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What Might Have Been

What Might Have Been

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Published by Matthew Trask
A duo of robbers commit a home invasion on a man who's past and future are infused with secrets.
A duo of robbers commit a home invasion on a man who's past and future are infused with secrets.

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Published by: Matthew Trask on Oct 19, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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What might have been?
“Time past and time future
 What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.”
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartels
Tom had always gained more from them than I had. I don’t mean financially, we
split everything equally, I mean psychologically. We both went in with the sameprimary goal: to make money. But behind his eyes I could see greater games at play.Why should this be any different?He stood to the left of the door, bat in hand. A horrific skull mask we hadmodified with some black and grey paint from Wal-Mart obscured his face. Myface was hid beneath a simpler black, balaclava that Tom had insisted I brandwith some identity. I stood, hunched over, waiting with baited breath.Tom slammed his bat against the bottom of the door and then pulled back. I saw
it, under the mask, the deep, psychotic grin. He couldn’t wait.
 Then, after mere moments, a light flickered on. The small, semi-circular windowabove the old, oak door became a glow with a pale white light.
“Hello?” exclaimed a low toned voice from behind the door.
“Please sir! We need help, my friend has had an accident” responded Tom, gleeful
like a child playing his favorite game.
“I’m sorry, I’ll call the police for you now!” the man said hesitantly.
 Tom loved this part.
“Now that just won’t do.”
We’d try our best to avoid signs of forced entry, but sometimes they had more
sense and we had no choice. So with a swift flick of his bat and a thrust of his leg,the door crashed open and we were inside. The man tumbled to the floor,surrounded by shards of broken wood. In shock he looked up at us, no words tobreak the silence that followed.
“We are the devil! We have come to do his work!” shouted Tom with a sarcastic
and anarchic tone.
He then brought his bat, full force to the mans knee, crunching the bone beneathhis wrinkled and pale skin. He wore a brown nightgown and must have been inhis late sixties. Either way, what Tom was about to do to him was made all themore brutal.He danced around the man like a child at the may pole, as he sat there wrought with terror. He looked at me, his face a wash with horror, as if hell had just entered his peaceful country life. He let out an extreme cry of pain as Tom,poised and ready, cracked and splintered his other knee.
“Dance away, I dare you!” taunted Tom as he continued to
hop, skip and jumparound the small hallway and into the living room of the house.He danced back into the hall and looked at me, smiling again beneath his mask Iam sure. His joy was palpable, but I could only feel disgust. He dragged the man,screaming and writhing in pain, by the ankles into the living room.
“We’re eating like kings for the next month my friend ol’ chap!” added Tom,
adopting a faux cockney accent.He threw the man onto the sofa and proceeded to smash the clocks, ornamentsand glassware on every surface. The room was dark. The sound of broken glass,though more welcome than broken bones, still sent chills down my spine. Iremember studying Crystal Nacht in school. The night of the broken glass. Thiswas it.
“Where ye’ be keepin’ the valuables then?” said Tom with the same forced
cockney accent.The man, scrambling for words, pointed to a door leading onto another small anddark corridor.
“Office” he said, shaking nervously.
So towards the office the man was dragged, once more by his legs, screaminglouder as Tom shrieked with delight.Then we went to work. The man, tears forming in his eyes, looked at us as weransacked his office. First his desk draws;
often they’re a good source of 
expensive effects. Instead of asking for a key to the top, locked, draw, Tomsmashed at the surface of the desk until it clicked open. With each bang of thesmooth, mahogany surface both myself and the man shuddered. I tried to ignoremy surroundings and to concentrate on searching for anything with any value
but I couldn’t shake the unmistakable glare of the man. His eyes pleaded
for meto stop and help him, for me to apologize. Its as if he too saw through our masksand saw who we really were. Under my mask he saw, regret, pain and contempt.
Then my train of thought was broken by silence. Silence is strange when aroundTom. He is often accompanied by a symphony of noise, but something had caught his attention.
January 18
2043, I am, as of yet, unsure as to the distance I shall traverse untilI fall upon the contraption I
so desire,” spoke Tom
. The words were too refinedand archaic to be his own.I placed the silver snow globe, I held, back onto the mantle where I found it andturned to look at Tom. In his hands he held a book. Bound in worn, enfeebledbrown leather, the book was a diary. On its front a gold inscription was barelyvisible.
The Diary of Harold Gordon Mitchel, circa 1614 - 2050.
“Despite my best efforts
I couldn’t place its whereabouts. It was in doing this, I
happened across a great building. Its doors great arches and its floor a clean whitemarble. Above the door lay a clean chiselled word. Heaven
” continued Tom getting
more drawn in by each word.
“What is this?” he queried dropping the book to his side with his thumb resting
intently between the pages.
“Its my diary,” responded the old man, barely able to croak the words with his
raspy voice.
“Don’t bullshit me old man, what is this and how much is
it worth!” barked Tom
growing angry, our shared motive once more surfaced.I stood, again a bystander to this display of hate, though no innocence is foundresting by my side. I am as guilty as the worst man, destined for a certain circle of hell that I am not yet sure of.
“It holds no financial value…but in knowledge…its invaluable” he added,
adjusting his body into a more comfortable slouch.His voice was that of an old English man. Seasoned with wisdom and pepperedwith intellect. He was a genius I am sure.Tom brought back a cacophony of noise when he lifted his bat and smashed openthe glass doored bookshelf to his left. He took out a set of dusty encyclopediasand stuffed them into a black bag he took from his pocket. He tried to faininterest in the task at hand but a mix between anger and curiosity compelled himto read on.He flicked through the pages of the diary until something caught his eye. Hisexpression became smug as he bent the spine back as if ready to read somethingwith great satisfaction.

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