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    Bastard: A Story of Redemption
    Dr. Henderson Ward
    Marcus Barrow is drowning in guilt because he thinks he is responsible for the accidental death of his wife. Even when the police finds someone else responsible, Marcus is still gutted and decides to commit suicide but in a dream his wife impels him to furious, non-stop action to redeem them both.

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    book excerpt

    Marcus’ world collapsed overnight. He blamed everybody for his dismal plight. He especially blamed the incompetent police for they told him that one of the men he helped put behind bars, a Rasta man called Rahme – who swore revenge against Marcus, had been released from prison one week ago and they had no idea where he was. At least one witness reported seeing a very tall Rasta man (Rahme was 6 ft 6 ins. tall) struggling with a woman in a red dress near the salon and Marcus had reported to the police that Amanda was wearing a smart red dress with white lace trimming at the sleeves and border.

    Now here he was, six years after the death of his beloved and irreplaceable love still blaming himself for her death. He looked everywhere during those six years, fought many battles with the thugs and varmints, the riffraff and scum, sided numerous victims and battled all, even the most privileged, cried many tears, offered many gut-wrenching prayers and still the pain of his guilt did not go away. In fact it got worse; nightmares and horrible dreams of all sorts cascaded through his fitful sleeping in unending torrents until he felt he was drowning in them. Now perhaps, he thought, was a good time to end it all.

    Marcus poured one whole bottle of whisky into a large, plastic container, crushed up two hundred pills of various colors and sizes and mixed them thoroughly until he was satisfied that all the pills were absorbed in the whisky. He would feel no further pain after drinking the concoction; just a sublime rest in perpetuity. He knelt down by his bedside to say his final prayer, to ask God to forgive him for failing his beloved wife and then he would depart this intensely tortuous, nightmare-infested world for good. As he knelt in prayer, tiredness and mental fatigue overcame him and he fell asleep and instantly went into a dream. In the dream he saw his wife and she told him this.

    “Darling on my way to heaven something dreadful happened. I was stopped by one of Satan’s demons and I am being held here indefinitely and you are the only person, being my next of kin, who can rescue me. You have to do these three things for our redemption, first…” The dream ended there abruptly as if someone had interfered and cut off or jammed the transmission and Marcus, instantly awake and fully focused, immediately jumped up off his knees, rushed to the side table and grabbed the whisky concoction.

    Few men live a life of unimpeachable correctness with few regrets and fewer still have the courage to accept and own up to their failings with openness and humility. Marcus Barrow was not one of them. He knew he had made a near-fatal, colossal error as he grabbed the plastic container with the whisky concoction, rushed to the bathroom and savagely threw the contents into the toilet bowl. For a minute he paused to regain his composure then flushed the toilet and because the recent dream left him badly rattled decided to put on his walking boots and track suit and go for a long, mind-clearing walk. Now suitably attired, as he walked towards the front door his neighbor from two houses down rang the door bell. Marcus opened the front door and saw a pensive looking John and thought that whatever was ailing him must be important because John was usually very jolly.

    “Hello John, come in and take the weight off your feet.”
    John perked up ever so slightly for he liked Marcus who possessed a lot of emotional intelligence. “Thanks. I have a small problem I want to discuss with you. It should take only a few minutes.”
    “Grab a seat, here take this one” and after John was seated continued, “You know I always have time for my friends. What’s on your mind, are you…?”

    “He is going to kill me. HELLLP…HELP ME... MURDER.... MURRRDERRRR...” Someone balled out and it sounded like a woman’s voice.
    Marcus broke off in mid-sentence and rushed to the front door followed by his guest, flung it open and ran on to the patio and looked towards his right where he was sure the plead came from but he saw nobody. Other people were now looking through their windows and a few came out to investigate the disturbance.

    Suddenly a distraught woman with disheveled hair burst forth from a small, seldom-used alley on the right, a few houses along from Marcus’, a shortcut to a semi-arid area back of the houses. Blood was pouring from a wound to her head. As she was crossing the road she stumbled and fell hard, whether from the effects of the wound or from sheer exhaustion it was impossible to tell. “Help me” pleaded the distressed and terribly exhausted woman who was partially clothed and grabbing her head, “he is going to KILL ME. HELP. HELP, SOME BODY HELP ME, OH GOD HE IS GOING TO KILL ME.”

    Without hesitation Marcus sprinted towards the woman but before he could reach her a very tall man, heavily muscled and shirtless, wearing baggy pants and covered in tattoos zoomed out of the alley and when he got to the woman shriveling on the ground he raised high in the air a wicked looking, razor-sharp machete, known locally as a Collins, and was about to bring it down, without love or compassion, on the woman’s bleeding head.
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