Redemption

Redemption

A Story by NoblePariah
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A story of redemption.

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     James felt warmth flow through his veins, spreading across the entirety of his body as he sunk into the couch with a sigh of euphoria. He took the needle from his arm and undid the rubber elastic band above his elbow, throwing his tools on the table as he moved to lay across the couch. His body was numb, but he felt good, it always felt good.

      It had begun when one of his had died in a car accident four years earlier, when a car he had been driving lost control and slammed into a telephone pole. He turned to it then, easing the pain of her death, but it carried him through his divorce, and the judge awarding custody of his other daughter to his wife. He cared about none of that now, heroine and the need for it had replaced all the negative feelings he had.

       He sat there, starring at the ceiling, letting his eyes sway from spot to spot, while his head tilted to some imaginary music, for hours. The sun eventually set, leaving him lying in the dark. He did not stir to turn on the light, he simply watched the ceiling in his hazed stupor.

      He began to hear a slight tapping noise from some distant, far away place. It began to grow louder and louder, demanding his attention, eventually being joined by a man's voice saying, “Mr. Clement? This is the police, it's about your family.”

      This registered somewhere in the depths of his mind and panic began to grip at him. He couldn't let them take away his medicine, he needed it. He had to hide it. He stood and collected his paraphernalia, throwing it into a chest in his bedroom before shakily making his way over to the door.

      He opened it, seeing two uniformed officers standing in the hallway. His heart raced, but he simply asked, “what?”

      “Sir, I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but your ex-wife has passed on. She lost her battle with cancer today, and as Helena's biological father, we have to notify you that she is going to be put in foster care.”

      Suddenly, the fog lifted slightly as he felt a mix of emotions from somewhere he had forgotten even existed. His wife dying struck him, though he he felt only slight regret in the state he was in. Somehow, the thought of his daughter put into the foster system like he was, made it past the lairs of uncertainty and made him ask, “can't she come live with me?”

     The two officers looked at each other for a moment, exchanging a silent, judgmental glace. The one on the left said, “sir, you have been deemed by the courts to be an unfit parent, we cannot give you custody of Helena at this time.”

      He stopped for a moment as his head spun. “What if I can change? What if I can prove it?”

      “Sir, you'd only have two months, you'd have to get employed, pass a drug test, and get your daughter to agree that living with you is what she wants. Not to mention convince a judge that you've got what it takes to be a father; if you'll forgive me, I don't think anyone could do something like that.”

      They talked for a few more minutes, before James told them that he would officially declare his decision the next morning. He walked into his room, sat on his bed, and took out the tools he had used to shoot up earlier, and lined them up on his bed. He then took out his wallet, taking out the portraits of his daughters and his wife and laying them out next to the needles and heroine. He picked up the picture of Helena with his right hand, and one of the hypodermic needles with his left.

      He walked into the bathroom, his head finally beginning to clear as he placed the two objects on adjacent sides of the sink. He looked up at his reflected image in the mirror, studying himself, as he tried to find the answer in his eyes, which were gaunt and sunken into their sockets. His hair was short and shaggy, and his neck veins bulged. What he saw looking back at him was a shadow of the man he had been, a whisper of the man that had died in the car accident with his daughter.

     He walked back into the bedroom, and picked up the bag of heroine before returning to the bathroom. He placed the bag behind the faucet, then he moved the trash barrel so that it was right next to the sink. Again he picked up the picture in one hand, and the drugs in the other. He smiled slightly as he stared into Helena's big blue eyes, past the hair she never seemed to comb. He slipped the picture into his pocket, then he threw the syringes into the trash, and flushed the heroine down the toilet. He officially had a chance at redemption and he would not falter in his determination.

�" �" �" �"

      “Mr. Clement, in the past two months, you have managed to pass a drug test, find a full time job as a journalist, and move residencies. I remember the man I saw before me in the custody battle between your late wife and yourself... and I see a different man before me. Regardless of the outcome of today's hearing, you should be proud; it is a thing not many can claim,” the judge said, looking through his glasses at James.

      “Thank you, Judge. I had the best motivation that a man can get,” James replied looking back at Helena in the stands. She beamed back and gave him a thumbs up.

      It had not been easy for him by any means; he had been sent to the hospital from withdrawal symptoms twice due to his quitting cold turkey, but the smile she gave him made it entirely worth it. He had moved, simply because his drug dealer, Paul, had lived across the hall and he didn't want the temptation. He had even begged his old boss for his job back, explaining the situation to the surely man had not been easy, but he had done it for her.

      To James this was his time to show why he had done it, to show Helena that he knew he had been wrong, and to hopefully make his ex wife proud and late daughter proud from where they watched above. The six hour case felt like years as character witnesses kept on testifying, so far he felt assured of his success. Helena's testimony sounded too beautiful for a ten year old to say, and her forgiveness and understanding turned James to weeping openly.

      Finally, the verdict came out and the judge said, “in light of his accomplishments, this court awards full custody of Helena Clement, to Mr. James Clement, on the condition that he consents to drug testing and checkups to be done with both parties, by a court official. Do you accept these terms and responsibilities, Mr. Clement?”

      James had to brace himself by putting his hands on the table, before saying, “Of coarse I accept!” Tears began to stream down his face as he continued, “thank you, judge. I blamed myself for my daughters death, and it led me down a dark road. I am ashamed that I failed in my responsibilities as a husband and a father for so long. Helena was and is my light at the end of the tunnel, and I will never let her down again; you will not regret this decision.”

      The judge nodded and Helena ran from the benches to give her father a massive bear hug. They stood there, both tearfully grateful that their family had the chance to stay together. Once the mountainous stack of paperwork had been completed, James asked, “ice cream to celebrate?”

      Helena nodded enthusiastically and they left the court. The sun was beginning to set as they walked towards the nearest Ben and Jerry's. They talked animatedly about all the things James had missed, and they cried together at the things they had lost.

      James noticed that they had passed his old apartment and he smiled at his accomplishments since then. He looked down at Helena and smiled as they passed an alleyway next to the building.

      Suddenly a loud series of bangs made him look down the alley as he saw Paul, his old drug dealer, his back to them and another man that had been facing Paul. Paul fell to his knees and collapsed as blood began to form at several spots on his back. He had been shot.

      James scooped Helena into his arms and began running as fast as he could away from the gunfire, terrified for his daughter. He noticed a tingling sensation in his left leg. As they rounded a corner to another block, James realized that Helena was not screaming or even asking him what was going on.

      He stopped, looking down at her as he realized that her white dress was now turning red with a spreading pool right over her heart and one in the center of her stomach. She was not moving.

      Horror began to overtake James as he fell to his knees and laid her onto the ground, trying to keep pressure on the overflowing wound. No! No! This can't be real, he thought. “Somebody help me!! My little girl's been shot!!” He kept one hand on the wound as he dug his phone out of his pocket with the other. He dialed 911, leaving bloody prints on the buttons of his phone.

      “911 what is your emergency?”

      He tried to get the words out to the operator and show her how urgent it was when he wailed, “MY LITTLE GIRL'S BEEN SHOT!”

      “Ok, I need you to keep calm and tell me where you are.”

      “I'm on the corner of Lance st. and Crescent Ave. hurry, she's not moving!!”

      “Help is on the way sir, keep pressure on her wound and apply CPR if you know how.”

      James hung up the phone, trying to move closer to Helena, he realized that he had been shot twice in his left leg and once in the hip area. It didn't matter, all that mattered was saving Helena. He tried giving her CPR but only blood came up when he gave her breath. After 10 minutes he simply gave up and held her as he curled into a ball, moaning over and over, “not her! Not my Helena too!”

      It was that day that James lost everything that he had left, the day that should have been his most triumphant. His grief of that day never left him, yet for Helena, he never turned back to the needle.

© 2013 NoblePariah


Author's Note

NoblePariah
This is a first draft, I know it likely needs editing, and I plan on extending a couple parts, but what do you think? Any opinions welcome.

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Reviews

Hello! You recently entered this piece into my contest "What is your most powerful story," and I wanted you to know that you are a finalist! I don't know if you are going to be one of the TOP finalists (I wish I could choose more than three now!) but I wanted you to know that out of 60 people you are one of the top 12 (that means that you're REALLY good)! Congratulations!

PS. This story made me tear up. Thank you so much for submitting this. I loved it!

Posted 6 Years Ago


Imelda Blackheart

6 Years Ago

Ah, dang it! I REALLY need to have four awards next time. Well, you made it to the top four! Congrat.. read more
NoblePariah

6 Years Ago

Thank you very much! I'm gratified that you enjoyed this story, and the fact that this would've been.. read more
Imelda Blackheart

6 Years Ago

Oh, that's right! That had completely slipped my mind! I guess that means you might have gotten TWO .. read more
I think it's very good. I can see that you do need to edit it.
I beieve you spell this drug without the e on the end.

Posted 6 Years Ago


NoblePariah

6 Years Ago

Thank you, I'm not sure how I missed that, but I'll definitely go over this with a fine comb, there'.. read more

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Added on May 6, 2013
Last Updated on May 6, 2013
Tags: sad, tragic, loss, drugs, heroine

Author

NoblePariah
NoblePariah

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I am a writer trying to better myself in the craft. I'm 22 and in college, pursuing a degree in creative writing. Please don't add me and send me a read request without reviewing a piece of my work. .. more..

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Harmonicas Harmonicas

A Story by NoblePariah