Second stage of grief

railroad crossing warning lights

More of Andrew’s story

The second stage of grief is anger, and that is where Andrew lingered, unable to work his way toward acceptance. Having lost the two people he loved most in a heinous, and still unsolved, murder, Andrew depended on that anger to get him through his day, subsisting on the emotion as much as food and water.

He wasn’t angry at his daughter, Ashley, for neglecting her car to the point it’s battery lost its charge, forcing her to find other means to get to her summer job. He wasn’t angry at his immature wife, Annalise, for agreeing to give Ashley a ride to work despite their contentious relationship. He wasn’t even angry with himself for his role in their deaths.

His anger was directed, with laser focus, solely at those responsible for the horrifying devastation of his family. Over the years, he had spent many nights plotting revenge, concocting torturous ways he would inflict the greatest pain. Their pleas for mercy invoking no remorse from him for their suffering.

Andrew sat in a private rail car, a newspaper laying casually on the seat beside him, folded to a crossword puzzle neatly completed in black ink. His classic navy suit, pressed and custom tailored, served to camouflage him amidst the other morning passengers. Had any of his regular spectators boarded the train, they would have overlooked a man wearing the customary uniform of business commuters. With his wild, white hair closely cropped, his beard shaved, and his broken and gnawed nails trimmed and highly polished, Andrew was unrecognizable.

Even to anyone who knew him Before his downfall, he was a stranger. Time and heartache aged him, etching deep arroyos around his eyes and across his brow. Andrew counted on returning to his hometown in obscurity. He had business to attended to, people to see, and he needed to attended to matters without distraction or detection.

Watching the scenery flash by as the train sped towards the city, Andrew withdrew a childish trinket from his pocket. It was the key to his revenge. Passed to him by a street-corner clairvoyant, it was a clear message from his past. A past he hadn’t visited in nearly two decades. A past he was racing towards with vengeance.

This week’s Studio30 Plus: “Penitence” and/or “Remorse

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