by Arthur L. Sweetwood
Twenty-five years to the day he discovered his powers, Max kneels at his mother’s grave between a candle-topped cupcake and rusty gaff hook. His chin trembles as years of trauma surface at once.
His father growing distant months after reuniting the family in guilt. His mother’s face aging as she slowly died alone and heartbroken.
“You knew who he was. Why didn’t you just go to Boston, Mom?” Violent sobs rattle his prostrate frame.
Fletcher Reede, a degenerate narcissist and compulsive liar, abandoned Max and his mother for a partnership in Manhattan’s premier law firm across the country. The catalyst to him becoming the most powerful and evil man in the world.
“It’s time,” urges a voice nearby.
“Yes, Jerry. It is.”
Max gathers his belongings and stands. “I love you, Mom,” he whispers. “You never miss a birthday.”
He stares trance-like into the cupcake before delivering a crushing bite, candle and all.
Jerry nods. “What did you wish for?”
“My father never lies again.”
Turning to the gravestone, Jerry tips his hat. Max blows a kiss to his mother, inhales deeply as he adjusts his grip on the hook, then looks eastward.
“Let’s get the son of a bitch.”
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