Such a shame, a brilliant mind like that. So sad he’ll never talk again. What a grand life he led, full of promise – until the accident. Damn fools. All of them. Accident indeed! Had but one of them truly paid attention, he would have known that nothing I do is by chance, just as I choose my silence now. If only one of them proved worthy of my words, I would speak. But I have you loyal little fellas now. You listen, don’t judge, understand. Morning Jenkins, Orville, Maximus.
The weathered gnomes – now almost completely shrouded by the onslaught of weeds – do not move. I stroke Orville’s once snow-white beard: top to bottom, gently, slowly, over and over. Still he does not move, but I hear his words: “You are wise to trick them,” he whispers. “They do not love you either.” Jenkins and Maximus cheer on.
“I know, I know,” I reply, shaking my head vigorously, an unsuccessful stab at erasing the images. Had I really believed otherwise at some point? Madeline did seem genuine at first. Love, careers, money, a baby on the way; I thought we had everything. Madeline had played the façade well for the longest time; I’ll give her that much credit. How could she have done that to me, to us?
“It’s not your child,” she had spat at me, “and I’m glad for that. I don’t love you anymore, Matthew, haven’t for years. I’ve filed for divorce so I can be with Julian now. He’s the one I love; he’s the father of my baby.”
Dr. Julian Cain, King of Traitors. We struggled through med school together, ran a joint pediatric practice. Heck, he even stood beside me as best man at my wedding. And all the time he was screwing my wife.
“They think I’m crazy now, guys,” I laugh. Jenkins, Orville and Maximus stare solemnly ahead. “They’re the crazy ones. My car didn’t slip in the snow – I rammed into that Mercedes on purpose, watched it roll, over and over to the edge of the road and off the cliff. Bye, bye, Madeline. Bye, bye Julian . ”
Jenkins blinks and I brush the decaying leaves off his spotted hat. “I knew you would all understand,” I smile. “It had to be done. I had to have the last word.” I chuckle at my own inadvertent joke. “They think the shock of the so-called accident banished my mind along with my speech. Huh! If they knew the sharpness of my intellect they would surely fear me. And so they should, locking me away in this dungeon filled with imbeciles. If it weren’t for the three of you, I just might truly lose my mind, but then I wouldn’t be able to plan my revenge, would I? And that my friends would be the real tragedy.”
Darn: footsteps. “If I could don a pointed red cap and white beard, my peace in your paradise might prevail, undisturbed, forever,” I sigh, “but I can’t, so I must abscond before they find me. Until later, my merry men.”