Chapter 6Mature

Eric

"You killed me son...it was your fire...you killed him." That was the only thing I could say before walking out of the house. I had heard many stories threw my life, and God knows, I'm not good with comprehension and shit, but this story...this narration was possibly one I should have heard seven years ago, in a hospital bed. But what would I have done then...would I have hunted Aiden? Would I have killed a little, defenseless boy? Kill a boy who heartlessly left my son to die, kill the boy who dared call my son his brother, after leaving him to burn in ash?!

"NO! IT WAS A MISTAKE! How can you think like that!?"  God, how I hated myself for thinking it, he was a boy, a little boy, he meant no harm! "But it was him! I blamed myself when I should have blamed HIM!"

Jogging down a black, broken street soaked and chilled to the core, my mind was tattered. I went to the old, tall green building, now in dust and ashes that lay as a monument of pain to the victims.

"No...it's just wrong! To blame a child! To blame Aiden...I can't...can I?!"

I sat with my head in my hands at the site of the ruins. At that moment, I wanted to shut down, to simply break apart...to wake up from this night mare!

"Wow...just wow." A voice erupted from behind me, cutting threw my thoughts like a knife. "The architecture, the structure...wished they'd renovate this place." I turned to look at my annoying companion. Dressed in black clothes and a black hoody, he stood, just a young boy in his early teens, out in the dead of night. I couldn't see his face, the moon was shrouded beneath the clouds, the stars were dead. "Oy! Old man, what happened? Why so glum." He bent to look at me. His voice was sweet, charming almost. It calmed me. I didn't wish to be calmed.

"Children should be in bed." I muttered angrily

"Ah! You're sad!" He sat next to me. "Ooh ooh!! Tell me!" He seemed so enthusiastic and comforting...but he was just a kid. "I promise, I'll be of help to you." He put his cold, cold hand on my shoulder.

"My son is dead, and it is his fault. He started the fire...it was him! I've been harboring my son's murderer!" My lips were moving, I was speaking, but I had no control over my tongue.

"That's tough...I'm guessing your son's death was attached to the fire that destroyed the building? “I could do no more than scoff. "That sucks! I can’t believe a boy would purposely start a fire and run away from his dying friend!"

"NO!" I yelled, "It wasn't on purpose, it was an accident! He-"

"Shush." He put his finger on my lips. "Just shut it for one second. You blame him...and then defend him?! What’s wrong with you, man?!"

"I...I'm confused." I muttered.

"It was an accident...right?"

"Yes..."

"And it ended badly."

"Yes."

"I’m sure he was just a child. Can you imagine the guilt he carries, how heavy it would be? I'm sure your son would forgive him." He patted my shoulder.

"WELL HE'S NOT HERE TO FORGIVE HIM! HE'S DEAD! BECAUSE OF HIM! BECAUSE OF THAT BOY!" I yelled slapping his hand of my shoulder, drawing myself to full height. "Stupid little boy! What do you know about adult matters? I can't blame him! I love him! I don't want to blame him! BUT IT WAS HIM!"

The silence was deafening. I could hear only the chirping of midnight crickets in the dark sky.

"So I've shut you up, huh? Go home boy!" I muttered with spite.

"Blame them..." He whispered.

"What?"

"You could blame the man who was meant to grease the ladder for not getting your son out on time, I mean, the tabloids blamed him." He turned away and began kicking pebbles.
"Or it could be the fault of the person who decided the floors of the building should have cheap linoleum on them…the fire wouldn’t have caught if it wasn’t for him."

“Idiotic kid...” His annoying speech infuriated me...but ...perhaps he was simply saying things I didn't want to hear.

“Or, you could blame the electric company since it was because of their faulty wiring there was a black out."

"Just shut up. You know nothing. You're just a kid." I spat. The words had barely touched my lips when I felt dread in my very core...something was wrong...

"Or perhaps...it was your son..." I felt a cold numbness...

"How dare you ...HOW DARE YOU BLAME MY SON?! Rage, anger, my vision was clouded by the red fog and black smoke.

 “It could be his fault...cause you know...here’s a secret..." He leaned in close to my ear, "While he was placing the candle on the floor...your son pushed Aiden."

A single star softly immerged from behind the smoke-like clouds, illuminating a deep, golden glow in his eyes shrouded behind a tangled mess of black hair. He smiled...It was a smile I hadn’t seen for seven years.  I remained paralyzed by the unnatural atmosphere, as his hard icy hand touched my shoulder. He turned to leave.

"Calling him a murderer...I would be horrified to hear that about ...my brother..."

 I could hear his footsteps , but as I turned to call for him, there stood only a long, dark, deserted road, illuminated by the millions of stars twittering in the sky.

I fell to the floor, shivering and crying uncontrollably…I had my answer. Suddenly, threw the fog and darkness…there seemed to be a single light shining…like a single luminous star.

I couldn’t help but laugh…laugh out of utter joy and relief…laugh for my Joseph...and cry from the pain, the gut wrenching pain of hurting Aiden...of hurting Joseph’s brother...of hurting my son…if only at that moment, it wasn’t for the wailing cry of the million sirens…of one raging fire engine...

The End

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