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R for Repent
I love my son with all my heart and I know that he loves me too. I also know he will never forgive me if he discovers the truth of what I've done. Of what I've been doing for all these years.
I condemned my own son to Hell in order to save myself.
We all have to live with the choices we make and suffer its consequences. I could argue that it was not my fault, that I was forced into this – in a way, I was –, but that doesn't mean I didn't have a choice: just that I chose the easiest way for me.
My grandfather, Henry Summers, was a wealthy business man who wanted more than what he already had. He met Carson Parker on a boat from Scotland to the United States. Although Parker had the power to found The Centre, he didn't have the first clue of how to run a business. His name was never on any records, but my grandfather was responsible for many of its definitions. If Hell has rules, he has written them.
I've known about The Centre my whole life. I was born there. At the time, they only had ten sub-levels. One more more level than Hell, ironically. My friend Catherine was also born there. We were best friends since always. Neither of us knew the truth – that we weren't born by chance. Our lives had been designed as the means to an end and any illusion of an independent life was just that: an illusion.
Only after they took my sons, a few years after Emily was born, did I discover the whole truth. My grandfather thought he was an intelligent man – and he was –, but his partner Parker had the Devil, or something very close to it, in his pocket. He couldn't be crossed, he couldn't be manipulated. He had sacrificed far too much to allow that to happen.
The scrolls that had given him power beyond belie predicted the founding of The Centre and the birth of my first son. He didn't met my grandfather in that boat by chance. He knew he would be there. He created the circumstances to assure that happened. The prophecies written on the scrolls were not literal, some of it was subject to interpretation. The wrong choice could create a new path, offer a new chance, but in the end that was only a delay. The inevitable would always occur.
If any of it is still true, that's the only expectancy of forgiveness I can hope for. As it is believed that my firstborn son will bring The Centre to the pinnacle of its power, it is also true that he may be the harbinger of its doom. It all depends on who will guide him.
For some time, I believed Catherine's child would be the one to do that. Catherine told me how her Madelyn and Jarod were the best of friends. She wasn't naive enough to believe he had been abandoned by his parents like she was told, but she had no idea that he was my son. At the time I was distancing myself from The Centre, waiting for an opportunity to present itself – too scared to go against Carson.
To this day I still don't know how she discovered who Jarod was. Whether I somehow let it slip, or someone told her, as soon as she tried to do something about it, they put an end to it. I heard many rumors about her faking her death, but I have trouble believing she would do that to her own daughter.
I knew Catherine. Both as a mother and as a person, she was twice the woman I could ever hope to be. I know she would not abandon her daughter on that hell. Not even IF she only had that option.
It was my own mother who told what I had to choose. I could deliver them my son on my own free will and be on my way, or I could challenge them, getting me and my husband killed, and still have Jarod taken from us. She told me this in a quite casual manner, as if she was referring to a recipe book or something as trivial. By then, my grandfather knew who Carson Parker really was and what he was capable of. If he said he wanted my son, nothing would prevent him from doing exactly that.
At the time, few people knew he was still alive. As far as I know, both his sons believed him to be dead. In fact, I don't think they had no idea about their relationship at all. I wish I could feel sorry for them, but I can't. Like their father before them, they brought nothing but pain and suffering to my family.
When I look back to the day when I made my choice, I can't stop wondering if I made the right one. Hand over my own son or die trying to hopelessly avoid it?
I chose my son. I chose Jarod. I would die before I allowed for him to be taken from me.
I was about six months pregnant when I told Charles we needed to move. Fast. He was the impulsive one, not me; yet, as soon as he heard me, he was ready to go. He didn't ask me why, but I told him anyway. Not the entire story, just enough for him to understand the urgency of the situation.
Jarod was born two months later. Charles insisted that we went to a hospital, but I refused. I knew my grandfather would be watching them. I'm glad he agreed with me. To this day, I'll never forget the look of happiness on Charles' face as he helped bring his own son into this world.
A year and a half later, I discovered I was once again pregnant. We didn't plan for it, but we welcomed that child with all the love we had. Even though I couldn't stop worrying about what could happen if The Centre somehow found out about this. I spent the better part of my second pregnancy always expecting to have my house barged in by sweepers.
It never happened. And because of that, I allowed myself to be careless and go to a hospital so that I could give birth to Kyle. Not that I had a choice. Unlike Jarod, Kyle's pregnancy was a troubled one. I had no doubt that, without professional medical assistance, he would not have made it. And neither would I. There wasn't any other choice. If I wanted Jarod to have a baby brother, I had to take that chance.
As soon as I was good enough to travel, we moved to another town. We stayed there for a week before moving again. We spent the next year and a half living like that. It was by then that I told Charles a little more of the truth I'd been keeping from him. Not all of it. There were things I still didn't know, things that he didn't need to know. His reaction was understandably furious. It nearly shattered our marriage, but we managed to overcome it. Having that weight out of my conscience, with the shadow of The Centre no longer above our heads, we settled down on a quiet town outside Harrigton.
I worried about the dangerous proximity to Blue Cove and The Centre, but Charles assured me they would never consider looking for us there – so close to the lions' den.
We can only prolong the inevitable. We cannot avoid it.
One fateful night, as we were about to tuck the boys in, two teams of sweepers broke in. Charles was knocked out cold before he had a chance to do anything. I fought hard, but not hard enough. I cried, I beg, all to no avail.
A tall man with evil eyes – later on, I'd know him to be one of Carson's sons – took Kyle from my arms and left without uttering a word. Another one held Jarod in a gentle, almost soothing way. He spoke to me with a distinct European accent. “I promise we will take good care of him.”
I slapped him hard. Then, my world went black.
And it never ceased to be.
This story has been on my mind for a long time, but I didn't have the right words to put it on paper. After the Pretender movies and all that talk about prophecies and Catherine and Margaret knowing each other, I began to wonder how deep Margaret's connections to The Centre could be.
How did you like it?