The phone rang.
He got up from the table, staggering slightly. His head swam and for a second, he thought he was going to fall. He laughed shakily, his hands gripping the table for support. He walked on water-legs to the bed where he had dropped his phone and as his hands touched it, it stopped ringing.
“Shtuupid shit!” he yelled at the phone them suddenly burst into fits of giggles.
He unlocked the phone and with unsteady hands opened the call tab. His bleary eyes tried to focus on the number when the phone began to ring again.
He clicked the answer button.
“Ye..yesh?” he slurred.
“My my. Aren’t we in our cups today” a dry voice said.
Kevin’s hands tightened on the phone, holding it in a death grip.
The voice chuckled softly. “Yes Kevin. Me”
“How did you…getch this number!” Kevin yelled, his red rimmed eyes bulging in fury.
“Oh I have my ways, don’t you worry. It’s been 6 months since they died yes?”
“DONCHU FUUUGKING TALK ABOU THEM!”
Kellan chuckled. “How does it feel? How does it feel to be without a family? To be alone? You feel the enjoyment I feel? The freedom?”
Kevin shook with fury.
“I heard it was an electric mishap. A freak accident. How convenient Kelvin. Did you set that up for them to die?”
“I DIDN…I…FUUCGK YOU!”
“You were oh so righteous, condemning me as a murderer. I bet you did a jig when I got Life, Kelvin. Who knew you had it in you? Killing your beautiful wife, your sons, and daughter. Bravo!”
Tears of fury blurred Kevin’s eyes.
He knew he had to cut the phone but something stilled his hand. The need to punish himself.
He did kill them.
God damn Kellan but he had killed them.
He swallowed a thick sob.
“Are you crying?” Kellan’s voice softly asked. “Big man tears. Let me guess. You are planning on killing yourself aren’t you?”
Without waiting for a reply Kellan continued, his voice turning hard.
“You are a weak man. Fucking weak! At least I faced my wife when I did her in. I faced her! Bashed her head in repeatedly even after she had died. I fucking kept bashing. That was power you snivelly bastard! I made sure I touched my girl before I choke…”
Kevin decided he had heard enough. He ended the call, eyes streaming as he stared at the black object in disgust. Suddenly, with a scream of rage, he threw his phone at the wall, staring as it bounced and hit the floor, falling apart on collision.
He stood staring at the phone. As if daring it to come back on.
He slid down to the floor and curled himself in a foetal position.
“I killed them…”
A heart-wrenching sob, tore away from his throat, coming out of his mouth in waves.
He screamed curses as tears ran unchecked down his face.
He choked, sputtering as another scream vented itself out of him.
“Grace…my love…Josh, oh Josh…Amy…you would have become a beautiful woman…My Luke…my family…”
His heart twisted in agony and shame.
Grief tied his soul in knots.
His body shook, his chest heaved. “My love..”
He murmured wordlessly, rocking himself to sleep.
The cold, damp floor woke him and sobered him up.
He got up and cleaned the dried snot on this face with the edge of his shirt. Gingerly, he walked back to the table where the gun still lay.
He eyed it.
Beside it was a half glass of rum. He took the glass, hands trembling from the chill.
He needed a drink.
He lifted it to his mouth and suddenly, threw the glass to the floor, spilling its content.
“No..” he whispered. “No more drinking. Grace would not have approved. The children cannot see me this way.”
He sat down and picked up the gun. He opened the chamber and stared at the one bullet in with a mixture of surprise and fear.
He’d have blown his brains out, had he pulled the trigger the second time.
Slowly, he extracted the lone bullet and palmed it. Admiring its shape, he brought it to his lips and slowly kissed it, whispering the name of his wife and kids.
He whispered two other names.
The bullet felt cold against his lips.
He couldn’t kill himself.
He had a man to save.
It took him two weeks to get himself physically presentable.
His unkempt beard was the first to come off.
He clothes finally got the water and soap treatment. He could almost hear Grace scold him about his dirty clothes.
He bought new clothes with money he could ill afford to spend.
Yet, two weeks wasn’t enough time to remove the drowning look in his eyes.
The eyes his partner -former partner- James was staring at in incredulity.
“You wanna do what??”
Kevin sighed. “I know…odd. Since it’s still open, I will take it.”
James stared at him again, taking in his gaunt look.
Kevin tried to remain cool under scrutiny. He knew what James was seeing; a man trying to cling to life, a desperate man.
He cleared his throat. “Just this one favour. No one in the firm would take the case. I will do it pro-bono. I am not looking for money. Just…”
James nodded. He was right. No one wanted the case anyway.
‘My God he looks dead’ he thought morbidly as he brought out a file.
“I hope you know what you’re doing” James said solemnly as he handed the thin blue file to Kevin.
He watched him open it, eyes unreadable.
“Thanks James” he whispered, voice gravelly. James waved off the thanks.
Suddenly he stood up.
“Thanks man. Gotta go”
Without waiting for a reply, he got off the swiveling seat and exited the office, leaving James staring at the seat in thought.
“Your case has been reopened”
Kellan’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Oh? By whom?”
“Mr Kevin Ibinado”.
Kellan paused, surprised.
“Trouble, Mr Kellan?”
He shook his head.
Of course that was a lie.
He was a bit troubled.
They met in court and no word passed between them. As they sat opposite each other, waiting for the judge to begin the appeal proceeding, Kellan turned to his attorney.
“Look I’m glad you decided to come to your senses and represent me…”
Kevin looked at him with dead, expressionless eyes.
Kellan shuddered slightly, turning away, breaking eye contact.
He became worried.
‘Would he try to destroy my case?’ he thought to himself.
He stole glances at Kevin but couldn’t read his face.
‘A dead man’ he thought and rubbed his arms exposed by the short sleeved prison garb briskly.
The court was in session minutes later.
Suddenly, Kevin turned while the prosecution was speaking.
He beckoned for Kellan to lean in closer.Kellan leaned in.
“I might not have been able to save mine” Kevin whispered “But this is justice for your family”
Kellan turned, eyes confused before he realized what what going to happen in growing horror.
He tried to move but Kevin slammed the butt of the gun which he had brought out of his jacket, under his jaw and without hesitation, pulled the trigger.
The loud report of the gunshot startled everyone.
The court was in shock and a bailiff turned, throwing up breakfast on the floor at the sight of the blood.
“That was for your wife and daughter” he whispered to the bloodied head flopped beside him.
He had redeemed himself.
He was saved.
Suddenly, he chuckled.
“Finally got rid of him, Grace” he whispered as the police drew nearer to his blood splattered body to arrest him.