Tom clutched his chest in pain. He began to feel dizzy and nauseous. Something was not right. He was in excellent shape, and could not be having a heart attack, or could he? He looked at Jeffrey.
“H..help…!” he cried weakly as he crumpled on the floor, stretching his arm.
Jeffrey was solemn. “I’m sorry it had to come to this, Tommy.” he said.
He then looked at the glass of wine he just had, and it struck him. “Did you…..” he could not speak.
Jeffrey nodded slyly. “It will all be over in a few minutes, my dear brother. Autopsy will show that you died of a heart attack. There won’t be any trace of poison. Poor Tommy. All the stress finally got to you, huh?”
“But why, Jeffrey?” Tom pleaded, his voice getting weaker, unable to believe that his kid brother would want to murder him.
It was a feud as old as Cain and Abel. Tom was the ant and Jeffrey was the grasshopper in the family. After the death of their father, Tom had shouldered the responsibility of their family business. Jeffrey soon got married and a baby was on the way, while Tom remained single, working hard for the company. Although Tom had loved his brother, Jeffrey had been secretly seething in jealousy all his life. With Tom now gone, Jeffrey would inherit everything.
They were all alone in their father’s old cabin near the mountain, and no one would be able to hear Tom’s cries for help. Jeffrey would call 911 in a couple of minutes, and by the time the paramedics arrived, it would be too late.
Tom’s vision started to blur. They say that your whole life flashes before you when you die.
He was ten years old, hiking the Eagle Mountain with his dad for the first time. The view from the top was stunning. It would be even better from the edge of the cliff. He climbed the fence towards the cliff to get a closer look, ignoring his father’s warning cries from behind. It had rained the day before, and there were loose sediments of rocks.
He tripped, lost balance and found himself tumbling down towards the precipice, his father running after him. Just as he rolled to the edge, he caught hold of a branch. He was hanging from the cliff with five thousand feet below him.
“Hang on Matty! I’m coming!!!” his father ran towards him. Only in the place of his father, it was Jeffrey as a grown up. Jeffrey knelt by the cliff, extending an arm. “Grab my hand, Matty!”
Why did he call him Matty? And why was Jeffrey here in the place of his father? Where or when was he? What was happening?
Fear turned to confusion and confusion to anger as he looked at Jeffrey, remembering how his brother whom he had loved all his life had poisoned him to death.
A strong wind suddenly began to blow. Then, with a sudden impulse, holding on to the branch with one hand, he pulled Jeffrey forward in full force.
“Matty!!!” Caught unaware by this sudden show of strength, Jeffrey lost foothold and tumbled face forward down the steep edge of the cliff in horror.
Ten years later..
“Don’t run Matty! Stay on the trail!” Jeffrey was yelling as he climbed up the Eagle Mountain with his son.
As a kid, his father used to take him and his brother Tom up the mountain every summer. Now he was here with his son Mathew who was celebrating his tenth birthday.
Mathew had been born prematurely, the same day Tom had died. Everything had gone as he had planned. He now had all that he could ask for - a loving wife and a son, and with Tom gone, sole inheritance to the family estate. Although the police had interviewed him and had probed thoroughly, they had not been able to find any evidence of foul play. The coroner’s autopsy had revealed that Tom had indeed died of a heart attack.
Mathew crossed the fence leading to the cliff ignoring the warning sign, with Jeffrey running after him. It had rained the day before, and there were loose sediments of rocks leading to the precipice.