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Beyond Redemption (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
I'm leaving this here in the hopes of getting some critique, and in the meantime looking over some of the other pieces here to review.

This is a short story I wrote around 2 years ago for English, and it's been edited for improvement over that timespan. Tell me what you think.

Beyond Redemption

"Land the plane now, Callaway!" Matt Carlyle shouted over the sound of the turbines. The turbulence rocked the cargo plane back and forth, making it hard to keep balance. Matt had realized she was losing too much blood. Still, Ben Callaway refused to answer. "Ben, you bastard! She's dying!"

"I can't do it, Carlyle!" Ben's voice thundered from the cockpit. "We're already in hot water! I'm sorry, Matt," Ben said, his voice drenched with sorrow he didn't deserve to feel.

Matt knew that they were just barely under radar, and that there was no way Ben could land the plane without killing them all. They had just come out of something disastrous; a disaster for which Matt blamed Ben. Ben had been in the agency for years, and he was supposed to be the leader of this operation. However, everything had gone wrong, and Ben was unraveling. In the face of all of this, Matt still didn't care. Ben had to land.

Regent unbuckled himself from his seat and helped Matt tend to the girl. They were the only surviving agents from the operation, three out of nine. Matt soon feared that count was about to become lower. Regent removed the black bandanna that hid his bleach blond hair and tied it around her leg in an attempt to stop the bleeding. He turned to look at Matt.

"There are too many entry points," Regent said. "She won't make it unless we get help now, Matt."

Now. It had to be now. Matt failed to even think of the magnitude of what he was about to do. Nevertheless, he swung the automatic rifle off his shoulder and ran to the cockpit. He rammed the barrel of the gun to Ben's temple and said quite calmly, but loud enough so he could hear, "If you don't land this plane right now, I will kill you." Ben looked surprised at first, but then his expression turned to despair. "Land now," Matt warned once more.

"Matt, you know as much as I do--"


Matt felt the plane begin to descend. He had just screamed at the top of his lungs, his eyesight even started to black out . . . yet, Matt found he was still in control of his emotions. He didn't snap like he thought he would. It was scary that he could use his emotions to that extent, to get what he wanted without it affecting his mind. Matt didn't want to think about what atrocities he could accomplish with such a skill. All he wanted to do was save her.

Once they were below the clouds, Matt withdrew his gun and went back to the cargo area. When they landed, he picked her up as the hatch door opened to reveal a clearing in the dark South American rainforest. Regent called after Matt to stay down, but he ran at a full sprint across the clearing with her in his arms. The whole moonlit clearing echoed with the frightening sounds of war. The explosions lit the sky in the distance, and he could see the air warp around them.

She started coughing violently.

"No, no, not again," Matt pleaded. "Come on, baby, you can make it. We'll find help."

She coughed blood up on the front of his body armor. He stopped running and set her down on the damp grass and brushed the sweaty, grimy hair out of her face.

"Please. . ." Matt activated his GPS and scanned for the nearest medical station. The whole sector was quarantined. The whole sector... if Ben had landed before, if he had landed when he told him to, they would have been outside the quarantine. He could have gotten her help.

She locked eyes with Matt for a moment that he would remember for the rest of his life. Her eyes were a watery, brilliant blue; and they were filled with terror. Matt was still holding onto that moment when it changed, very suddenly. He was looking right into her eyes, but she was no longer looking back. She was no longer wheezing for air.

She did not breathe at all.

Hands shaking, Matt slowly let her head down to rest on the ground. Tears flowed from his eyes as he screamed in agony.

Two Months Later

The apartment door opened slowly, allowing the creak of the rotted wood to creep through the whole room. The man in the doorway flicked the light switch, but nothing happened. He assumed if he wanted power, he would need to find some way to pay the rent.

Ben Callaway's life was falling apart. He was decommissioned from the agency, he had stumbled through a messy divorce case, and his house burned down due to a gas leak. To make matters worse, he was dirt poor and he could not get a job no matter how many interviews he sat through. He was one step away from being homeless. How could he go on living like this?

No backing out. Do it now.

Ben sat on the saggy springboard bed in the corner of the room and stared at the splintered wood floor. He looked out the large windows across from him at the huge, pale light of the full moon. The city lights seemed to compete hopelessly with its magnificent glow. Even in all its majesty, it could not stop the overwhelming feeling of grief inside Ben. It only reminded him of his single greatest sin. He reached for the side table next to his bed, opened the drawer, and found blank space inside.

"Night after night, you reach for this gun," whispered a bitter voice from the corner of the room. Ben snapped his head toward the dark corner to see Matt Carlyle step into the moonlight, kicking an empty beer can across the room. The pistol was pointed directly at Ben's head. "But you can't ever do it, Callaway. You're a coward. Always have been."

"Matt," Ben said softly. He opened his mouth again to speak, but he could not find any proper words to say to this man whom he had failed so greatly.

"It's because of your disgusting cowardice that she died that night," Matt practically spat at Ben, who flinched at his hatefulness.

"You have no idea how much courage it took for me to keep flying like that, Matt," Ben said hysterically. "You don't think I cared?!" he screamed at him. His chest heaved and his face was bright red.

Matt cocked the pistol and stiffened his arm. "You didn't care. If you did, you would have landed. You would have landed the plane, Ben, and I'll never forgive you. I thought I'd be happy with you dishonorably discharged, but no, no, that wasn't enough. I thought maybe the pain of your wife's love turned to hate would pay for my own pain, but no. I burned down your house, Callaway, but could I stop there?"

Ben was horrified. Every terrible thing that had happened in the last two months was Matt's doing. His agency resources hadn't been cut off like Ben's.

"No, Ben," Matt said softly, "I just can't seem to stop . . ." A single tear streaked down Matt's face. He looked just as horrified as Ben did.

"Please, Matt," Ben tried hopelessly, "I had to. You know what they would have done."

"She was your daughter, Ben!" Matt grabbed Ben by the collar and jammed the pistol against his temple. "You let her die!"

"It's only been a few months," Ben sobbed. "I can't even remember her face . . . "

"I can't stop, Ben. There's only one thing left," Matt muttered with a blank expression, pistol still pressed against Ben's head.

"Please, Matt, I'm sorry. You know how much she meant to me, how much you meant to me," Ben cried. "If this is what needs to happen, if this is how I can redeem myself in your eyes, then so be it." His tone almost became bitter at the end.

Matt just shook his head sadly and looked longingly at the moon as he realized something. "No, killing you won't cut it either," Matt said as he stared at Ben, his gaze filled with so much hate, yet still, there was a sense of peace. "You're beyond redemption."

Matt Carlyle pressed the pistol to the side of his own head and pulled the trigger. Blood spattered over Ben's shocked face as Matt's limp body slumped to the rotting wood floor.

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