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by Beau Johnson

You may remember Gabe Weller, you may not. In his twenties he does what was done to me and takes a red-handled axe to both his mother and father as they sleep. Post-apprehension, he comes to say yes, okay, it was in fact his body that did the deed, but his mind was a whole other story. All this comes to light after video surveillance of a car matching his is found leaving through the front of his parents’ gated community. This in addition to footage and a receipt of him purchasing shoes two sizes too small two nights before the murders occur. If one were to hazard a guess, it doesn’t take much to realize the size of footprints discovered in the blood that is collected and catalogued. That was then, however, and what I wish to address is now.

How Gabe Weller seems to have found God.

We are sixteen years removed from said incident, sure, and I can only assume the amount of time it took for Gabe to embrace and concoct all he would need for when he’s finally released. It happens though, all of it, and the notoriety the man creates for himself, well, this is what led him to me.

Dressed for weather, toque pulled tight, he fails to hear me come up from behind as he makes his way to his car following a book signing. As it should, the hypodermic does everything it needs to. Out of the van I introduce the left side of his face to a doorway in an attempt to remove the man’s goatee. When it doesn’t work I give it another four tries. Six more and I almost have what I’m looking for.

Upon waking, I tell him the tape is there for a reason — that it’s because he’s lost the goddamn right. Done, I pull him higher, tighter, ensuring he’s as taut as he can be. I use chains now, opposed to rope, as the sound that accompanies the sway seems to elicit in them a fear far greater than expected.

“You say you believe in intelligent design. That god exists.” He does not even nod, only looks at me with eyes as wide as doorknobs. They are beaten, bruised and bloodshot, but even then they match what only certain men will see: they have been caught by something outside their pre-conceived notions.

“And the arrogance you possess, to believe that all of this, everything, that it has been made specifically for you. It’s beyond arrogant, really.” Did he know what I was on about? Did I care? Not really. What concerned me more was how he’d turned what he did to his favor; that religion found him a way. It’s as insane as telling a six year old he or she will burn eternally if they choose to not believe.

Yes, my hate doth grow.

It’s why I produce a red-handled axe and begin to ask Gabe Weller different kinds of questions. Ones he was sure to steer clear of in that book of his. Wasn’t until I got to the end of things that he realized what I’d been up to.

Eye for an eye, I say. Followed by time heals no wounds, served or otherwise. I don’t start up top though, choosing instead to stack the man like wood. Arms on top the pile I say out loud his parents’ names.

It would have to do.

Beau Johnson has been published before, usually on the darker side of town. It’s on Tuesdays that he and his family travel back in time to correct that which once went wrong.