"Jack"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
Jack is a short story of the choices we make and how our morals effect our future.

Submitted: January 10, 2013

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Submitted: January 10, 2013

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“Jack”

“Why did they have to be black?” Jack thought as he stared at the closed circuit camera monitor. He had just installed it last month and at relatively low cost. His frugality was a point of pride for him and he felt bittersweet about that now as he watched criminals rummaging through his living room.

Jack sat huddled in his secret safe room built in the upstairs of his three-floored house. Three black men in oversized hoodies strode through his home after kicking in the back door. They were filling their pockets with small valuables, rummaging through drawers and opening cabinets in the hope of finding a big score.

 Jack waited. He could see all throughout the house on his computer and that fact made him feel more in control. A false sense of safety dripped into Jack’s mind as he warned himself not to get cocky. He thought very deep about his next move.

 “I could call the police,” Jack said audibly to the empty room, “or I can take the shotgun out of the gun safe and deal with them myself.” The truth of that last statement made Jack’s already present adrenaline rush spike. The violence of that idea pounded through his mind. He recalled conversations with his neighbor, Dave, of gun control and the second amendment.  They were both proud men and proud gun owners. Jack’s reasoning for owning guns was justified almost solely in the thought of finding himself in just this sort of predicament. 

Jack made up his mind. Picking up the phone in the small room, his finger dialed 911. It was pleasantly surreal to Jack as he had only ever dialed 911 once before, when he was a boy he came upon smoke in a wooded area by his house.  His mom was not home so he did the only thing he knew to do.

The thought now however, echoing in Jack’s mind was, “I have two options. I am not a boy anymore I am a man and I want this.”

If Jack had more time and was more relaxed his thoughts would have drifted to the state of his heart. How did he become a man who wanted the violent end to his intruders? How did he change so?  When he was a teenager he was proud of the fact that he didn’t need revenge. He could forgive bullies and genuinely did not want to see them come to harm, unlike his friends did at school.  Jack was a bit different in that sense and he contributed that to his Christian upbringing. Themes of forgiveness and mercy filled his teenage mind as his dad delivered sermons in the small Baptist church where he grew up. He loved listening to his dad preach. His dad was not too strict at home with Jack, but not too lenient either. Jack’s dad was proud of the way he turned out. That was until he died when Jack was 21. Jack’s father was visiting an inmate at the local state prison when an escape attempt took place and he was caught up in the action. He was taken as a hostage and in the end was stabbed in the kidney and chest multiple times. The prisoner was given an extra life sentence but to Jack that was far from justice. Jack’s ideas of mercy and forgiveness began to warp after that dark time in his life. Thoughts of the prisoner getting attacked by other inmates in various scenarios used to fill his mind and sometimes still did. He used to reprimand the fantasies. Jack would remember how his dad would teach out of Proverbs at the dinner table. He made Jack memorize Proverbs 1:16 “My son, do not walk in the way of the fool, nor be like them for their feet run to evil. And they make haste to shed blood.”

Justice was a farce to Jack now. There was no real justice anymore. So much of that life was now missing and the man Jack had become was a far cry to the hopeful youth he had been. Jack sometimes thought fondly of that past life. He reasoned however, that as a man he must put childish ideas away. The world is not a pretty place. It is indeed quite grim.

However, the idea of the two options echoed in his mind. Get the police here or deal with the problem myself. “This is my house.” Jack thought finally. “I’m going to take matters into my own hands.”

“911, what’s your emergency?” The pleasant female voice on the other end of the phone asked him.

With a click Jack hung up the phone.

Jack watched the monitor a moment longer, formulating a strategy. On the screen, Jack saw that one of the thieves was picking up a wooden box, ornately carved, off his fireplace mantle. The box, small and beautiful, was very special to Jack. His father had carved it himself and inside the box lived two gold rings, one was his high school class ring that his parents had gifted him one year for his birthday. The other ring was his dad’s wedding ring. He had never seen him without it on and the ring was as much a part of his dad’s body as any other fond feature. Jack had been the one to decide not to have him buried with it in the hopes that it may make a nice keepsake to remember him by. Now that keepsake was being molested by the thieving hands of a low-life greedy criminal.

Jack stood up. Without a thought he walked over to the door and unbolted it. As quietly as possible, he slowly opened the door and seeing no one, walked down the hallway to his bedroom.  Jack was thankful that he was wearing slippers as they muffled his footsteps as he stepped across the hardwood floor of the hallway. Jack found the bedroom door open slightly. He tried to remember if he had opened it or if the intruders did. He was mad at himself for not taking longer to look at the monitors to see where the intruders were.  He thought of going back and then decided to get it all over with as quickly as possible.

He flashed his head inside the room and seeing no one, he moved the door aside and entered. He walked across to his gun safe in the closet. And recalling the combination spun the dial to the correct numbers. With a soft click, the safe swung open. Jack grabbed the largest gun in the safe, a twelve gauge shotgun. Reaching up on the shelf, he grabbed a handful of shells. In his haste, a few went tumbling to the floor and Jack suddenly became painfully aware of the sound they made. Jack squatted down and hurriedly recovered the dropped shells and began loading his gun. After putting several in the weapon, he stood up.

As he walked toward the bedroom door, his mind became hazy and he was almost dizzy as the thought of what he was doing hit him hard. He noticed how shallow he was breathing and made himself focus. “If I am going to do this I am going to do it right,” he thought to himself, and swallowing his fear he focused himself. He was suddenly much more confident. He was the one with the gun. He was the one with the power and as he began walking down the stairs he slowly cocked his gun, chambering a shell.

He made a beeline for the first floor living room, determination in his blue steel eyes. As he walked down the stairs, he was dead quiet. As he passed the front door to the house he thought of how quickly he could leave, flee, leave it all behind and it would all be over. A longing to be safe swelled up in Jack, but he knew this was just the fear talking. He steeled himself and setting one foot in front of the other he crept towards the living room where his target was last seen on the monitor. As he did so, another feeling crept inside Jack’s heart—a desire for power, control. He had to do this. He was perfectly justified. This was his home, his possessions and he would rightfully kill to defend it, or so he thought.  

Jack looked and listened. The living room was empty and a noise of clanking drawers came from somewhere far off. Jack peered around the corner into the kitchen. He saw the back door with the trim hanging off the sliding lock on the door from where it had been kicked in and to his eerie delight saw the thief looking through cabinets in the kitchen, his back towards Jack and Jack’s gun.

Without thinking of what he was doing, Jack lifted the shot gun and leveled it at the thief’s back. Pulling the trigger, Jack, in this surreal moment, heard no noise. As the thief fell, Jack was suddenly aware of the mess he had made. Blood was all over his nice countertop and was pooling underneath the criminal’s body as he lay motionless on the kitchen floor.

“What did you do?” yelled a voice from the stairway.

 Jack looked over and seeing another intruder leveled the gun at him. Jack walked over to him and barked, “Get on the ground!” The thief did so. He was a young man, probably eighteen, Jack thought.

“Sit on the couch.” Jack yelled.  “This is my house! You shouldn’t be here!” The thief moved through the living room and sat down. Jack looked around for the phone. His heart was racing. The emotions of anger and fear were pouring through him like water. A tumult was rising and he knew he had to relax if he was going to remain in control of the situation.

Seeing the phone on the coffee table Jack reached for it with his right hand while holding the shotgun by the grip upright with his left. As Jack began to dial 911 again he was suddenly doubled over. The force of the bullets ripping through Jacks chest made him fall behind the coffee table. Feeling nothing but panic Jack tried to get up. He couldn’t. As he floundered, he caught sight of a figure on the stairway. The man on the couch realized his chance to escape, jumped up and ran towards the door.

“Run, Donnie!” the thief said to the figure on the stairs. The two ran out with a blur.

Jack stayed bent over on the floor. His mind was weighing his options. Finish dialing 911, or crawl out the door and yell for help. His hand reached for the phone. As he began to dial Jack felt his life spilling out onto the white wool carpet around him. He knew he wouldn’t have time to wait for the ambulance.  He put the phone to his ear.

“911 what’s your emer….”

As the last of his life left him, Jack suddenly had a very clear thought. He was a kid again at his dining room table. Everything about the vision was so right—items in their correct place as if he never left the childhood home that he loved. His dad was seated at the head of the table with a Bible in front of him, he was reading to Jack out of that familiar book.

“My son, do not walk in the way of the fool, nor be like them for their feet run to evil. And they make haste to shed blood.”


© Copyright 2019 Rev Matt. All rights reserved.

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