Unchain

This story is inspired by a song called Unchain by the Christian band White Heart. When I wrote this story, it became very apparent to me that even though the character is a fictional character, that it was somewhat about me. It was very cathartic. I hope you enjoy reading it and please let me know what you think.

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The photos were of a pretty lady. She had long red hair. Her face was the face of a goddess and her body matched. He looked at her and cried yet again. He did every time and he always thought the same thing.

“Why did you leave me alone? Why did you have to die? If the God you served loved me so much, why did He let this happen?”

He put the photo album back on the shelf where he had retrieved it from. Wiping the tears away he went upstairs to his lonely room. He had already put the children down. He slid on his pajamas and climbed into bed. The next morning, he got up and did his usual routine. He brushed his teeth, shaved his head and trimmed his beard. He went back into the bedroom and chose his suit for the day then got dressed. Mrs. Johnston was already there. She always was. She would look after Daniel while he was at work.

Mrs. Johnston was a wonder. She always had something ready for him to eat. He always ate it cause if he didn’t she would give him the evil eye till he did. It was normally toast and coffee but this morning it was eggs and bacon. He wasn’t hungry but he ate it anyways.

“Mrs. Johnston, that was wonderful. I wasn’t hungry till I started eating.”

“You are most welcome Mr. Black. I realize that you don’t pay me to make meals but if I didn’t, I know you would eat unhealthy stuff.”

Walter Black smiled back. He nodded his head and then smiled again. He hadn’t done it in so long. He looked at the floor.

“Mr. Black, are you alright?” Mrs. Johnston asked.

“Yes, I am fine. Still a little bummed I guess.”

Mrs. Johnston looked at Walter. She smiled softly. She knew it would get better. She knew the pain that he felt. Walter walked to the door. He waved at Mrs. Johnston.

“I will be home early.”

She heard the door close and she slowly dropped her head.

“Father, let Mr. Black have release from his pain. It has been ten months since his wife went into your presence. Please help and comfort him.”

Mrs. Johnston cleaned up and then went up to get Kneesa and Jacob up for school. They did so with little protest. She made sure that they did it quietly as to not wake up Daniel. Kneesa was the first one ready. She rushed downstairs. She was in junior high and had to be early to talk about Jon Bon Jovi to her girlfriends. They all thought he was so dreamy. Jacob came down next. He didn’t care about rock stars. He was into cars. That’s all he talked about, this car and that car. His fellow middle schoolers did the same, cars and more cars.

Kneesa and Jacob rushed out after eating their breakfast. Mrs. Johnston was glad sometimes that her brood was all grown up. Well all except Joshua. He was still at home but being seventeen, he could fend for himself.

Mrs. Johnston went upstairs and into the baby’s room. There he was, sleeping soundly, his blanket all in a ball below his feet. She peeked into the crib and he moved ever so softly. She walked out and went back down stairs grabbing the baby monitor as she did.

******************************

Walter Black was a lawyer, a very good one at that. He defended the down trodden. He did it well and sometimes he got well paid for it. His newest client was a man accused of murder. This was a pro bono case. Walter believed that all lawyers should take on free cases once in an while,  so that they can remember where they had come from.

Mr. Kensington was an older gentleman. He had white hair, a white beard and the most striking blue eyes Walter had ever see. They were ice blue and when he looked at you, it was almost like he could see into your soul.

“Mr. Kensington, it doesn’t look good.”

“But I didn’t kill him.” Kensington replied.

Walter looked at him. He knew this frail old man didn’t kill the victim. He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I know that Mr. Kensington, but you were found holding the murder weapon.”

“I know. I found it before I found the body. I saw something shiny and I thought it might have been some loose change. I bent to pick it up and it was a gun. I looked around and that is when I saw the body. I didn’t know who it was till they asked me. I told them I wanted a lawyer and that is when you came into the picture.”

“So did you know the victim?” Walter asked.

Mr. Kensington lowered his head. He nodded slowly.

“Yes I knew him but I only knew him as John. He was a homeless guy just like me. We use to pal around together. We never got into trouble. We never begged for money. We were good bums. Then John just disappeared. I thought he went out for a walk that night and decided not to come back. Then I found his body and the gun, but I didn’t kill him.”

Walter could see the truth in the old man’s eyes. He knew that he didn’t kill him.

“Well, all we have is your say so. The police have your fingerprints and that fact that you were holding the gun. It is not good that you were standing near the body. But on the other hand I think all the evidence is circumstantial and I am almost certain that I can get the charges dropped.”

Mr. Kensington stood up. He stretched out his hand and then shook Walters’.  He smiled softly. “Thank you sir and good day.”

Walter watched the old man walk out. He sat and thought about how this would play out. It was certain that this man did not kill. He was old and too kind natured to do such a thing. He yelled out the open door.

“Janice, bring me the police report on Mr. Kensington please.”

Janice came into the room and had nothing in her hand. Walter looked at her.

“I asked for the police report.”

“I know and I don’t have it.” she replied.

Walter looked at the file. He flipped through the pages but the report wasn’t there. He looked up at Janice and she shrugged her shoulders. She looked around his desk the spied it on the floor. Picking it up she handed it to him.

“Here it is.” she said.

Walter thanked her and then glanced at the report. Janice was about to leave when Walter looked up.

“Hey wait a second. I want your opinion on Mr. Kensington. Does he strike you as the murdering kind or even a violent man?”

Janet sat in the chair next to him. She looked at the wall then out the window. She saw a seagull flying free. Looking at it fly and soar she spoke.

“No I don’t. He has always been very kind to me. Always asks about how I am. No, in my opinion, he does not strike me as a violent person or a killer. In fact, truth be told, he kind of reminds me of Santa Claus. The white beard and all, ya know.”

Walter thanked Janice then watched as she left the room. He turned his attention to the police report again. His brow furrowed as he read it. He picked up the report on the gun. He read it again. Something nagged at him.

“Janice, get me….” Walter looked at the report again, ” Get me Detective Macally on the phone.”

A few minutes later Janice rang Him.

“Detective Macally on line one sir.”

Walter thanked her then went on the other line.

“Detective Macally, we need to talk.”

Macally agreed and Walter left the office. Janice sat and watched him leave. She softly prayed.

“Lord, protect Mr. Black. He needs you more then he knows.”

*******************************************

Walter walked into the police station and looked for Macally. He waved over to Walter.

“I only have a couple of questions.”

Macally nodded. “Shoot.”

“Was the gun in the Kensington case ever re-dusted for prints?”

“No. They belonged to Kensington and a very partial one. We assumed it was his also.”

“Was he ever tested gunshot residue?”

“Yes and it came up negative.”

“Did you ever run the partial?”

“No, but if you ask really nice we can.”

Walter smiled and then shook Macally’s hand.

“Yes please do. Let me know the minute you find out anything.”

Walter walked off and then stopped for coffee. He stopped to look at his watch. His therapist was waiting for him. How he hated those appointments.

**************************************

“Well Walter, how goes it?”

“I looked at her pictures again last night. I cried and cried. Will the pain ever go away?”

“Yes Walter, it will end. When you are ready to let go you will.”

Walter looked at the ceiling. Tears rolled down his face in a steady stream. He wanted to stop but was afraid that if he did, then he would forget what she looked like.

“I feel like there are chains wrapped around me and there is no way of getting them off. I don’t know how much longer I can handle it. I am trying to be strong for the children but what about me?”

“What do you mean, what about me?”

Walter looked at the doctor. He tried not to look indignant.

“I mean, am I cursed to spend the rest of my days mourning my dead wife. Hiding my feelings from my children. Putting on a mask every time I leave the house?”

The doctor looked at the wall clock. Their time was almost up. He started to put his pen away and close his notebook. Looking at Walter, he knew that the pain would pass. It would take more time and that there was no way of stopping the pain entirely.

“Well Walter, our time is almost up. We will talk again next week.”

“What no answer? I have to wait till next week to get my answer?”

Dr Williams looked up at him.

“Only you know that answer. I can give you the clinical one but that is only my opinion. I think in time the pain will go away. How long that takes is up to you.”

Walter got off the couch and grabbing his jacket, he walked out the door. The doctor sat looking at his lap. He knew that he could not help this man. All he could do was listen and take his money.

Walter walked back to his office. It was going to be a long walk but maybe the cool air would help clear his mind and help him free himself from these chains. The air was brisk and cold and frosty. Walter could see his breath. Earlier in the day it was warmer and now it was turning cold. Rain was in the air even though you couldn’t see it. You could feel it and it was saying that winter was not far away.

**********************************************

Walter stopped at the corner. He watched the traffic go through the intersection. He thought how easy it would be to step into traffic and end it all. But that would mean leaving the children without a father. He waited for the light and made his way to the other side. Walter walked into the office to see Janice talking to another woman. He looked at them.

“Is this a client Janice?”

“No Mr. Black. This is Mrs. Frietz. She is my pastor’s wife. She was just leaving.”

Walter nodded his head and walked towards his office door. Mrs. Frietz looked at him as he turned around to speak to Janice.

“God bless. I will be praying for you and your children Mr. Black.”

With that said, Mrs. Frietz walked out. Janice looked at Walter and waited for him to say something. He didn’t. He just went into his office and closed the door. She waited for something but nothing came. Suddenly she heard him call.

“Janice, come in here please.”

Janice came running. She wouldn’t have normally but he sounded so frantic. She opened the door to see him sitting behind his desk. He looked up at her.

“Was Mrs. Frietz here for a special reason?”

Janice looked at him. She knew that she couldn’t lie to him.

“She came to discuss something. We were supposed to meet for lunch but she was unable to do so. She phoned and asked if it was alright to come and discuss it here. I didn’t see any problem with it. Why is that a problem with that?”

Walter shook his head no. He looked at her and smiled. He had Janice for quite sometime and knew that she did not lie.

“Is Mr. Kensington here yet?”

“No, he phoned and said he was going to be late. ”

“Did he say why?”

“No.” Janice replied.

“Let me know when he gets here and until then, no calls.”

Janice walked out and Walter picked up a picture. The carousel horse was painted white with pink polka dots and a bright purple bridal. The woman who sat on it was pretty. Her long red hair flowed behind her as the horse rode along. She looked so happy but the look belied the pain she was in. Her tummy was extended. Being pregnant will do that. Walter put the picture down and went back to work.

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Softly the music played. The horses flew around. They went up and down, always in a circle. They were all different colors. There were ones attached to wagons. He stood watching them fly by. His eyes never left them. The music played and the chains rattled. The horses flew, the music played and the chains rattled.

Walter looked and rubbed his eyes. He looked again and the chains were still there. The music had changed. It was not longer sweet. Instead it was sick and twisted. The carousel had become broken down and ugly. The horses were no longer pretty but ugly and evil looking.

Walter couldn’t take his eyes off the scene. He watched and the redheaded woman flew by.  She was no longer the beautiful redhead that he remembered. Now she was nothing but bones with ghastly flowing red hair. Her eyes peered out through the chains. The chains reached out for him. Each link had his name engraved on them. The skeleton looked at him. He tried not to scream.

“Walter, come to me. Be with me Walter. These chains bind us together. They will always be there no matter what you do.”

The chains started to wrap themselves around his feet, creeping, moving up his legs. Walter lost it. He screamed and screamed. He tried to run but could go nowhere. His screaming continued. He pulled at the chains but they refused to budge. He screamed again. The chains were pulling him closer to the carousel. The skeleton, that was his dead wife, had its bony arms extended. He screamed. She pulled him closer. He screamed. She tried to kiss him. He screamed. The chains wrapped around him, her arms were also around him. He screamed and his bladder opened. He whimpered.

Suddenly he heard a sound. He saw a light and an old man’s hand sat on his shoulder. The chains moved back. The skeleton hissed. It lashed out at the hand but no good came of it. Walter was being pulled back. The hand grabbed his collar and pulled.

Walter woke up. He was covered in sweat. He noticed that his chair was wet. He was so ashamed. He quickly got up and rushed to his private bathroom. He pulled off his wet pants and after washing himself off, he slipped on a pair of sweat pants. He opened the door and went back to his desk.

Mr. Kensington sat quietly in a chair. He flipped through a magazine. Walter sat down and noticed his chair was gone. Janice must have brought him a new one. He looked at Mr. Kensington.

“Well sir, I do apologize for my appearance. I was having a very disturbing dream.”

“A nightmare I think. You were whimpering and moaning. You looked and sounded like you were fighting with the devil himself.” Kensington said.

“Then it was you that pulled me out?” Walter said with a bewildered look.

Mr. Kensington smiled and nodded his head softly. He put the magazine back on the desk.

“So, have you gotten anywhere with my case? It is coming soon. My day in court I mean.”

“I am working on it. Unfortunately my day has been somewhat frazzled. I think that tomorrow will be a better day. A good night’s sleep is all I need.”

Mr. Kensington nodded. He knew all about being frazzled. He reached for Walter’s hand. Shaking it softly he spoke.

“Then till tomorrow, I will be praying for you Mr. Black.”

With that Walter watched him leave the office. Walter called in Janice.

“It’s three in the afternoon. Pack up and go home. Time to close up shop for the day. Tomorrow we work in earnest on Mr. Kensington’s case.”

Janice smile and then walked out to put her stuff away. She did not have to be told twice. Walter watched her go. He did the same. He closed the office door and after locking it, headed home.

***************************

Morning cam quickly. Walter was up and out of the house just after Mrs. Johnston came in. He had made a promise to get to work on the Kensington case. He knew the old man was innocent but he had to prove it. He arrived at the office before Janice and started right in on work. He re-read the police report. He was seeing problems. He picked up the phone and dialed the police station.

“Yes, I need to speak with Detective Macally. Yes I will wait.”

Walter listened to the police version of Muzak. Just sounded like crap to him. He listened some more while he glanced at the police report again.

“Hello, this is Macally. Who is this and how may I help you?”

“Detective, this is Walter Black calling. We spoke yesterday.”

“Oh yes, how may I help you counselor?”

“Well I am reading the police report and I don’t see the name of the officer that was first at the murder scene. Can you help me with that?”

“Yes I do believe I can. The officers name is Patrolman Webster Cross. I can transfer you if you like.”

“No that won’t be necessary. I will come down to the station. I need to speak with him in person.”

“Very well, I will have him stick around.” Macally replied.

Walter hung up the phone and grabbed the report and anything else he needed. He left locking the door behind him He started to think about the dream but pushed it back out of the way. He went downstairs and walked passed his car towards the police station. Arriving at the station, he walked in and set out to find Patrolman Cross. He found him sitting at Macally’s desk. Walter nodded at the detective. He stretched out his hand to shake Cross’s hand. Cross just looked at him.

“Good morning Detective.”

“Morning Black. Here is Cross, have fun.”

****************************************

Macally stayed in his chair. He watched Black looking at Cross. Macally hated lawyers but Black he liked, didn’t know why. Maybe it was because they had both lost wives. He noticed the black circles under Black’s eyes. Black stood an imposing six foot six. A bald head with a salt and pepper goatee. A dark suit covered his body. White shirt with a black leather tie, patent leather shoes with black socks completed the ensemble.

“Patrolman Cross, I have but a few questions” Walter said.

“Go ahead. I can’t answer them any better then I already have.” Cross replied.

“Okay, then let’s get to it. You say in your report that you first got the call while you taking a bathroom break. Is that true?”

“Yes, even cops have to answer the call of nature.”

“Okay. You say in your report that you received the call at nine twenty am. You came on duty at what time?”

“I was supposed to be on but eight am but I was delayed. So I guess it was nine am when I came on duty.”

“Why so late?” Walter asked.

“The car I was supposed to use had a problem. The carburetor was cracked. The mechanics had to fix it. I would have taken another car but they were already all assigned or broken down. So I went to an empty desk and got some paperwork out of the way while I waited.” Cross answered.

Walter looked at the report. Looking back at Cross he furrowed his brow. He looked at Macally then back at Cross.

“I see. It says in your report that when you arrived at the scene you saw the suspect holding the alleged murder weapon. You then looked down to find the victim. It doesn’t say here that you called for backup, why not?”

“To be honest, I didn’t think I needed it. It was an old man. He didn’t run when I came up to him. In fact he got down on his knees. He had the gun in his left hand butt end towards me. I took it, cuffed him then looked at the body.”

Walter looked at Cross then at Macally. Macally shrugged his shoulders. Walter looked back at the report.

“Okay Patrolman Cross, we are almost done. Two more questions. When did you read my client his rights and there was a partial print found on the gun aside from the suspect. Did anything ever come of that?”

Macally handed Walter a paper. It was the fingerprint analysis, the results of the second test. The partial print was neither the victims nor the suspect. It did not belong to Cross either. The report showed that the print was on the butt end of the gun, middle finger.

“So if this report is true, it was a luger that the shot came from?” Walter asked.

Cross started to nod his head. He stopped and looked at Walter.

“Wait, I put in the report that it was a nine millimeter. I never said anything about a Luger. By the way, to answer your previous question, yes I did read your client his rights. Courts get cranky, as do captains, when suspects are not read their Miranda rights.”

“Are you sure about the gun?”

“Yes. The ballistics report said it was a nine millimeter.”

Walter looked at the report. He looked up at Macally and then at Cross. He lifted his hand

“Just one more thing, was the suspect standing over the body when you found him or was he a distance away?”

“I do believe I wrote in my report that he was standing close to the body. It was almost like he shot him then made it look like he was just a helpless victim.”

“Okay, thank you Patrolman Cross.”

Walter shook the man’s hand and then turned towards Macally. He smiled softly and then shook his hand as well. He started to walk out then turned around.

“Detective, I will be seeing you again.”

Walter turned around and walked out of the building. The rest of the day he spent at the office returning phone calls and researching precedent. He need to find something or there was a good chance he was going to loose this case. He knew that Kensington was innocent. Looking at the clock he saw it was four in the afternoon. He went to call for Janice but she did not come in today. He picked up his briefcase and headed out the door.

***************************************

The wind blew softly enough to make the chains rattle. He looked at them. Each on had his name carved on one side, on the other as the name of his wife. He touched them and felt the warmth from them. He felt each letter. He felt the C and then the O and every other letter. It spelled out the name Corrine. He cried. The chains rattled a little more.

Walter walked away from the chains and turned towards the music. It was the same melody as before. It was so soft and sweet. He felt drawn to it. Corrine’s read hair flowed behind her. She was beautiful. Walter walked towards her then stopped. The chains reached for him. He tried to avoid them. He turned around and walked away. He could hear her calling after him.

“Walter, come back. You are mine. You belong to me. I love you, come back.”

Walter stopped and looked back. She was a skeleton once again. Her red hair, brighter then it was before, flowed behind her. Her bony arms were outstretched. Her fingers pleaded with him to come back. She spit his name.

“Walter! You are mine. No one can have you but me!”

The skeleton got down off the carousel horse and started to walk towards him. He wanted to run but found he couldn’t. He looked down. Chains were wrapping around his feet. They pulled harder as he struggled and tried to run. He felt the hand of the skeleton touch his arm and he screamed. He tried to run. He wanted to run. He begged to run. The arm wrapped around him. He felt the coldness of the other arm wrap around him. He screamed. The head, with the flame red hair, moved closer. It kissed his cheek.

“See Walter, I am still your wife. I still love you.”

“NO! You are not. You are NOT!” Walter whimpered.

The skeleton that had been Corrine kissed him. Walter lost it. Urine rained down his leg. She kissed him on the lips. He cried and tried to run. She held him tighter, her mouth on his. He could taste her death. It was not a kiss of love rather a kiss of ownership. He was hers and no one else would have him. Suddenly Walter heard a voice. It was calling him but it was not his name that he heard. It was the voice of a child. He held onto the voice. The skeleton shrunk back.

“Daddy, daddy, wake up!”

Walter looked around. Corrine was gone. The chains were gone. All that was left was him standing in a field.

Kneesa sat on the edge of the bed. She was shaking Walter. The sheets were all wet and wrapped around his feet. Kneesa shook him harder.

“Daddy, daddy, wake up.”

Walter opened his eyes. He noticed right away that he was wet. He looked at Kneesa. She was crying. He looked at himself. He was covered but barely. He sat up and took her into his arms.

“It’s okay ,y darling, it was only a dream.”

Kneesa smiled through the tears. Daddy always called her his darling.

“You were screaming. You were begging mommy to let you go. You were crying and peeing. Daddy, don’t you love mommy anymore.”

“Of course I still love mommy. But mommy has gone to heaven. I am afraid. I don’t know if I can love again. Do you understand?”

Kneesa nodded. She was twelve and sort of understood. She looked at him.

“Do you want to find us a new mommy?”

Walter shrugged his shoulders. He smiled softly then pointed to the door. Kneesa got up and headed to the door. She turned around.

“I will pray for you daddy.”

“You do that honey.” Walter replied.

He watched her go. He couldn’t help but whisper under his breath.

“Go ahead and pray to the darkness.”

Walter finished getting dressed and started to go downstairs. He could hear his daughter praying for him. He stopped to listen.

“Dear Jesus, my daddy is awful sad. My mommy died and she is with you now but daddy is so sad. He misses mommy so much and I know because I hear him cry in his sleep.

“I know that I am not the greatest little girl. Daddy gets mad at me sometimes. That’s okay. Daddies are allowed to. Daddies are a lot like you. They get mad but they still love us.

“My daddy is sad. He loved my mommy and you took her to be with Jesus. Daddy is so sad. Please God, show daddy that he doesn’t need to be sad anymore.”

Walter wiped a tear from his eye then turned away to go downstairs. Kneesa got back into bed and tried to go to sleep. The more she tried the more awake she was. Finally she got up and grabbed her bible.

“Jesus loves you daddy.” she said.

Walter looked at his watch after getting downstairs. It was one am. The city was quiet. Walter turned on the television set and found only some loud-mouthed preacher spilling out the mambo-jumbo that was supposed to be Christianity. He flipped through the channels, nothing but the same preacher. He put the remote down and in no time was asleep.

*************************************

The chains rattled, not as soft as they did before. They rattled faster and faster. He tried to get through them but the further he went the thicker they became. They lapped at his hands and wrapped themselves around his legs. He shook them off and continued on his way.  Reaching the center he saw her. Her red hair flew around her. Her eyes shone brighter then the brightest star. Her bones were as white as snow. Her smile was a toothy one. She held put her arms.

“Walter, you came to me my love. Come stand with me and the love we share.”

Walter stood watching. His legs moved forward even though he did not want to. He tried to stop but found he couldn’t. He came closer and closer then he stopped.

“Come to me Walter. I love you Walter.”

Walter shook his head. He was trying to clear his mind. He looked away but found himself looking back just as quick. He started to walk forwards again. This time he walked faster.

“Dear God, help me!” Walter cried.

“Dear God, help me! God! What God? There is no God! If there was a god, would He have taken me away from you? Would He have left your children alone with only you to care for them?

“You think that this Jesus that our daughter prays to is real. He’s not. He’s a fake just like all the other gods. Jehovah is a fake, nothing but a fake!”

The skeleton reared back its head and laughed. It laughed so hard that the chains rattled. It was almost as if the chains were laughing with her. She stopped laughing then looked at Walter.

“COME TO ME!” She screamed.

Walter started to walk forward. He felt compelled to come yet something nagged at him. He looked to left then to his right then looked back at the skeleton. He started to shuffle towards it again.

The skeleton smiled a toothy grin that looked like a grotesque grin. It raised its hands in victory. She held her arms out and waited with baited anticipation. Walter was coming closer. She could smell his flesh. She opened and closed her bony hands. Walter was within her grasp. Suddenly he stopped. She stared.

“Come Walter my love. Be with me. It is so lonely without you. I miss you Walter.”

Walter looked at her. He started to move forwards again, and then he stopped. He looked at her.

“NO! NO! NO! You are not who you say you are. You are a fraud.”

“NO Walter, I am Corrine.”

“No you are not!”

Walter heard a voice. It was so soft and sweet.

“Jesus loves you daddy!”

Walter listened for it again.

“Jesus loves you daddy!”

The skeleton suddenly moved backwards. It screamed and screamed.

“You can’t have him. He’s mine! He’s mine!”

Suddenly the chains pushed apart but no hands moved them. They seemed to obey someone yet unseen. Walter moved away from the skeleton. It was cringing, scared to death. The light got brighter and brighter. It was so bright that Walter had to cover his eyes.

Walter opened his eyes to see a man. This man was nothing out of the ordinary. He didn’t look of any great stature and yet Walter felt like He was. The skeleton thought so as well for it cringed even more as the man came closer.

“Jesus loves you daddy!” Walter heard.

He looked around. The chains moved back where ever the Man stepped. They seemed to hiss at Him. He paid them no mind as He advanced. His sandaled feet walked with purpose. He looked not around but rather kept His eyes on the skeleton. The skeleton moved back.

“NO! NO! NO! You can not have him. He is mine! He is mine!”

The man raised his hands. He looked like he was about to throttle the skeleton. Suddenly the skeleton stood and spread its hands.

“Look Son of Man, he fell into my trap and you can not have him. You did nothing for him. You took his wife away from him. You made his children sad. You cursed him with all his grief. You are at fault. I had him first.”

The Son of Man cocked His head and stared at the skeleton. He raised His arms with palms pointed out. The skeleton recoiled.

“Long before you were I was. I was there when God created this world. I was there when you were cast out of the garden. I was there from the beginning. I was there for David and Daniel. I was the fourth man in the fire.

“I was the greatest sacrifice that mankind has ever known. You have no ownership on this man. He is free to do as he pleases. He can worship or not worship whom ever he pleases. You can not have him.”

Walter was staring at the hands. He could see the wounds from the nails. His eyes opened wide. This man was Jesus. He suddenly felt the need to fall on his knees. He could feel his face wet from tears.

“Jesus love you daddy. Jesus died for you daddy. Don’t fight daddy, take Jesus as your own daddy.”

Walter felt an arm go around his shoulder. He wiped the tears from his eyes and looked right into Corrine’s. He started to cry. He couldn’t help it. Corrine looked at him and spoke.

“Do not fear my love. I am not that thing. I am the one that tried to tell you that Jesus was who He said He was. That Man with the scars is He. Listen to Kneesa. She may be young but when it comes to Jesus she is much older then you. Listen to her.”

Walter watched as Corrine walked away. He turned to see the other scene. Jesus was forcing the skeleton into submission. He bound it with the chains that had bound Walter for so long. Jesus turned around and faced him.

“The chains are gone now. You can get on with your life and look after those children.”

Walter watched as Jesus walked away. He looked around and saw no chains. He finally felt safe. He also felt so very tired. He laid his head back and drifted off to sleep.

Walter opened his eyes and looked to see Kneesa looking down on him. He smiled up at her.

“I want Jesus!”

Kneesa jumped up and down. She yelled for Jacob. He came running down.

“What is it?”

Kneesa told Jacob what Walter had said. Jacob smiled and gave his dad a high five. He sat down across from him. Walter looked at Kneesa.

“Help me take Jesus.”

Kneesa and Jacob took Walter by the hand and walked him through the sinner’s prayer. Walter had tears in his eyes after they were finished. He kissed both his children and pulled them to the couch. They nestled into his arms and they fell asleep.

*****************

Morning came and Walter got up to get showered and dressed. He woke up the kids and got them moving. When He came back downstairs he could smell that Mrs. Johnston was in the kitchen making breakfast. He walked in and greeted her.

“Good morning Mrs. Johnston. Before you ask, yes I will take breakfast this morning.”

Jacob and Kneesa walked in a few minutes later. Kneesa had Daniel on her hip. She looked so much like her mother. She put Daniel in his chair then sat down beside Jacob. Mrs. Johnston served up breakfast and then returned to her duties. Walter looked at her.

“Mrs. Johnston, please join us. There is more then enough to go around.”

Mrs. Johnston sat down and grabbed a piece of toast. Walter smiled at her.

“Thank you dear God for this wonderful woman that you have brought into our lives. Thank you for the food that she prepares and how well she takes care of my children. Thank you dear God for my three wonderful children, they are the light of my life. Most of all Lord, thank you for the privilege of taking Your Son as my own. Thank you Lord Jesus.”

Mrs. Johnston had tears running down her cheeks. She reached over and took Walter’s hand.

“Welcome to the family Mr. Black”

“Well then, if we are family now, that is enough of the formalities. No more Mr. Black. Please call me Walter.”

***************************************

After breakfast was over with, Walter went to work. When he got there, he called Janice into his office, He told her the good news and she jumped with joy. After she was done with her dancing, he asked her to send in Mr. Kensington.

Kensington walked into the office. He shook Walters hand and then sat down. He couldn’t help notice the grin on Walters face and the spring in his voice. It was almost infectious.

“What has you so happy today Mr. Black?”

Walter looked at him and couldn’t hold it in. He wanted to tell the whole world.

“I, how do I say this without sounding childish? I took Jesus as my own last night. I fought and fought it but I finally gave in.”

Kensington stood up and shook Walters hand again.

“Welcome to the family.”

Walter looked at him. He never thought that Kensington knew the Lord. Walter sat back down. He was so happy but knew he had work to do.

“Okay, on with the business at hand. We go to court tomorrow and the fun will be….” Walter looked at the phone as it rang then picked it up.

“Yes, oh is he. Show the Detective in.”

The office door opened and Macally walked in. He shook Walters’s hand. He sat down in the other chair and then retrieved his note pad.

“I came over because we have some new information that I do believe will be pertinent to your client.”

Walter looked at Kensington then at Macally.

“What do you mean?”

“Well on a hunch, I took it upon myself to re-examine not only the crime scene photos but also the murder weapon.”

“What did you find?” Walter asked.

“Well I found that the victim had not been killed at the scene. There were no casing found at the murder scene except for the one from the alleged murder weapon. I thought that was strange. Also after getting the gun examined a third time, a finger print was found that had not been found before. It was a left thumb print.”

Macally tossed a stick of gum at Kensington,he caught it with his right hand. Macally smiled.”

“What was that for?” Walter asked as Kensington started chewing the gum.

“That was to prove that he could not have killed the victim. The killer was left handed.”

Walter cocked his head. He didn’t understand, Macally looked at him. He could see in Walters’s eyes that he didn’t have a clue. Macally took out his gun. After taking out the clip and removing the round from the chamber, he passed it to Kensington.

“Show me how you picked up the gun. Make sure it is the same way as before.”

Kensington put the gun onto the floor then picked it back up with his right index finger and thumb. Macally took back the gun.

“Now wait, are you saying my client is innocent?” Walter asked.

“The only thing he is guilty of being an idiot, no offense.” Macally chuckled.

“None taken, I agree with you on that but then, who did kill my friend?” Kensington asked.

“Well for that answer you will have to wait for your day in court. All will be answered. Make sure Black, that you call me first so that I can set the stage.”

Walter nodded and then both men to either home or the police station. Tomorrow would be a big day. Then it hit him.

“Macally, what about the D.A., they will have to be told.”

“They already do. I told him before I came over here. You should be getting a call from them at any moment.”

Almost as if on cue, the phone rang. Walter picked it up.

“Hello. Well hello Robert, I was just talking about you. Were your ears burning?”

For the next hour Walter talked to Robert. They bantered around ideas. They finally agreed upon one just as it was closing time.

“So we will for go our opening statements and get right to the matter at hand. Very well Robert. Yes, talk to you tomorrow. Goodbye.”

Walter hung up the phone just as Janice tapped on the glass. He told her to come in and she looked at him. He had a big smile on his face and looked like the cat that had just swallowed the canary.

“Are you ready for court tomorrow?” she asked.

“Janice tomorrow is going to be a very long day. Might as well plan on staying late tonight.”

*********************************

The next morning came as usual. The courthouse was filled with people hoping to get a glimpse of the homeless killer. Walter walked in and got ready for trial. Mr. Kensington was brought in afterwards. The D.A. was already there. The bailiff announced the judge.

“All rise, Oregon Supreme Court Case #23975, the People vs. Orlando Kensington. The Honorable Judge Hadley Comfort presiding.”

Judge Comfort took his place. He told all to sit then looked at the D.A.

“Are you ready Mr. Rodgers?”

Rodgers stood up. He looked at Walter. He moved out from behind the table. He was a striking man. He was tall with pitch black hair, blue eyes and a neatly trimmed goatee. He had an air of sophistication yet was hardly sophisticated. The tweed jacket look good on his well trimmed body.

“Your honor, if it pleases the court. I yield the floor to Mr. Black. There is new evidence that has come to light, that is most relevant not only to his clients defense but also to the outcome of this trial. Therefore after speaking with Mr. Black, it was deemed best if we postpone our opening statements. I believe that this new evidence will allow us to bring this trial to a conclusion that is most satisfactory for not only the court but also the people.”

The judge nodded and then turned his attention to Walter Black.

“Well Mr. Black it seems you have the floor.”

“Thank you your honor.” Walter said as he stood up. “The defense calls Detective Waylon Macally to the stand.”

Macally walked up to the witness box, he stayed standing as the Bailiff walked up.

“Put your hand on the bible.”

Macally did so.

“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? So help you God” the Bailiff asked

“I do.” Macally replied.

“State your name for the record.” the bailiff asked.

“David Reginald Macally.”

“You may be seated.”

Walter walked up as Macally sat down. Looking at him, Walter saw a man that had been at his job far too long. Walter looked him right in the eye.

“Detective, can you tell us the new information that you have?”

“Yes I can. After speaking with you at the police station, I took it upon myself to have the murder weapon re-examined. After re-testing for fingerprints, there was found a partial thumb print on the left hand side of the barrel. There was no reason given why it had not been found before and I didn’t ask for one. After finding that print I believe that your defendant is innocent.”

“Why do you say that Detective?”

“Well seeing how the fingerprint was placed. The shooter had to be left-handed. ”

“How do you know that?”

“Here let me show you.”

Macally asked to see the murder weapon. Walter passed it to him. Macally took the gun in his left hand and pulled back the hammer. He looked inside the chamber to make sure there was not a round in it. He then let it go.

“This how a right handed person makes sure the weapon is loaded.”

Macally cocked the weapon using his left hand and then let it go. The clang of the metal filled the quiet courtroom. Walter looked at Macally.

“Assuming that I have never fired a gun before. Why not use your right hand to load the weapon?”

“Because it would be too cumbersome. Hold the weapon in your left hand, load with your right then switch the weapon to your right hand. No, by the time you were ready to shoot you would be dead.

“Understand, a left handed person would pull with his right hand. A right handed person would pull with his left hand. Because the print was found on the left side of the gun, that means that the shooter was a lefty. Mr. Kensington is not left handed, he is right handed.”

Walter looked at Macally then at the judge. Turning around he smiled at the D.A. then sat down. The D.A. stood up.

“So Detective, is that all?”

Macally looked at Walter. Walter shrugged his shoulders as if he didn’t know. Macally looked back at Rodgers.

“Don’t worry Detective. I have only one question, if the defendant did not kill the victim, then who did?” Rodgers asked.

Macally looked at Rodgers then at Black. Walter stood up.

“Your honor, if it pleases the court. That question can be answered by the calling of my next witness. I realize that this is out of the ordinary but to expedite this matter, the prosecution has agreed to allow my next witness.”

The judge nodded and had the next witness called.

“The defense calls Patrolman Marcus Cross.”

Patrolman Cross walked into the courtroom. He was in his uniform. Everything was perfect, not an item out of place. His blond hair was greased back. You couldn’t even tell if he had shaved or even needed to shave. He made his way to the witness stand with this sort of cocky strut. The Bailiff came up after him and after going through the oath was asked to speak his full name.

“Marcus Maurice Cross.”

“You may be seated.” the Bailiff said.

Cross took his seat and waited for someone to speak. Walter stood slowly up and for dramatic effect, walked very slowly towards the witness. He looked at Cross and smiled. It was not a smile of friendship but rather a smile that said `we got you’. Walter put the murder weapon in front of cross. He spun it around and then spun it around again.

“Patrolman Cross, can you explain something to me? I am quite puzzled over something and it looks like you are the one that can answer me.”

“What do you need?” Cross asked slightly agitated.

Walter picked up the gun and handed it to Cross. Cross took the gun and then put it back down. Walter watched as Cross put the gun down with his left hand. Walter showed no emotion but his insides were doing the jig.

“Can you explain how your thumbprint came to be on this gun. Now before you answer I want to let you know that I know you took intense training on how to pick a weapon without gloves on. Please don’t give me the excuse ‘I forgot’.”

Cross looked at Black then at Macally.  Macally just stared back. Walter looked at him. Cross was becoming frantic even though he didn’t show it.

“Your client passed it to me. I took it without thinking.”

“Show the court how he passed it to you please.”

Cross picked up and gun and then with a smooth move positioned the gun so that the butt end was pointing at Walter and the barrel was towards him. Walter smiled and shook his head no.

“Thank you and no Patrolman Cross. Let me refresh your memory. Please read the highlighted area on your report.”

Cross took the report and started to read.

“Perp handed me the gun. I took it with my right hand. I had put my gloves on to make sure that the item was not contaminated.”

Walter took back the report and then gave it to the prosecution. He turned around to Cross.

“Please explain again how your prints got on the murder weapon?”

Cross shook his head. He was also sweating. Barely noticeable but sweating nonetheless. Walter smiled.

“Now let me think. You want to know how I think all this went down.”

Cross looked at Walter. He nodded his head. He did so but his eyes told another story. He was looking like a trapped rat.

“Okay now please stop me if I get off track. This is how I think it went down. The victim is a John Doe or at least we all thought he was. Ya know the joy of being a lawyer is that not only do you, sometimes, get the help of the police but also a private detective. He did some checking for me on our John Doe. It turns out his last name was not Doe at all but rather Cross, Albert Andrew Cross to be exact. Now that made my eyebrows perk up a lot. Seems I have heard or read that name before. It was your name.

“Now it seems like sloppy work but you were the officer of record. You knew the victim. You were able to do it all and not give anything away. You did all the paperwork and you even did a ballistics report. How do I know all this you ask? Well there is no record of an official ballistics test but on your report it shows the results of one. Now one can assume that either again there was sloppy work or you did it yourself. How am I doing so far?”

Cross looked at Black. His eyes were wide with fright. He had to figure a way out of this. He had worked to hard to be where he was. He wasn’t going to let his dead idiot brother ruin it for him from the grave.

“Sounds like a fairy tale to me, but amuse yourself and continue.” Cross replied.

“Thank you, I think I will. My private detective did some last minute checking for me last night. In fact you might say he really earned his pay. Anyways I digress. Now it seems that one M.M.C. did time,little stuff like b&e, petty theft. You know little stuff. Seems this M.M.C. had himself a partner. A.A.C. was the initials. Now my guy did some more digging. Seems M.M.C. stands for Marcus Maurice Cross. Imagine my surprise when your name popped up. Then when I saw the name of the John Doe, and you know, the hair on my legs stoop up.”

Cross was sweating profusely; He looked nervously around the courtroom. He was trying to find a way to escape. Everything was becoming unraveled. Too many mistakes. He cursed softly under his breath. All the while Walter was staring at him.

“So as you can imagine, it didn’t take long to put two and two together. ”

Suddenly Cross stood up and jumped out of the witness stand., He pushed Walter out of the way and ran for the door. Kensington quickly stuck out his cane and tripped cross up. The Bailiffs were all over him. They shackled him and faced him towards the judge. Cross shook off the arms of the Bailiffs.

“Alright, I did it. I killed him. He would have exposed me for the fraud that I am. I knew that if he lived my career as a police officer was over. So I killed him then dumped his body and waited for a bum to come by and pick up the weapon. Kensington was kind enough to be the fall guy.”

Striking his gavel on the desk, Comfort asked for quiet. He pounded the gavel harder and screamed for silence.

“Mr. Cross, yes I said Mr. Your career as a police officer is over. I am ordering your immediate arrest and I am ordering the District Attorneys office to start an official investigation.

“Mr. Black, I here by drop all charges against Mr. Kensington and give him the courts deepest apologies. He is free to go. I don’t see any problems with that Mr. Prosecutor?”

“Not at all your honor. The District Attorneys office has no problems in dropping the charges.”

“Bailiffs escort Mr. Cross to a holding cell.”

The Bailiffs escorted Cross out of the courtroom. Robert Rodgers turned towards Mr. Kensington. He extended his hand.

“I am very sorry for all of this.”

“No need to be sorry. You were just doing your job. If I am free to go I would like to. I have a cardboard box, with my name on it, waiting for me.”

Walter watched Mr. Kensington walk out of the courtroom. He quickly shook Roberts hand and then rushed out to catch the old man.

“Orlando, wait.”

Orlando stopped. He turned around to look at Walter. He waited for him to catch up. Walter looked at him.

“What? Where?”

“My box in the park.” Orlando replied.

“No! You have to come home with me. A celebration is in order. Come home with me. Have dinner and meet my children. Please.”

“Alright, but only this once.” Orlando nodded.

“By the way, you never did tell me what you use to for a living.” Walter said.

“Oh I didn’t. Well I use to be a lawyer.” Orlando replied.

Walter laughed and walked out with Orlando. This would not be the last time they would be seen together.

Finis

I dedicate this story to my beautiful wife Rose who passed away November 11th 1995, She is with Jesus and is waiting for me. I love you Rosie!

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