The Final Goodbye
To the end of the line, one last time.
“You brought me all the way out here to kill me? For what; so that I could enjoy the sunset one last time?”
The man holding the gun sighed. “You know, this would go by a lot quicker if you kept your damn mouth shut.” The man at gunpoint chuckled. “You know me, Harry – can’t resist the urge. Then again, if you really knew me, then you would agree to talk this out instead of holding me hostage.” The man named Harry didn’t respond, choosing instead to prod the person in front of him. “Start walking up the hill, Chris.” His voice was cold and detached, with no hint of empathy. Chris sighed, and started trudging up the hill, Harry in tow, his gun staying pointed at his back. He ventured another try at a conversation, hoping that there would be some semblance of recognition from the man behind him
“You won’t even do me the pleasure of indulging me? That’s low, buddy.”
Chris’ stomach sank as the weapon prodded his back once more. He continued to trudge upwards, and had gone no further than a couple of steps when, surprisingly, he heard Harry speak again. “I didn't come here to listen to whatever defense you have to say for yourself. I came here for one reason.” Chris said nothing in reply as they neared the top of the hill. A solitary tree stood at the top, its towering figure making Chris feel insignificant. Its leaves were thick and plentiful, like a luscious green cloud. Chris stood still, briefly admiring its splendor, but jerked his head forward, expecting a sharp prod from his captor.
However, none came.
He turned around and realized that Harry was also admiring the tree, gazing at it with a curious expression on his face, as if he was trying to hold on to something that had been lost to him a long time ago. However, he quickly snapped out of it, harshly yelling at Chris, “What’re you looking at?! Get over there!” He frantically gestured towards the trunk of the tree, sounding extremely unhinged, much unlike the voice that earlier told Chris to keep moving up the hill moments earlier. Chris quietly complied with his demand, walking towards the trunk whilst facing away from him.
The panic in Harry’s voice was evident, even though he was trying his hardest not to show it. Chris slowly turned, raising my eyes to meet his. Seeing a mixture of fear and anger etched across his face, Chris felt an odd surge of reassurance and said gently, "You don't have to do this."
Harry narrowed his eyes and replied harshly, “Get down on your knees.” He tried to sound fierce and commanding, but his voice came out more confused than certain. Chris said,
“I still don’t understand why you’re - ?”
Harry laughed. He walked slowly towards Chris. “Do you think, even for a second, I would really want to help you after what you did to Martha and Bethany?”, he hissed. Chris looked stunned. He started to speak again, but Harry cut him off.
“I know everything.” Harry spat the word out with as much venom in his voice as he could possibly muster. “You basically sold them! You sold them to make sure they wouldn’t talk, and you could continue on with your little business. They knew too much, and you gave them away. Hell, I don’t even know if they’re still alive!” Chris looked shattered. He opened his mouth to say something, but suddenly felt a fist strike him across the face, sending him sprawling across the grass. He felt intense pain on the right side of his face as the scent of dirt filled his nose.
Harry continued in a barely controlled voice, “And after all that, you had the gall to tell me that they were the enemy, and that’s how you roped me into this sick, twisted world of yours. The world of a criminal. I went along with it, passionately at first, because all I wanted was for you to approve of me, and consider me the next in line to rule your empire. But after learning the truth, I decided to make sure that I would be the one to finish you off.”
Chris rubbed his cheek and said softly, “How long have you known?” Harry answered without skipping a beat. “Fifteen years.” Chris’ eyes widened in shock and he looked at Harry in disbelief. Harry pointedly turned away, and spoke in a lower voice, “I found the records in your old laptop. The emails you exchanged with that human trafficking group….it was sickening, and disgusting, and the entire time, I didn’t want to believe it. But then it hit me – it all made sense! Why Martha and Bethany suddenly disappeared and why you wouldn’t even mention them! And from that day on, I had only one dream.”
Harry turned back to Chris, staring at him coldly. “To see you, lying dead at my feet.” Chris shuddered. Harry continued, “So I began to work. I made you trust me, praise me above everyone else in your little crime syndicate, make sure that you put your faith in me above all else. It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of dedication and willpower. Some of the things you made me do……” Harry closed his eyes and shuddered, remembering the screams of the people he had to torture for information. He opened them again to look at a shocked Chris. “I’ll never forget them. But it was all worth it, to get to this moment.” Harry loaded the gun and pointed it at Chris.
Chris frantically said, ‘W-wait! Stop! Harry, think about what you’re doing! I’m all you have left now! Everyone else in the syndicate is either behind bars or killed! I’ve seen through the ups and downs; I know that this isn’t you. I do admit, I did sell Martha and Bethany, but it was to protect you!”
Harry took a deep breath and said nothing. For a moment, Chris relaxed, thinking he got through to his son. He took a few steps forward. “It’s all right. Relax. You don’t have to - ”
Chris stumbled back in pain as his left arm exploded. Blood immediately started leaking from the wound and his vision went fuzzy. He felt his legs turn to jelly and he dropped to my knees, gasping. Harry’s hand was shaking with fury, his expression one of pure rage.
“YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ME! NOT ONE THING! ALL THESE YEARS YOU'VE BEEN SHOWING ME NOTHING BUT LIES! AND NOW, I CAN FINALLY PUT AN END TO YOU AND YOUR SELF RIGHTEOUS HYPOCRISY!”
Harry sighed and calmed down. He looked at Chris, who was sprawled on the floor, clutching his left hand in agony. His voice dropped to barely above a whisper as he said, “For 15 years, I waited for this moment. I have bled, wept, pleaded, and survived everything you can possibly imagine and more to get here. I have dedicated myself to this task for so long, and you think that a few simple words can persuade me to just forget about everything? You think I ever want to be near you again after what you did to my family?”
Harry slowly walked towards Chris, continuing to speak. “You’ve already taken away my life – the police are constantly on our tail, and when they catch me, I’m not going to resist. I’m done. I’m going to spend the rest of my life in prison, if I’m not executed first. The only consolation I get is to take solace in the fact that I achieved my dream of killing you, even when it seemed impossible.”
He finally reached Chris and bent down in front of him. Chris was motionless, and he simply stared, his eyes pleading for some kind of mercy. However, Harry’s cold gaze showed no sign of warmth or compassion. He put the gun to the man’s temple, and whispered,