound of the judge’s hammer rang in my ears. “Death penalty.” All my years as a lawyer, all the training and the tireless nights had led to this.
I have avenged you.
Something in the wind changed, and I smiled.
“I remember when we first came here,” I whispered, glancing at the young woman by my side. She was no more than twenty with a solemn smile across her pale face. Her dark grey eyes seemed to drink in every detail about the hill; the greyish landscape, the breeze rustling through the trees, the feeling that there was nobody else in the world but me and her. “We were twelve.”
“You got mad at me because I didn’t offer to share my noodles.” She laughed quietly, “back then, I never would’ve thought that you could get angry over food.” Silence enveloped us once again as we basked in the tranquility of the hilltop. The trees were still the same, the fog was still unyielding, still a far drop into the abyss, leading to the unknown.
A cold hand landed on my shoulder, and father gave me a minute smile, dark eyes reflecting the moonlight. “We’re proud of you, son.” He never smiled at me like that before; not while he was alive. My heart throbbed with profound pain as my mother stepped beside me, giving my hand a gentle squeeze. “You’re such a gentle child.” I tried to look at her through my blurring vision (not the tears, please not the tears—) but found myself blinded.
“We love you. So, so much.”
They have forgiven me long ago. I told them not to but they did all the same. I didn’t deserve forgiveness; not theirs, not the world’s, not my own. Not after I watched, only watched as he pulled the trigger and killed everyone I loved when I could have done something, anything. Not after my father whispered his last words to mother with blood pooling around him, not after my brother’s tearful eyes closed forever, not after her, grey eyes wide with terror, her lips parted, as if she was about to scream—
Coughs racked through my body, and my entire being shook. My lungs and throat were burning, and the metallic taste filled my mouth. Ah, the price to pay. “I’ll see you all soon,” I whispered, eyes shut tight. My knees buckled and I collapsed, clutching my chest. The papers crumpled underneath, but they had fulfilled their purpose. “I promise.” Wet coughs broke through and my voice was hoarse, almost inaudible, but the words rang through my ears.
I promise. I promised them many things; joy, wealth, honour, love… they were shattered to pieces the very minute the deafening shot of the gun echoed the room. There was only one promise that I had ever fulfilled, and that was to give them justice.
“Brother? Where are you?” his high-pitched voice travelled to my ears, and it was the first time my heart ached ever since the bullets ran through my parents. My hands and my clothes were splattered with blood, but there was nothing. I felt nothing. My eyes were dry. His dark eyes seared through my soul as he rose, gun in hand.
“Hey,” a feminine voice broke through, “your brother said no one picked him up, so I took him home. Where are you?” The doorknob creaked, and he smirked maliciously. “Get ready,” he whispered.
“Brother?” My brother called once again, oblivious. “Are you here?”
The door opened, and he fired.
I couldn’t even speak as he slid to the ground, eyes glassy. He dropped dead with a wet squelch and I didn’t flinch, though tears had gathered in my eyes. I turned towards her. She was still frozen in shock, leaning against the wall, eyes wide and fearful. “What—” “such a pretty girl.” He mused.
“No,” she breathed out, and turned to me, “help—” he pulled the trigger.
Blood poured. Her lips parted, to curse or to forgive, I would never know, and she breathed her last breath, empty grey eyes staring into my own.
He dug his knife into my stomach, and the pain was blinding. But as he jumped out the window and disappeared into the cold, moonlit night, only one thought was in my mind; I would avenge them.
I rose, knees shaking and fingers trembling. I could barely breathe as I opened my eyes, pushing the horrible memories to the back of my mind. A bitter smile crossed my lips as I let out a sigh.
I was alone once more.