Chapter 1: Six Years In Hell

1221 Words
Todd Bower was thinking about what to do with his life, and what the meaning of it was. It seemed to him that everyone had different answers to these basics questions, but none seemed to resonate with him. He looked at the cold pistol in his hand, and as he decided to finally take his life, the expression on his face hardened. He did not want to continue to live a life filled with fear, heartache, and humiliation. He wanted to avenge his parents, rescue Eve Roberts, and finally redeem himself. As much as he disliked the taste of the cold steel in his mouth, suicide seemed to be the only way to set things right.   ***   On Todd’s eighteenth birthday his family had suffered a great loss, and this loss marked the end for his father, Aaron Bower. The man Aaron trusted the most, Jarod Douglass, betrayed him. Jarod was very tactful. He often had a smile on his face and Todd had liked him very much. Until the takeover, he had been his father’s best friend and most trusted advisor, and when the truth was revealed, it had broken his heart. Aaron owned D.S.G. Unlimited. Jarod was his CEO, and with the help of a powerful, mysterious organization, he had been able to snatch away everything that belonged to the Bower family. Not only that, but he had made Aaron look like a criminal, and he died in prison on the night of his arrest. Jarod had coveted Todd's mother, Linda, for a long time, and he wanted to sexually harass her. She did not want to be humiliated, though, so she committed suicide by jumping off the roof of a building. D.S.G. Unlimited was transferred to Jarod Douglass's name. The villas and luxury cars that had belonged to Jarod were all confiscated. His bank accounts were all frozen, and his children were forced into homelessness.     Todd sought help so that he could get justice for his father, but nothing he tried made any difference. The mysterious organization that had backed Jarod was like a big net covering the sky, and every avenue he investigated led to a dead end.  To Make matters worse, no one would help him. The word on the street was that Jarod had issued an ultimatum: Anyone who helped Todd would be dealt with – and everyone knew exactly what that meant. Secretly, Jarod had always resented Aaron and the rest of his family. He had always been paid well, but he felt like he would always be stuck in the upper-middle class, and that he would never be truly rich until he did something drastic. So, he had waited, bided his time, and gained Jarod’s trust. Now that he had everything that he had ever wanted, though, he discovered that it was not enough. He would not be at peace until every member of the Bower family was wiped off the planet, and Todd was the next person that he had targeted.   ***   Jarod had a son, Zachery Douglass. He was the same age as Todd. They went to the same school, and because their fathers had always been close, it was only natural that they were close too. But then Jarod took over the company and Todd finally saw Zachery’s real face. Nowhere was this more evident than on the playground.   Todd's former friends seemed desperate to stay in Zachery’s good books. Now that his father was rich, he was their golden goose, and they would do anything he asked. That included bullying and shunning their old friend, Todd, who had been loyal to them for years.   At first, Todd was angry. He got in fights, but he was overwhelmed and overpowered every time. Eventually,  Zachery used his influence over the school board to have Todd expelled. By now Todd’s anger had simmered down and turned to self-pity. The only person that kept him from killing himself right then and there was Eve Roberts. She had walked him out of the school after his expulsion and had spent the rest of the day with him.   To Todd, Eve was like an angel. Out of all of his classmates, she was the only one that hadn’t turned on him. Not only had she not mistreated him, but she had stood up for him, and because they desired her for her beauty, they had never retaliated against her.   ***   After being expelled, time passed very quickly, and before Todd knew it, six years had passed. They were tough years, though. He was constantly on the run, but no matter where he hid, Zachery always found him. Once found, Zachary would show up with a Goon Squad. If he was in a good mood, Todd would get a severe beating, but if he was in a bad mood, it could be much worse…   One time, Zachery had forced Todd to kneel and call for his father while the goons urinated in his open mouth. Every time something like this happened, Todd waited for death, but they never killed him. Zachary was toying with him, as surely as a cat plays with a mouse. The only thing that kept Todd alive was his firm belief that he would eventually come out on top – And little by little, he continued to collect evidence against Jarod Douglass, the man who had ruined his family. He thought – One day, he will get what he deserves!    Todd’s six years in Hell began at the age of eighteen. Now he was twenty-four, and he had already eaten more s**t than most people did in their entire lives. He had learned a lot in this time, though. That was the silver lining. The street life had hardened him. He had learned about self-reliance and resilience. He was street smart and he knew how to take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. These were skills that Jarod and Zachary lacked, and Todd was positive that they would be their undoing.  Sometimes at night, when Todd was cold and alone, his bitterness kept him awake, and his thoughts turned dark. He was always exhausted, and sometimes living seemed like more trouble than it was worth. But Eve Roberts had never stopped standing by his side, and he knew that if he offed himself it would hurt her. This was one thing he was unwilling to do. His bitterness kept him awake, but it was his love that kept him alive. He had not seen her for about six months, though, and it seemed like she was ghosting him. Then, when he was at his lowest – this was after a routine beating – he read in the newspaper that Eve was marrying Zachery – and the ceremony was only a day away! Since Zachery had just beaten Todd up earlier that day, he was easy to find. Once he got to him, though, he realized that he had no idea what he was going to say. As soon as Zachery saw Todd, he had his bodyguards grab his arms and hold him so that he could punch him. Maybe today will be the day that he kills me – Todd thought hopefully.    
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