“You broke into our house, my mother identified you.”
Martin shook his head. “You damn fool kid. What the hell do you know?”
“Then you tell me,” James spat.
“I never broke in that night. I was there because your mother let me in.”
James started to protest, but Martin quieted him with a wave of the gun.
“You wanted to hear my story, well shut up and listen.”
“Your mother and I were sweethearts before your father moved into town. He took a liking to her immediately and with his fancy cars and money he was able to lure her away from me; something she told me she had regretted shortly after.”
“What are you talking about?” James challenged. “If she didn’t love him, why did she stay with him?”
Martin chuckled. “She was afraid of him, that’s why. But we were planning on running away and somehow, your father got wind of it. So the night I was there making arrangements with your mother, your father came home early. We had already concocted a story that if that ever happened she was to tell him I broke in so he wouldn’t hurt her.”
James sat up in the chair. “I don’t believe it.” As he spoke the words, fragments of memories invaded his thoughts. Memories that seemed to verify what Martin was saying. He leaned forward and rested his arms on the table. “No, no, I ……I don’t believe it. She would never cheat on my father.”
“Don’t you dare sully your mother’s name like that,” Martin snarled. “We weren’t having an affair. Yes, we still loved each other but she wanted to divorce him. But with his powerful friends, we knew the only way she could do it was to get away from him first.”
James sat back in the chair. “I still don’t think she’d do something like that.”
Martin then backed up to the window above the bed where he removed something from the windowsill behind the curtain. He moved to the table and sat down. Watching James the whole time, he placed a small picture frame face down on the table and slid it over to James.
James leaned forward and flipped the frame over. Looking up at him was a picture of his mother when she was younger and a picture of a man, who could very easily have been a young Martin.
He slid the picture back toward Martin. “This could have been anyone. It doesn’t prove a thing,” James said, knowing his words sounded hollow and weak.
Martin smirked. “No, I suppose to a snot-nosed kid like you it wouldn’t.”
“I’m not a kid, in case you haven’t noticed.”
Martin squinted, letting a few minutes pass before speaking again. “You’re a kid to me. Listening to you I could throw up. You sound just like your father. A know it all. Afraid to face the truth even when it smacks you right in the mouth.”
“Shut up,” Martin snarled. He got up from the chair and backed up to the door and peered out toward the plane, then glanced back at James. “So how did you find me? Did your old man send you out to look for me?”
James cleared his throat. “First of all, I didn’t find you; I crashed landed in your field as you can see. Secondly, my father didn’t send me.”
“And I’m supposed to believe that?”
James stared hard into Martin’s eyes. “My father is dead. Been dead for over three years now, so if you still think he sent me then you’ve got mental problems.”
Something about the conviction in James’ voice told Martin he was telling the truth but he pushed James anyway. “He’s dead?”
James shook his head. “Yeah, he’s dead. If you want proof I’ve got news for you, I don’t carry his death certificate in my pocket.”
Martin chuckled but didn’t say anything. When he did speak, it was much quieter. “So you come looking for me on your own then?”
Again, James shook his head in disbelief. “I didn’t come looking for you. No one is looking for you. I never heard my father say he was looking for you. The only thing I heard him say about you was, ‘good riddance’. That was it. You want to believe me, fine. If you don’t, that’s fine too. Do what you have to do.”
October 30, 2014