When a string of endless problems bring seventeen year old Christian Xavier Solomon and his terminally ill mother to Black Pillar Island, he finds solace when he meets others like him. His plans to start afresh in this new town quickly fall apart when good intentions manifest into a gang mentality among his new band of brothers. Spiralled into a world of drugs, murder and death, Christian must learn how to navigate his new life if he is to survive. Could rekindling a relationship with an old flame turn it all around? Or will a chance meeting with a mysterious stranger open a door of dark secrets that could push Christian over the edge?
Chapter 58 - 59
Truth and Revelations / Death of Christian
Truth and Revelations
Gran wiped a tear from her cheek and looked at Christian who was frozen with a stone-cold look on his face.
“I don’t know everything that happened in the time she spent with this man. All I know is, it was sometime during those days, that my little girl died. To add insult to injury, this rapist, this gangster, walked away scot-free. They refused to prosecute him.”
Christian was struggling to stay silent as his gran filled him in on the rape. His body was trembling and he couldn’t hold it in anymore. He stood up and started pacing.
“Chrissy, please sit back down.”
A dark mask stared back at his gran. Christian stood at the dresser, breathing heavy through his nose, on the verge of hyperventilating.
“I’m gonna kill him,” Christian said softly.
“Chrissy, please. Calm yourself.”
Christian swiped everything on top of his dresser onto the floor. “Calm myself? You want me to calm down?”
“There’s more. But until you calm down, I won’t continue.”
Christian forced himself to sit on the foot of his bed, his elbows on his knees and both hands cupping his mouth and nose. He rocked back and forth.
“What more can there be?” Christian said.
“You always said you wanted answers. I’ll give them to you, if you promise you won’t fly off the handle.”
Christian took his hands from his face. He looked over at his gran who was now seated on the side of the bed. “So she got high and he raped her. That’s why she was a piece of shit mother to me?”
“Why do you always bring things back to you? This is exactly what I’m talking about when I say you victimize yourself.”
“Damaged merchandise. She chose to be a bitch mother to me because she put herself in that position. Her choices punished me for my whole life.”
“Shut your mouth, Christian. Think about what she went through.”
“You sit here and defend her. My slut of a mother.”
“Don’t ever call her that! If it wasn’t for her, you wouldn’t be sitting here!”
“Don’t feed me that crap.” Christian stood up and put a cigarette in his mouth.
“When she was pregnant with you, Christian, everyone wanted her to get an abortion. She refused.”
“Well she probably opened her legs to anything that walked. Were you ashamed she didn’t know which of the hundred men she probably fucked after that was my daddy? Is that why you wanted her to get an abortion, Gran? Typical story of a broken girl. Turn to drugs and fuck everything under the sun.”
“Maybe my father never showed up ’cause your daughter scared him away. I don’t blame him.”
“Stop now, Christian.”
“I’d shake his hand while we piss on her fucking grave…”
“Well then go call Anthony Brooklyn and piss on her grave!”
“Call him, Christian. You can shake his hand before you kill him.”
Christian just stopped himself from saying something he would further regret. His jaw dropped and his eyes widened. “No.” Christian was rapidly shaking his head over and over. “He couldn’t be.”
“It’s true, Christian.”
“Edwin . . . A.C . . .”
“Is your father.”
Christian knelt down beside his bed and placed his head on the mattress, the dark realization sucking the soul from his body.
“Chrissy. You were a product of . . . I mean . . .”
“Get out of my room.”
Christian’s tear-filled eyes darted towards his gran. “Get. Out. Now!”
Gran backed away, turned around and walked out of the room.
Christian was in a trance. The information was registering and he was becoming drunk with hate. He put on a hoodie, a backpack and pulled his gun out of a dresser drawer.
He walked toward the front door of the house with a dark purpose, doing nothing to conceal the gun plainly visible in his hand.
“Chrissy, please!” Gran’s plea fell on deaf ears. He grasped the doorknob.
“Think about what you’re doing,” his gran sobbed. “I lost my little girl to this man. I don’t want to lose my grandson too. Please, baby. I’m begging you.”
Christian paused, his back still to his gran. Her cries temporarily thawed his hardened heart. He dropped his bag and gently placed the gun on the floor beside it.
He walked toward his broken, delicate gran.
“I’m so sorry.” Christian embraced and held her tightly. All the years of buried emotion surfaced. All the hate, anger and sadness were revealed as one. He placed his face on his gran’s shoulder and began to bawl. It started as a whimper and then turned into a howling cry. The little lost boy that hid for so many years inside this now-hardened adult had shown his face. His tears and runny nose soaked his gran’s shoulder while she tightened her grip.
Christian released her, his face was swollen and his eyes bloodshot. “I spent my life hating her.”
“I don’t believe that. I know you loved her.”
“She didn’t know though.”
“Chrissy, she knew.”
“The last thing I told her when she was dying was that I wasn’t going be at her funeral.”
“Was that really the only thing you said, Chrissy?”
“I didn’t think so. Your mother died knowing you loved her. I promise you that.”
Christian, who was now calmer, sat down with his gran. She handed him a tissue.
“I know there are a lot of things you’ve taken in tonight. And I know there is a lot going on in your life right now. Let’s work it all out together. Can we do that?”
“Gran, I need to go to bed.”
“Before you do, I have something to give you.”
Christian’s gran walked back to her room and returned with a little box that looked like a treasure chest. She placed it on the table in front of him.
“I know you felt like she never said goodbye. But she did in a sense. Over the years, since you were a baby, she wrote you letters. She always told me, make sure Christian gets this box if anything ever happens to me.” Gran looked down at the floor and her chin began to quiver. Tears flooded her cheeks.
“I always told her that nothing was going to happen and she can give it to you herself. She was planning on giving them to you when you got older. She always intended on telling you the truth, Chrissy.”
“You didn’t read them, Gran?”
“No. But Chrissy, I’m sorry that all of this—”
Christian took the box and stood up, holding his hand in the air. “Don’t worry, Gran. No more apologies.”
He walked over to the door of his room and turned to her. “Go get some rest.”
Death of Christian
Christian spent two straight hours reading through the contents of the box his mother had left him. It still wasn’t long enough to complete the endless words she put on paper. Words of love that he never knew. He understood her more now. He felt so sorry for all the lost years that he had spent blaming her for everything. For the first time in his life he realized that all the things he had deemed as wrong with her, were not actually her fault. She did the best she could with what she had and the circumstances she had to deal with.
There was no way that he could have known that Edwin, this man who was now a stranger, was the one who stood between him and her. It was this man that was the destruction of their relationship. Ironically, however, without Edwin, none of this would even exist.
It was two in the morning and he stood against the bathroom counter facing himself in the mirror. He held electric clippers firmly in his right hand. He turned them on and hoped the buzzing wouldn’t wake his gran. He scowled at himself as he brought the straight edge of the clippers to his head. With one long stroke across his skull, he watched as his hair dropped into the sink.
After completing his new look, Christian gathered up his things, placing his gun in his bag. He walked toward the front door as quietly as he could. While trying to turn the doorknob without making a sound, he was startled by the lights turning on. His gran stood right behind him.
“Gran, what are you doing up?”
“I know what you’re doing. As much as it breaks my heart, I have to say this. If you walk out that door, then you are walking out of my life forever. I will not see you again.”
Christian stood looking up and down at her, absorbing the moment. It was heart wrenching, being on the verge of losing the one person in the world who genuinely loved him. He walked up to her and gently placed his hand on her face.
“I love you, Gran.”
His gran partially smiled and exhaled. “I love you too.”
“This is for the best. I mean, the best for you. I need to handle things the only way I know how.”
Christian pulled the hood over his newly-shaved head. He placed her car keys on the table.
“Take your car. It’s yours. I won’t be back for a while, so take your time leaving.”
After he closed the door, he could hear his gran scream out to him. Christian did what he felt was best, and ignored it.
Christian took a cab to bring him to the docks. The overcast sky invaded the night and the air flowing off the water became ice cold.
Rain began to fall, pelting Christian and soaking him to the bone. He reached into his bag sitting beside him and pulled out a bottle of whiskey, taking three huge sips as he sped across the rougher than normal waves.
He reached the island and tied up the boat. Before leaving it behind, he turned and looked out over the water. Feeling overwhelmed with a new found love that was birthed by bitter hate. He raised his head and stared up at the sky. Tears mingled with rain began to stream down his face. He held the whiskey bottle up in the air, closed his eyes and mouthed the words: This is for you.
He took one last swig and capped the bottle, tossing it back into the boat where it made a hard landing, but didn’t shatter.
The half-hour walk to the man’s house he once knew as Edwin didn’t feel as long as he expected. Being lost in endless thought had killed a lot of the time. He finally stood in front of the porch and rested his bag on the ground. He pulled out the gun, placed it in the back of his pants, and without hesitation, walked up the stairs. He gently opened the front door without making a peep.
When he entered the house, he crept as silently as he could toward A.C.’s room. The sound his soaked sneakers were making sounded almost deafening to him. He gently pushed open the door of A.C.’s room and flicked on the light. He saw that his empty bed was still made. That was unlike him. Something didn’t seem right. It was almost five in the morning and A.C., or at least the man he knew as Edwin, wasn’t one to be up at odd hours. Christian walked to the living room where the lamp and TV were on, but the TV was on mute.
The floor creaked directly behind him and Christian spun around. He made eye contact with A.C. who was lowering a baseball bat to his side upon realizing it was Christian.
“Dammit kid, what are you doing?”
A.C. walked past Christian toward the couch, turning his back. He threw the bat down and grabbed the remote to turn off the TV. Christian pulled the gun out from the back of his jeans and pointed it directly at A.C.’s head.
“Now tell me, what possessed you . . .” A.C. turned mid-speech, stopping abruptly when he faced the barrel of the gun.
“Who are you?” Christian said.
“What’s going on, kid? Put the gun away. We just spoke about this the other night.”
“Who are you? I’m not asking again.” Christian raised the gun higher and gripped it tighter. His hand was shaking.
“Put it down, son. Just calm down. I don’t know what you’re—”
“Don’t. Fucking. Lie to me!”
A.C. slowly stepped back with his hands partially in the air. He cautiously sat down on the couch at the edge of the seat. “I’m just sitting. I’m not sure what’s up. But we can talk.”
“I know who you are.”
“What did Russ Baxter say about me now?”
“You wanted to do right by mother. You always told me that. It was all just fucking lies.”
“I wasn’t lying to you, son.”
“Tell me who you are . . . Pops!”
“You want to right your wrongs? Before I put this bullet in your head, you got one chance.”
Christian needed to hear the truth come out of A.C.’s mouth.
“Since the day I met you Christian, I saw a lot of me in you—”
“Fuck off! Is that what all you hustlers say? Russ said the same shit. Is that the manipulation? Make a person see themselves in you, so you can own them?”
“You have the gun. You’re the one in control. So can you please just sit down?”
Christian contemplated it for a second, but didn’t take the gun off of A.C. He sidestepped to a single chair that was perpendicular to the couch.
“OK, I’m sitting.”
A.C. looked past the gun right into Christian’s eyes and Christian reciprocated. His weapon wavered a bit, but he caught himself and brought it back up.
“Christian, if you’re going to do this, then all I ask is that you let me explain. Can you give me a moment to speak?”
“It was a long time ago. I did lie about almost everything when it came to the relationship I had with your mom. I don’t know what you heard. But I can tell you know the truth about what happened. It was twenty years ago and I am a different man now. I was heavy into drugs. The stuff warped me. It’s no excuse, but I never hurt a single woman before or after that.”
“You done? Cause I honestly don’t give a fuck.” Christian sat forward and continued to point the weapon.
“Fine, Christian. What do you want to hear? That I’m your father? Fine . . . I’m your father.”
Christian’s head tilted to the side and he did his best to hold back any sort of emotion. He took a deep breath, but didn’t exhale. He knew the answer to the question, but hearing it from A.C. brought up something a whole lot different than when his gran told him.
That brief second those words were spoken, Christian’s gun wavered again and A.C. capitalized on it and quickly drew a weapon from behind him. It must have been buried in the couch cushions. A.C. was obviously prepared for a confrontation with God knows who.
“Drop it, son. Put it on the table.”
Christian was caught dead to rights. His weapon was not aimed at A.C. anymore; rather, there was one now pointing at his head. He had no chance, so he placed his gun on the table.
A.C. retrieved Christian’s gun and placed it down next to him. Christian seethed, mentally kicking himself for not taking care of A.C. when he had the chance.
“You wanna play in this game, son, you can’t let your guard down. This is why you would be dead on the street if you played with the big boys. Not Russ Baxter, mind you, I mean the real big boys.”
“If you’re going to do it, then get it over with,” Christian said.
“Kill you? Do you think I would be capable of killing my own son?”
“You’re my blood. But you’re not my father.”
“Fair enough. But I’m the closest thing you ever had to one.”
“Fuck you. You think death scares me, Anthony? You never left this trade of ours did you?”
“Nope. Not only did I not leave, I’m going to take things to a different level. I’m going to kill your boy Russ Baxter and anyone else I even think was associated with that robbery the other night.”
Christian sat accepting that he was in a lost position.
“Since it’s confession time, I got one for you, Anthony.”
A.C. stood waiting, still pointing the gun at his estranged son.
“Russ wasn’t behind the killing of your little brother. I was. I was able to witness him begging for his pathetic life.”
“Oh son of mine, son of mine, son of mine. I got one for you, too. A doozy. I never knew my parents and never had any siblings. Remember I said I had two sons? Well, you’re one. The man you killed the other night, he was the other.”
Christian thought he had the upper hand in this battle of wits, but A.C. managed to pull another one over him.
“You mean my mother—”
“Not your mother. He was your half-brother. You know what my name is kid? You don’t think I knew what was in those goddamn bags you carried off the boat the other night? I knew exactly what it was. There’s a reason I own every gang on this side of the country. Some of them don’t even know they’re my property. Now get on your knees.”
It all hit Christian hard. The tough non-caring exterior that he wore like armor had finally been penetrated. Fear, an emotion that usually eluded him, set in. And though he had received many answers this night, yet more questions had been raised. He would die never knowing the full story.
Christian knelt down, facing away from A.C.
“Any last words, kid?”
Christian bowed his head and tried his best to hold back his tears.
“You robbed me of my life, Edwin. I looked up to you. I gained a love for you that I never knew. You robbed my mother of her life, too. She loved me and I only showed her hate. Take my life as you did hers . . . Anthony Carter Brooklyn.”
Christian didn’t say another word.
“I’ll take that as a yes. Now turn around.”
Christian hesitated but slowly turned his head. He looked up and A.C wasn’t standing there, rather he had resumed his position on the couch and wasn’t even holding onto the weapon anymore. The two guns were sitting on the table.
Christian stood up, bewildered. This man, his father, was very complicated.
“You wanna survive in this game, son? You have tons to learn, and you won’t learn from Russ Baxter or any of those boys.”
A.C. picked up his gun again. This time he tossed it to Christian who caught it.
Christian popped the cylinder; A.C.’s gun wasn’t even loaded.
“Hear me out now. This is important. I am sorry for what I did to your mother. I’ve done a lot of things in my life. But I don’t know who that man was. That’s the truth, Christian. There isn’t a day that passes that I don’t think about those five nights. I’m not a man of remorse. I’m not a man of regrets. But I do and have always regretted what happened with your mother. I was fond of her, believe it or not. Son, believe me when I say, I’m just so sorry.”
Christian stood still, his lip quivering. A.C. rose to his feet, and this time he grabbed Christian’s loaded gun. He held it in his hands and stared at it.
“If I were around longer, Christian, I would dedicate everything I do to helping you in your mother’s name.”
Christian absorbed the words that meant nothing, when it came from the devil standing in front of him.
“I’ll teach you one lesson before you do what you gotta do. You ever pull a gun on anyone with a purpose, make sure the goddamn safety is off.” A.C. took the safety off and walked over to Christian’s side of the coffee table; he placed the gun down, directly in front of Christian.
Christian picked it up and pointed it at his father. He put his finger on the trigger and put partial pressure on it; it moved back very slightly.
“One last thing,” A.C. said. “Get that hate outta your heart, son. You pull that trigger, boy, don’t do it out of hate for me. Do it out of love for your mother.”
Christian slowly lowered the gun. His eyes were flooded again with tears. He successfully held them back from streaming down his cheeks. He engaged the gun’s safety and tucked the weapon back in his pants.
“I’ll be out of your house in the next month. I don’t want to see or hear from you ever again. And I’m keeping every cent of the money I took. When I do hit the street, I want you to open the ways for me silently. I know your name, now remember mine. I am Christian Xavier Solomon. I was born ’cause my mother was raped and tortured by my father. You can call me Chinny.”
“Chinny. I hated that name since the day I heard it. I don’t care about the money. And keep the house, Chinny. It’s owned by Edwin Steed. He doesn’t even exist.”