The Good Father

I sit on the wall across the road and opposite my house. It was the house where Laura and Thomas live and, regrettably, my wife. I used to play with them around the old oak tree in the back garden; we had carved out our names in the thick bark knowing that long after we had gone, those names would still be inscribed. I still hear their laughter as I pushed them on the swing. Those days seemed like a lifetime ago but they were only last month. How things change in such a short time.
The car pulls up in the driveway. It’s not the family car, although she still has it. It’s his car, his Audi; not so much of a family car but I suppose it served purpose. Maggie, my wife, and the children climbed out from the passenger door, whilst John appeared from the drivers side all smug and handsome. He looked a lot like me, only taller and more athletic. They all went to the front of the car. He kissed Maggie and touched the children on their shoulders, and they awarded him a smile.
A smile.
Don’t touch my damn children you bastard! I screamed in my head. But I looked up and down the street just to make sure I hadn’t said it out loud.
And for some fucked up reason, he had the key to my house on his car keys! My house!
John opened the door and they all pushed through the doorway in laughter. Just as he closed it he looked up at me, the hooded man sitting on the wall opposite his own house like a stranger who didn’t have the right to be there. But I stared right back at him confident that the hood was disguise enough. He closed the door slowly. I heard the lock turn with a loud clunk (or maybe that was in my head, too) and waited because it was tonight when it would happen. He would need to come out and prepare the garbage for the trucks tomorrow. I knew the routine, and it was his routine now.
The hours ticked by, winding up all the tension in my head, counting down like a bomb ready to explode. I stayed where I was, patiently sat on the wall, my hood hiding my face like a phantom. Occasionally the curtains twitched and I saw John spying back at me. I wondered if he really knew who I was, if I was recognised in my black hooded disguise.
I had been hurt by this man, this poison that had stole my family, my way of life. And the children had adapted so well, too. That was like a knife through the heart. What lies had they been told? I did wonder and I created several options in my head. All were possible and as credible as the next option. And the more I thought of them, the more I believed in them. My imagination became reality. Reckless. But in truth, I didn’t really know much. It had been, and still is a mystery, why I am here and he is in the warmth of my house, tucking in my children and reading them their bedtime stories. I should be in there. But I wasn’t. I was here.
I could feel something inside of me just tearing to get out, rip right though my soul and flesh, a demon that wasn’t apart of me a month ago. So much anger and hatred waiting to be released, waiting to pull down the walls that were built around my whole life like a fortress. A fortress to imprison the beast within.
The front door opens and John steps out. He is oblivious for a while, but it doesn’t take hm long to detect the shadowy figure across the road. At first its as though he sees right through me, searching for a disturbance in the trees that stand tall from behind. But as he squints beyond the dark that separates him and I, it becomes clear that I’ve been noticed.
Yes, my friend, I’m still here.
John looks straight towards me. But I don’t think he recognises the man whose life he destroyed. He puts out the trash on the road side, glances over, and looking edgy, calls out to me.
Can I help you?
The question is ignored. Instead I stand clutching the wooden handle behind my back. He doesn’t see it. And I take a step towards him, emerging from the shadows like a man appearing from smoke, his body shape away from proportion as he hides death behind him.
He yells, saying that I’ve been watching him all evening, and threatens to call the police. I keep on walking, but without speed, without intimidation, and I step into the street lighting.
Call the police. They’ll come anyway, I think to myself, with a giggle that is borderline insane.
I guess he feels safe because John steps onto the road.
Don’t feel at home, you piece of shit. This isn’t your house. This isn’t your life. And I hear the chuckle from the demon raging to get out. I raise the axe above my head, my hood falls to my shoulders and he sees the man he destroyed before I park the blade into his head.
I hear dampened screams as the weight of John falling to the road loosens the axe from his skull. I step on his head and remove the metal completely. Maggie is running towards me. For a second I can’t to it. For all she has done and put me through. I struggled to lift the axe again. She mothered our children. We shared a love that, I thought, was unbreakable. But I thought of the two having sex in our bed, with our children sleeping next door, and so lifted the axe to strike her under her chin. And as she fell I let the axe fall with her. And I felt more jealously rage through as their bodies touched and their blood combined. I grabbed the wooden handle and prized the metal from Maggie’s chin with a crack. I noticed it had cut right through into the roof of her mouth.
I looked at the house. Laura and Thomas looked downed at me through their windows. They didn’t cry; I don’t think they were capable. They were pale as they watched their Father holding an axe, blood dripping off the blade. I saw the horror written on their faces, and a part of my felt ashamed.
Guilty.
But the demon was still here; it hadn’t gone. And I still felt the rage that I had been cursed with. I stared at my children, at Laura and Thomas, and I feared it wasn’t yet over.
I step over the bodies and into my garden, entered my house. I left the axe leaning outside and locked the door.
I was home.

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