On a cold night, the heavy rain soaks Sobecky’s clothes as he stands in front of the grocery store, or what is left of it. The shop is a desolate scenario, everything destroyed, from the doors to the shelves. Food scattered all over the place. And, in the middle of this chaos, two corpses in a lake of blood.
“What happened here?” says Sobecky.
“What happened, you ask. Hell happened,” answers a voice coming from behind him.
“Who are you?” says Sobecky, turning to face the stranger.
“Just an old man. I’ve lived on this street for years.”
Sobecky stares at the old man, studying him from head to toe. The old man is wearing ragged clothes and as old as he is and looks weak and tired. However, amid a dirty body, eyes sparkle with intelligence. "Did you see what happened here?"
“Unfortunately, yes. I saw everything.” The old man pauses and looks Sobecky in the eye. "But before I tell you, I want to hear your story."
“It will only make you hate me,” says Sobecky.
“Doesn’t matter. I want to know how you’re related to this tragedy.”
Sobecky sighs and looks up, raindrops hitting his face. “Okay… You will have your story.” He looks to the old man and says, “First, I’m from the police, and I work in the homicide sector. We found corpses all around the city with signs of torture and some even of rape. But the worst is that all of them were children.”
“I heard about it. Sick bastard,” the old man says, shaking his head.
“For months, the psycho left no clues. And we weren’t making progress. Until he makes one mistake,” Sobecky says, raising his index finger. “We found his car, right here, in front of this grocery shop.” He points to a spot under a light pole, the marks of wheels still can be seen.
“And he left a clue inside of it,” concludes the old man.
“Yes. He left a strand of hair.”
“You got him.”
“That’s what I thought too. But it didn’t work well.”
“And why not?”
“Because that strand was from Ronald Travan’s son, Ivo.”
“The billionaire…” says the old man with wide eyes.
“Yes, the most powerful man in the country. I don’t need to say that he has many friends, including in the police, right?”
“Yep. What did you do after this discovery?”
“A man in a suit came to me, someone from the office that I had never seen before. And he made a proposition…” Sobecky answers, staring at the ground, his breath becoming heavier.
“If I stopped the investigation, they would pay me the amount I wanted to. But if I refused, they would go after my family. I don’t have to say what I chose, do I?” he says with a sad smile, tears mixing with the rain falling down his face. “But that isn’t the worst. We needed a culprit, so we blamed the grocery shop owner.”
“And why him?”
"According to the suited man, he was the perfect scapegoat. He’s immigrant, Latin, and can’t afford a good lawyer. The people would easily believe in it.”
“You destroyed an innocent man’s life to protect yourself and that rich bastard,” the old says with frowning brows and crossing his arms.
“What was I supposed to do?” says Sobe. The image of her wife and son on their last vacation at the beach comes to his mind. And then this image got dark, and he sees Mr. Travan’s smiling and saying,I’d rather be the Devil than let my son be arrested. And you don’t want your family to meet the Devil, do you? His hands tremble, his breath gets heavier, his eyes fill with tears. He closes his eyes and puts his hands on his face to calm himself down.
“The right thing,” says the old man.
“I had no choice.”
“Keep lying to yourself. It won’t ease the burden of your fault. When I tell you what happened here, you’ll understand,” the old man says, putting a finger in Sobe’s face. “As you might know, this case had nurtured a strong feeling of hate and revenge in the population. So, after Mr. Rodriguez was arrested, they wanted more, they wanted revenge. Then, one night they came and destroyed the shop, not satisfied they invaded Mr. Rodriguez's house upstairs. They dragged his wife and son and beat them to death, under screams of ‘slag’, ‘monsters’, and ‘you should never had left you shitty country’. The police never came.”
Sobecky falls on his knees, trembling and screams as loud as he can, a scream of pain capable of breaking the heart of even the coldest of men. Tears fall as he looks to those bodies. “What have I done?” he says, punching the ground. But it would be my family instead of his. He punches himself. What am I thinking? Innocent people died in a horrible way because of me. But I can’t go against Mr. Travan, or my family will be next. He looks to the old man, tears still falling, his voice failing, and says, “Old man, what should I do?”
“That’s something you should figure out on your own.”
“I see… Thanks for listening to this pitiful sinner,” says Sobecky with a sad smile. “You can go now.”
“Alright. Good night, kid.” The old man leaves, and after a few steps, he hears a gunshot. He stops and looks behind, and now there are three corpses and the blood mixed with rain falls down the street. He sighs and continues his path, holding another secret of that street that no one else will ever hear about but the old Amon.