The Ninth Hour

 8:45pm

He sat on the floor against the wall, the 9 mm Colt lay next to him, magazine fully loaded, ready to fire. A beaming light broke through the drapes, lighting the dark room’s interior. A voice on a megaphone, in the streets below, ordered him to surrender. The end neared, they would burst through the door and attempt to take him alive. He would not let that happen .

This is the story of Sam Trent   

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The morning of their anniversaryStacy surprised him with new golf clubs, a set of Callaway’s, the same ones he’d been eyeballing for months. He gifted her a beautiful violet amethyst pendant, with four rounded diamond accents, elegantly hanging on a gold chain. It had been forty-five years of marriage, time they spent dedicated to their careers and traveling the world. Their professions never allowed for children, but they never cared to have any, having each others company was enough.

They spent the day together at Mallis Pier, walking and holding hands, watching the crowds ride the Ferris wheel. They had dinner reservations later that evening, the Lighthouse Ridge was located at the end of the pier, overlooking the ocean.

After dinner, they walked along the path under the moonlight, the ocean breeze tracing against their faces. Stacy wrapped his jacket around her, leaning on him as they walked. The Texas Jack Annual Music Festival was taking place on the other side, a tradition they both kept on their special day for years. The jazz band played in the distance, the string of lights hung over the stage in a variety of colors. They were in the mood for dancing, and that night, was the perfect occasion.

“Did I tell you how beautiful you look tonight, sweetheart?” Sam said.

“Yes, but tell me again, I don’t mind.” She kissed him gently on the neck, hooking his arm around hers.

A hooded figure appeared a close distance away, his dark clothing made him almost invisible in the night. He approached them, brushing gently against Stacy’s shoulder, passing her.

“I’m so sorry, excuse me.” she said. The man said nothing , walking away from them.

“Interesting fella?” Sam said, grinning. She smiled.

“Quite dear, quite.”

They walked and maneuvered curves and rocky slopes, the path was empty, a rarity on other nights. The festival was a big deal that time a year, and all the crowds were in attendance to witness the event.

“Excuse me?” A mans voice said.

They turned, the hooded figure stood in front of them, holding a large knife in his hand. They both drew back, Sam getting in front of Stacy.

“Your wallet old man, give it here!” he said. He grabbed him by the collar, placing the sharp knife against his throat. “Do it!”

“Okay! okay, young man, please just calm down.” Sam began reaching into his back pocket, pulling out the wallet.

“You!” the man said. “Hand the necklace over, lets go!”

“Please, don’t hurt her, well give you whatever you wa-.”

“Shut up!” He snatched the wallet out of his hand, pushing him back. He turned to Stacy, grabbing her by the hair, waving the knife in her face. “Take it off, don’t be stupid lady!”

She winced from her head being pulled back, struggling to unlock the pendant free. Sam stepped forward, placed his hands over hers, attempting to help her. The man struck him in the head with the butt of the knife, sending him crashing to the floor. Sam’s head bounced hard against the concrete, leaving him dazed and unable to regain his senses. He tried getting to his feet, but his equilibrium sent him crashing back down. He heard Stacy scream and struggle against the hooded man, then go silent moments later. Sam continued to call out to her, but no answer ever came back to him.

Stacy was dead.

Blood flowed onto the concrete, seeping into the cracks. The blood appeared purple from the moonlight above, her body quickly turning cold. She’d been stabbed in the abdomen several times, the perpetrator running off into darkness, the pendant ripped from her neck. Sam cried out, his voice wailed immensely, being carried off with the breeze. His cries echoed through the trees, the branches snapped and rocked above them. He held her tight, swaying her in his arms, sobbing, his face against hers. He told he loved her over and over again, squeezing her tighter against him.

I’m sorry sweetheart! Baby please forgive me, I’m so sorry! 

That instant, Sam’s life was changed forever. All the happiness he had ever felt, all the kindness he had shown, that gentle soul inside of him, died with Stacy that night. His former self sank beneath the crevices, digging deep into the grave below the path he sat on – he would never know the Sam of old again.

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8:55pm

He heard the helicopter overhead, the blades chopping as it approached then faded as it circled back around. The walls showcased a colorful display of reds and blues from the sirens outside. He followed them as they swirled about, listening to the onlookers inaudible voices. The streets were busy and full of action, the man behind the megaphone stopped announcing demands – he now demanded them outside his apartment door, banging on it, shouting for him to respond to his requests. He picked up the gun, gripping it around the textured handle, turning it side to side, watching as the lights reflect off the steel frame. He looked through the hallway, expecting them at any minute.

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The verdict was in. All charges against Marvin Wesson, the alleged man accused of murdering Stacy Trent, were dropped. The jury found insufficient evidence against him, no murder weapon, no DNA linking him to the crime scene and no witnesses other than Sam’s testimony. Twenty-two year old Wesson, a native from Cedar, about twenty miles from the crime scene, was picked up two blocks from where the murder took place. He matched the description Sam gave to the detectives; A tall, thin man in a dark hooded sweater, pants shredded at the knees. He was approached by police wearing a white basketball jersey, his skin heavy with perspiration. He claimed he was at a friends (which was later confirmed) and was running to the bus stop to catch the last bus to Cedar. His right hand was cut at the knuckles, giving authorities a reason to suspect he was involved in the incident. They later concluded, the cuts did not match the timeline, and dismissed them all together. At the time of the investigation, detectives assumed Wesson dumped the black hoodie along the way. No article of clothing was ever found – something Wesson denied ever wearing. A full year had gone before Wesson found himself in front of a judge, awaiting his fate.

He walked out of the courthouse a free man, nearly a year of Stacy’s murder. Sam was distraught. He was the murderer – the one who took his beloved. He made up his mind outside the courthouse that afternoon, sitting in his vehicle, grinding his palms on the steering wheel. His life was stripped from justice again – he would not let there be a third. He would avenge his wife’s death, even if he had to take matters into his own hands.

6 Months Later

Sam spotted him amongst the crowd. It was December, and people were gathered to witness the lighting of the huge Christmas tree centered in Plaza Square. Around the tree, vendors sold holiday items and warm food, colorful banners hung around the stage. Marvin Wesson stood a couple feet from the tree, a young woman, clinging to his arm. They were awaiting the countdown, merry and worry free. He met the woman during his stay in prison, developing into a relationship over the course of the trial. All Marvin Wesson wanted now, was to move on and forget what he had gone through.

The handgun was tucked away in his right pocket, his shirt covered its shape from being exposed by passersby. Sam’s eyes were red with exhaustion, he hadn’t slept in days and his diet consisted of a steady flow of alcohol. He replayed the scenario continuously in his head – now he stood, several feet away from the man he wanted dead.

People walked and talked, shopped and gazed at the festivities, unaware of the madman standing in their midst’s. He was determined to go through with it, his breath grew heavier and his heart began to pound out of his chest. He began to sweat, his right hand rubbing against his pants pocket.

The countdown began, a woman stood on stage, holding papers in her hand, announcing the news. Silence spread throughout the crowd as her voice sent out an unpleasing feedback from the microphone. She began;

Ten!…Nine!…Eight!…Seven!…Six!…Five!…Four!…Three!…Two!….One!

The lights lit up Plaza Square, the crowd cheered and threw their hands up into the air. Wesson’s girlfriend cheered and leaped into his arms, giving him a kiss on the lips. He hugged her, lifting her off her feet slightly, sharing a smile between one another, kissing again.

That visual lit a fire under Sam. He thought about Stacy, and how she used to kiss him in a similar fashion. He remembered the last time she kissed him, the night of her murder, the very last he would ever receive. His eyes welled up, rage built up in him – he wanted him dead. Dead as any person could ever be!

The crowds movements blocked them partially from his view. Fearing losing them, he reached into his pocket, drawing the handgun, letting it hang loosely at his side. He began walking, stumbling towards them, maneuvering around the crowd. He spotted him, he rested his finger cautiously on the trigger. He was close now, just a few more steps.

He has a gun! 

A woman’s voice screeched. She was adjusting her toddlers jacket when she noticed him as he passed her. She pointed at him, calling attention to the weapon. Becoming aware, the crowd began scattering in every direction, screaming and chaos ensued. Wesson turned, making direct eye contact with him. This was no coincidence, he was there to take his life, and he sensed it immediately. Grabbing the woman’s hand, he started running away from him. In a blinding rage, Sam raised the gun and fired.

Fathers and mothers searched desperately for their children, others shielding them with their bodies. Children cried out, lost amongst the human stampede. Shots rang out, one after another, it seemed to go on for a long time – It only took seconds.

Wesson laid face down, lifeless on the concrete slab. The girl lay next to him, a bullet hole in her neck. She kicked and trembled, her life escaping her fast. A man caught in the crossfireslumped on a bench motionless. A young boy, no more than twelve years old, grabbed his leg and cried out in pain from a bullet wound.

Slowly, Sam’s senses returned. His rage blinded him, putting innocent people in harms way. He observed them, they feared him, like Stacy feared her attacker. He looked down at his hand, the weapon glistened and smoked.

What did I do? I got to get out of here!

 He made his exit, waving and pointing the gun to anyone who tried to approach him. No one did. He ran and disappeared through a nearby alley, hopping into a cab the first chance he got on the other end. He sat silent the entire way back to his apartment.

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He couldn’t change what had happened – it was done. The murderer was dead, and justice for Stacy was served. But he took other lives as well, innocent lives, who had nothing to do with Stacy. He didn’t mean to take their lives, he was blinded and lost all his senses. He felt torn between feeling justified and guilt-ridden for what he had done. But he didn’t allow the guilt to eat him up, when it tried to creep into his mind, he diverted the feelings elsewhere. It didn’t matter, he didn’t need to let it overtake him – they’d be coming for him soon – he accepted it.

He showered when he got to his apartment, sitting motionless for what seemed to be hours, staring as the spray from the nozzle rippling against the tubs surface. Afterward, he sat at the dinner table, a bottle of scotch in one hand, a picture of Stacy in the other.

I did it sweetheart. I got him! I killed others in the process, but I had to do it. You understand why don’t you? Please tell me you understand.

He took a drink and reached for the television remote. He flipped through channels, looking for the news. He came across channel 8 – it was about him:

…at this time, there is no suspect in custody for this violent act of cowardice, but what we do know, is three lives were taken before their time. One of them, I’m being told by sources, is Marvin Wesson, the man who was recently acquitted for Stacy Trent’s murder six months ago. I am also being told, that in relation to MrWesson, a man who remains un-identified, has turned himself in, confessing to the murder just hours ago…. 

The remote dropped from his hands.

Did he hear the news report correctly? A man turned himself in for Stacy’s murder? What about Wesson? Was he innocent in all this after all?

What have I done?

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8:59pm

He sat looking in front of him, outside his door, they barked out demands to him. He held the Colt, the finger on the trigger. He looked at Stacy’s picture, she smiled at him, at least he made himself think she was. He smiled back at her, resting the back of his head against the wall. The front door crashed open with a loud bang, heavy footsteps rushing through it. Shadows appeared in the hallway, they got bigger as they made their way to him. He raised the pistol.

I’m sorry sweetheart. I’m sorry.

9:00pm

©️Bobby Blade-2018

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