Can a dead man reach out from the grave to exact revenge against those responsible for his death? Welcome to the thirty-first installment of a story that explores that possibility. If you've not done so, read the story from the beginning HERE.
Confident he was still in control of the situation, George waved the gun menacingly at them. "I trust that's the end of the heroic attempts to subdue the bad guy."
He pointed at the unmoving body of Sam, "Would you believe that Sam and I were once the best of friends, people? We had a lot in common," he paused and trained his eyes on Agnes Nolan. "Isn't that right, Mrs. Nolan?"
She uttered a barely audible string of profanity and stared back at him, resolute in her obvious hatred for the man. Once again Marjorie turned to her mother. Her face was masked with confusion.
George grinned and looked upon the girl, "You mean to tell me that your mother never told you the truth? Hell, are you ever in for a big surprise!" He turned his attention to Catherine and spoke again, "...And you never told your ... sister?"
"Sister?" Marjorie cried in disbelief. "What is he saying? Mother? Catherine?"
Agnes knelt down beside Marjorie and Catherine. She glanced momentarily at Jack who was still barely hanging on to life, then turned to look upon her daughter's face, "It's true, honey. He is your father." Sobbing and not understanding why her world was being turned upside she collapsed into her mother's arms.
"That's right. We're just one happy family aren't we?" He didn't look in Steve's direction when he addressed him, "Steven, meet your other sister, but you knew that, didn't you, son?"
Steve grew tense and tried to suppress his anger when he spoke, "Yes. I knew." He chanced a glance in the direction of Catherine and Marjorie. "...And don't call me son!"
George grinned, "Ah, yes. There are so many step parents and half brothers and sisters, I sometimes forget who begat ... whom?" He motioned over his shoulder at the crumpled form of Sam Nolan. "Sam's your father, isn't he? Let's see, that means that Eddie was your half-brother."
He moved over to where Agnes and the two girls were kneeling beside Jack. "Like I said before, Sam and I had a lot in common - beds - wives - children. So, don't think for a moment that Sam Nolan was a saint either," he began to cough. He cleared his throat and continued, "If any of you are trying to keep score, let me further clue you in on the secret lives of the Nolan and Cooper clans."
Agnes stood and faced him, "Come on, George. This isn't really about our family trees, is it?"
He ignored her and continued speaking, "As you can tell, Agnes doesn't want me to continue. Maybe she's ashamed? She and Sam only had one mutual child - Eddie. That didn't stop Sam from spreading his seed however. He also knocked up my Mildred! That's when Catherine came into the picture." He watched for Agnes' reaction but she averted her eyes from him.
He thumped his arm and fist against his chest. "I always told ol' Sam that I was the better man. He only produced one legitimate kid and one bastard," he said with a proud arrogance. "As for me, well, my scorecard reads three legitimates and a bastard. Final score George four, Sam two."
"For God's sake, George!" Mayor Alyson exclaimed. "We don't need to hear about your sordid conquests."
"Shut up, Mr. Mayor," he snapped at the man. He enunciated the word 'mayor' with sarcastic disdain. He looked around and studied the faces of everyone present. A lascivious sneer etched his lips as he continued to talk, "Sordid conquests? I like that. It reminds me a certain beauty. What that woman could do to a trailer hitch!" He raised an eyebrow and looked down at the three women next to Jack, "Her name ... Ah, yes. Jessica, Jessica Blake!"
Tiffany bolted upright and waived a pair of clenched fists at the man. "You son of a bitch! You keep my mother out of this!"
He started to laugh but once again was struck with a coughing spell. Gaining his composure he said in a mocked apologetic tone, "Sorry. I guess I shouldn't speak ill of the dead. Let's see, what was it? ... Oh yes, an overdose of barbiturates, wasn't it?" He wasn't touched by the appearance of tears in the young woman's eyes, "Don't worry, honey. I can't claim you as one of my bastards ... for certain."
"Would you stop it, George?" Agnes said in visible anger. She moved slowly toward him and didn't pause until she saw him raise the gun in his hand. She felt confident that he wouldn't shoot her in front of everyone, but she decided it wise to exercise caution. "George, are you sure, beyond a doubt that you are David's father?" She took a deep breath and waited to see if the man reacted in any way. "Maybe your scorecard with Sam should show a tie ... three apiece."
"What!" he cried out in tormented shock. He glared at her, waiting for the smirk on her face to disappear. It did not. Of course David was his son! How dare her suggest otherwise! A sudden smile crept onto his face. Agnes was one clever woman. She was trying to confuse him. She was attempting to cast doubt in his mind.
He pointed to a spot several feet from where they were gathered. "My son David lies at rest right over there. He's right where he should be, next to his father's grave," he said. He smiled and shrugged his shoulders, "Well, actually he's next to my coffin - my empty coffin." He grew somber for the briefest of moments before continuing, "The little guy never had a chance to really know his father. Now you know why I have come back from the dead. I'm here to avenge his untimely death."
"I saw you hanging from that tree, George. How ... ?" Agnes implored of the man.
"Funny you should ask that, my dear," he replied. "That's the part of the story where our honorable Mayor enters the picture." He peered at Alyson and said, "He saved my life." He took a deep breath and looked beyond the small crowd. "Of course, the mayor had a little help from our incapacitated optometrist over there."
Hunter had been listening in stunned silence. His father and he may not have seen eye to eye, but he couldn't believe that he would have blindly helped the Cooper man kill all of his friends. Cooper must have had something on him. He must have been blackmailing his father.
David too had remained silent. He was amused at the fact that George thought he too had died that night. So far George hadn't shown an inkling of knowing his true identity. He had watched with great interest when Agnes had tried to plant doubt in George's mind as to who might have fathered him. Sam had been right. The secret of his identity had to be kept from George for as long as possible. The fact that David's grave was also empty was their backup trump card. He glanced over at Sam's unmoving body. He knew that they might have to play that trump sooner than they had planned.
"I'll get to the part about my resurrection in due time, Agnes," George said. "However, there is still the matter of digging up a ghost. Your willing, or unwilling cooperation," he said addressing the lot of them, "Will be most appreciated." For good measure and to assure them that he meant business he waved the pistol to make sure he had their undivided attention. "You see folks, we ... you are going to finished the job that Hunter's father started."
There was a sudden movement among the group. George watched with interest as Steve stood up and began walking toward him. Steve's face seemed void of emotion, a blank stare on his face.
"Steve!" Catherine called. "What are you doing?"
Marjorie also called after him, "Steve! No! Don't do it!"
George stepped aside and allowed Steve to pass by him. Catherine, Marjorie and the rest gasped in shock. They stared dumbfounded as Steve stopped before Sam's body and then knelt down by it. He rolled the body over and unseen by them he removed Sam's gun from behind his belt.
Jack, barely able to move his head watched as his younger brother rolled Sam's body back to the position it had been before. He knew Steven had grabbed Sam's gun. He tried hard to swallow but could not. He tried to speak but could only manage a strained whisper, "You damned fool. You're going to get your self killed!"
Steve arose and stood for a moment looking down at Sam. He then turned and walked slowly in their direction. If they could see the gun in his hand, then George could see it too. George however, did not react.
Tiffany was trying to read Jack's quavering lips. She felt sickened as his words reached her ears, "Something's not right!"
Steven reached George's side and nodded at him. He then turned and faced them. He noted with satisfaction the shock and confusion on their faces. He raised the gun and shouted, "You heard him! To Eddie's grave ... Move it!"
(to be continued... Echoes of Eddie -32)