By Amalia Doughty ‘21
I make eye contact with the driver of the oncoming car, a horrible man, I can’t help but grin at him as I lurch the steering wheel towards the other lane. I pray this doesn't hurt as much as I know it will. Tires screech and the dull thud of bone on glass cuts the air. There's a bowling ball sized crack in the driver's side of the windshield. The driver lays unconscious on the tar with blood gushing from his abdomen and head. The passenger doesn’t look good either with blood streaming out of his nose and running out through his lips, perfect. Sauntering over I check for the driver's pulse, dead. I walk over to the car and check the passengers pulse, dead. Dragging the passenger out of his car and over to mine I sit him roughly inside, grabbing his phone I dial 911.
“911 whats your emergency?” It's a lady perfect; they're typically less focused on little details and more focused on getting help to the scene as fast as possible.
I muster my weakest voice and try not to laugh, jeez this is fun.
“I-I've been in a car crash. I need a- I need help, my, my head, my legs,” I stammer while I look over the dead man in the driver seat assessing his injuries to make my pain sound real. I’ve had years of practice.
“Okay sir can you tell me your name and what happened?” The lady asks. I mumble something incoherent, let out a couple of ragged breaths, and stop talking. I set the phone in the console of the car that I rented in this guy's name. I stole his wallet three weeks ago and he was too dumb to notice. I walk over to the other car and clean off the passenger seat so it looks like there was only a driver in each car. I then drag the driver of the car I just hit back to the driver's seat and toss him in. Feeling good that this monster and his asshole friend are finally off the streets, I walk into the woods in the direction of home not even bothering to look back when I hear sirens, that’s rookie shit.
Stumbling into the convenience store I grab a box of hair dye in the most unnatural shade of red, a clean shirt, some self tanner, and a chocolate bar, homicide gives me a horrible sweet tooth.
“Will this be all?” The woman behind the counter asks, she doesn’t even look fazed by the dripping head wound I’m nursing or the fact that I’m buying an odd assortment of things. Then I remember this is a 24 hour convenience store not a target and this woman probably didn't even graduate from high school.
“Um, can I also get a pack of camel lights?” I ask. She glances over her shoulder and points to the cigarettes on the bottom shelf that are clearly labeled camel lights, that just proves my previous point. I nod, sighing. She rings everything up and hands me my receipt.
“Have a nice day,” She mumbles, “oh and kid, you're bleeding pretty bad you should get that checked out,” She smiles.
“Don't worry about it sugar,” I wink, “I've got everything under control.”
I change my identity a lot, it comes with the job. Running F.I.F. is no walk in the park and it weighs on me every day. Getting to create a new identity is one way I shed that stress and feel free, at least for a few weeks, before a new case comes in and I have blood on my hands again. I just got this identity a few months ago but every time I dispose of someone I change a little something. Like the shade of my skin or the color of my hair. Sometimes I even gain some weight or lose some, just in case anyone saw anything, it makes it harder to identify me.
I stumble into the warehouse F.I.F. is renting for the next six months laughing.
“He’s dead!” I cackle.
“Jesus Fallon, do you have to go throwing away my perfect work?” Zyra rolls her eyes
looking over my head wound. She drags me into her makeshift exam room.
“I literally just finished making you look all pretty,” She sighs.
“Oh please,” I laugh, feeling a little light headed, I light a cigarette and grin at her, “you love when you get to fix me up.”
“How long have you been bleeding like that?” She glares at me, she's really full of looks today
. I also know she hates my smoking habit, she’s really into health being our doctor and all.
“I don't know, a few hours maybe,” I sit down blowing smoke into her face.
“Put that out and sit still, I’m mad at you and I’m not wasting perfectly good numbing agents on you when you’re just gonna go bust yourself back open in a couple of days. Plus I could save it for a more dire time,” she grabs my cigarette and stomps it out on the concrete floor. She then stitches up my head, smiling the entire time because she knows it hurts and she knows I deserve it for being a little too reckless. Throwing on a bandage she sends me to see Ender, something about a special client, it's hard to hear over the ringing in my ears, the day is really catching up to me.
Wandering into the back rooms where we sleep, I plop down on a cot and pass out hoping to stay that way for the rest of the day and well into the night. Honestly I don’t care what Ender has to say, nothing is as important as sleep. Just as I drift off I hear pounding at the door. Jesus these people don't know how to let a guy sleep do they.
“Fallon, dude wake up. Trust me man you're gonna want to come out here,” Ender pounds on the door again. I roll over and put the pillow over my head hoping he’ll just go away and take the hint.
“I’m serious Fallon,” He says a little louder like he thinks the door got thicker, or maybe he can tell I have a pillow over my head.
“Ugh come on man what can be so important that you pull me out of my bed after a head wound and twenty eight stitches,” I get up, as I open the door I make a point to give Ender a particularly nasty look. He’s standing in the hallway flanked by Veira and Amara.
“Ender, what the hell is going on?” I demand rubbing sleep out of my eyes.
“Uh, no one wanted to bother you while you were working,” Ender says looking concerned, “but, uh,” he trails off again and I’m getting impatient.
“Somebody just fill me in so I can get back to bed,” I lean against the door frame letting it take the weight off of my aching muscles.
“Your brother is here filing another report on your parents,” Veira states matter of factly, “see Ender that wasn’t that bad.” She glares at him.
“He’s been here all morning Fallon you should really come see him this time,” Amara glances around pulling her sleeves from her elbows.
“You guys know how I feel about my brother,” I move my eyes to the floor.
I left home when I was 11, just a year older than Wren is now. I left because everyday I spent in that old apartment with my abusive, alcoholic mother and my drug addict father was slowly killing me. Even worse, they are responsible for my baby sister's death. Two weeks before Anne turned three my father was making meth in our kitchen, this was when his undercover “empire” was more of a sad guy cooking meth alone, and my mother was on her eighth or ninth scotch at 8 in the morning. My father got distracted by the glasses clinking and bottles opening that he measured wrong, he’d finally gotten fed up and went to the living room to see what my mother was doing. Wren and I were asleep down the hallway we had a late night getting Anne to sleep. Anne was the only one in the kitchen, she had always been curious and had wandered in when she heard the glass noises. When the oven exploded so did Anne and that’s when I knew it was time for me to leave. I was only eleven, I left Wren in that hell hole with no one, and nothing haunts me more.
I, in secrecy, check in on Wren every week. I’ve been watching over him like a hawk all eight years I’ve been gone. I’ve had Amara make countless trips to the apartment building to take notes on my parents and I’ve had Veira make sure that if my brother ever tries to go to other organizations similar to us that they turn him away. Ender has met with Wren eight times this year and has gathered more and more evidence on our parents. I know that it’s time to meet with Wren and I know it’s time to finally get rid of my parents.
“Hey buddy,” I knock on the door.
“Who are you?” Wren glares at me and I feel bile at the back of my throat.
“It’s me Wren,” I try to make searing eye contact with him. I want him to recognize me. I want him to see the real me under all the changes I’ve made over the years.
“Evander?” He sounds so grown up. I turn around and hurl all over the floor. I quickly straighten up and step into the office shutting the door behind me.
“It’s Fallon now buddy,” I smile at him.
“Oh, well, Fallon you have to do something,” He looks like he’s the one that just threw up. “I know you don’t want to but you have to. What they did to Anne, Fallon what they did to Anne wasn’t an accident,” His eyes well up with tears.
“Of course it was buddy,” I try and settle him down. The boy I just called grown up is melting back into the scared little boy I remember.
“No, no it wasn’t,” His eyes spill over and I toss him the box of tissues from the desk. Instead of catching it he covers his head and cowers. I remember when I used to do the same thing.
“Fallon I’ve heard mom talk about it. I’ve heard her say things when she’s too drunk to keep her mouth closed.”
“What does she say, I need some more information bud,” I sit at the big desk on the opposite side of the room and grab a notebook.
“She talks about how thankful she is that she only has one kid, she says thank goodness I got rid of that little brat and killed off that little baby, she’s awful Fallon,” He’s shaking.
“Ok buddy, it’s okay,” I try to sound reassuring but I’m not convincing at all.
“No its not Fallon,” He’s yelling now, “you don’t get it do you? If you hadn’t left they would have killed me off too. They only wanted one kid and they wanted it to be you.”
“I’m not surprised,” I feel cold and stiff, “I’ll get the team together. I think it’s finally time they go. You’ll stay here until I can find a safer place for you.”
In the weeks that follow, I spend hours going over plans with Amara. Ender makes sure to Council both Wren and I on how tough this process will be. Then the countdown begins.
Sliding into the driver's seat of my brand new rental car I feel nothing. Driving down the back road I make eye contact with the driver of the oncoming vehicle, She’s a real monster and the man in the passenger seat isn’t much better. I lurch the steering wheel in their direction bracing for the impact. I hear the splitting sound of bone on thick glass and the unbearable screech of brakes. As I stumble out of my vehicle the image of the recognition on my mother's face as I smash into her is seared into my mind. I check each of their pulses and assess their injuries. Each of them lie dead on the pavement and nothing brings me greater satisfaction than staging them in a gruesome car to tree accident. I smile as I call 911 and stutter and mumble my way through another homicide.
“Hahaha,” I sneer, “they’re dead!”
“Fallon, sit down and shut up,” Zyra is already all over my abdominal injuries and she’s a
little more delicate than last time as she stitches me up. As I see Wren come sprinting through the back doors I finally feel as if my goals have been met and I can finally rest. I’ll take Wren away from here. Maybe South American or Iceland or Australia. I don’t know but him and I are getting out, finally. In the end fair truly is fair.