Marigold's funeral had to be the darkest thing ever. The rain wouldn't stop and it was windy so the umbrella's we had weren't doing a good job. It's like God has decided that he had too much to drink in heaven and he broke the seal. So he decides to come right over Marigold's funeral and take a long drawn out piss on all of us.

That's how I felt.

I look over at Wade and all I see is darkness. I want to be by his side. I put my arm on his back. I pat it a little bit hoping that it would make him feel better. Truth is I don't think it does. I don't think anything could make Wade feel better right now.

There is a darkness in him that scares the fuck out of me.

"Are you OK?" I ask him, "We don't have to go the reception."
"We'll go," Wade states, "I'll meet you there."

We are leaving the funeral to go to Marigold's funeral reception. A lot of Wade's family has come from out of town to pay their respect. There aren't many dry eyes at her funerals but Wade is definitely one.

As we are at the funeral Sampson, is saying some kind words about Marigold before he dismisses everyone to start making their way to the reception. He walks over to where Wade and I are.

"Your mother was a kind and gentle soul," Sampson tells Wade, "This was a horrible accident."

Sampson plays the part of the concerned pastor quite well. You would think Wade isn't the same guy who he was fighting not too long ago. Wade has suffered something crazy in this town and I feel for him. I can relate.

"Accident. My mother was murdered," Wade states.

"I've reached out to the police and the confirmed report was that it was an accident. I'll make sure I get to the bottom of this however. I promise," Sampson replies.

There is no comforting him. I'd watched during this entire funeral as Wade's friends and family tried to comfort him on his mother's death. He wasn't having none of that. Wade only had darkness in his eyes right now.
"What the fuck can you do?" Wade asks Sampson.

I feel bad for Sampson. He's a pastor. It was his job to comfort. I wonder at that moment looking at Sampson if God listened to the shit he said a little bit more then what the rest of us said. I wonder if that collar of his gave him a louder voice. Maybe if I got my own collar I can communicate with God and just tell him that this is some fucked up shit.

Wade had been through enough when he got jumped or when he didn't get justice. He went through enough when they fucked up his eye.

Now he lost his mother.

I understood all of that but right now I didn't like that he was getting so aggressive with Sampson.

"Wade he's just trying to help," I point out.

Wade isn't hearing it.

He shakes his head violently and spits something out, "The people who killed my mother are having a celebration dinner. This fucking town voted for Edwin Reading to become president...even through all the shit that Syn and I fucking showed them about the Reading brothers."
That's when it happens. It happens out of nowhere. Wade starts breaking down. Sampson looks at me as though signaling me to comfort Wade. I don't. I just let him cry and cross my arms. I hate the sound of tears. Who the fuck started this crying shit? Was it biological or behavioral? I never really had this huge need to just cry. Babies didn't cry when they were sad. They cried when they wanted something. Usually they got it.

Why the fuck was Wade crying now? What did he want?"

"It's OK," Sampson says patting Wade on his back.

Wade cries into his arms.

"No it's not," I respond.

I knew that Edwin Reading had won re-election for Mayor. I had no idea that they were celebrating right now though. What kind of fucked up shit is that? You kill someone---accident or not, and you don't even attend their funeral? You go out celebrating your victory?

I shake my head. Man these were some fucked up people.

Wade looks over at me, "It's not OK is it?"

"No. It's not fucking OK."

"Syn---" Sampson tries to stop me.

I shrug, "Marigold shouldn't have died because she was protesting. The motherfuckers who pulled out a gun during a fight shouldn't be let off. Edwin Reading shouldn't be the mayor of this fucking town."

That's the end of that. That's all I could think of.

Sampson seems confused by this above all else, "People seemed pretty disturbed by what they saw. I don't know how it was possible that Edwin won re-election."

Sampson is so clueless.

"Sheep are easily lead to the slaughter," I point out to Wade, "That's why. I'm not going to sit here and baby you Wade. Your mother died. This world is fucked up. Do something about it."

"Like what?"

I shrug, "I'd burn this whole town the fuck down."

My words are blunt. They come out of nowhere. Maybe it's passion. Maybe I just stopped giving a fuck about this stupid ass town after they were dumb enough to re-elect Edwin "shady ass" Reading even after what happened at Sampson's church.
"Syn don't, Wade the bible says: Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you have a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

"Well how about you remember those words for when I burn this fucking city down," I tell Sampson, "Tell people to forgive me then."

"Syn..." Sampson says shaking his head.

I can read his face and I know he's trying to tell me that I'm not helping. I think that he's missing the point though. I don't want to help. I don't care how hard Sampson looks at me. I don't want to ease Wade's pain right now. That pain is what he had. He had to find a way to deal with it one way or the other.

Wade seems to just be in a deep thought or something. I'm not sure what it is. Wade just seems to be a little lost if anything.
"Syn, you ready to go to the reception hall?" Wade asks, probably attempting to change the subject.

"I'll actually take him," Sampson says.

"Why?" I ask.

"Wade should ride with his family now. He's going through a lot," Sampson explains to me.

I roll my eyes watching as my ride walks away. Sampson stands there at that moment and gives me a hard look.

"Let's go," he says.

I get to Sampson's truck and I watch as he takes off his Pastor uniform. He dresses in more casual clothes changing right there on the side of the highway. I hate the fact that I'm here with him right now. I hate the fact that he's the only way I can get to reception.

"Listen. You don't actually have to drive me," I tell Sampson, "I can catch a cab."
"Don't be ridiculous. We are both going to support Wade. We might as well drive together."
"Get in Syn."

I reluctantly get in the car. It hurts to be this close to Sampson honestly. I can't help but to look over at him when he's driving. He's damn sexy. All I could think about was how many people in his congregation had sinful thoughts when he was up there preaching to them.
"You shouldn't make people think you're serious," Sampson tells me.

He just says it bluntly and doesn't take his eyes off of the road. I don't know what he's talking about and it's kind of weird that he's bringing it up. I look over at him realizing how hard he is focusing on the road.


"I'm talking about the fact that Wade and all those people in this town that are listening to you lately," Sampson states.

"You know about that?"

Sampson sighs, "Syn. Everyone knows about your little speeches. People are calling you the Anti-Christ."

"Wow. That's a step up from a lunatic," I notice.

Sampson slams his head on the dashboard, "Dammit, Syn. I'm serious. You get people listening to you and they take everything you say at face value. It's dangerous."

"Maybe I am serious," I tell Sampson.

Sampson sighs deeply. He is acting really holier than thou right now. I didn't even want to be in this fucking car right now. I was going out of my way to stay away from him. I was going out of my way not to speak to him. He forced me in this car.

"In your own way...maybe, but people don't know you like I know you," Sampson explains, "All I'm saying is that you have to be careful not to provoke people. Wade is emotionally unstable. He's gone through a lot. When you say crazy things he might take it to heart."

"Don't fucking call the things I say crazy," I tell Sampson, "You don't see me coming in your church and saying you quoting your desert book all the goddam time is crazy."

"Syn. I'm not here to argue," he tells me.

"No you're here to preach," I reply.

"No. I'm not coming at you as a pastor," he explains to me, "I'm coming at you someone that loves you Syn. I know you. Wade and these other people don't. I know that for all of those crazy off the wall things you do there is a lot of actual love behind those things. Wade and your 'followers' don't know those things about you. They just see the crazy. I am talking to you because honestly Syn... I don't want you to be responsible for anyone's actions but yourself. I don't think they understand you and what you really stand for. Not like I do."

I hate the feeling I feel in my chest. I hate how Sampson turns things around and makes it seem like he's looking out for me and all of a sudden I start falling for him all over again.

I try my best not to go down that path.

"You don't understand me," I respond.

Sampson takes his eyes off the road. His stare lingers on me for a little longer than I expect. I hate how he looks at me. It's like he sees through me.

"I understand you," he states.

"Stop doing that..."

"Doing what?" he asks me.

"That thing you do where you fucking look at me and just fucking...I don't fucking...act like you know everything about me," I respond.

"I do know everything about you," Sampson states firmly as though this is some crazy fact. If you ask Sampson right now him knowing everything about me is as easy as stating 1+1=2.
"Fuck you. I'm crazy as fuck. I don't know myself on a day to day basis," I state.

Sampson laughs at me. He laughs and I hate it. I hate his bright white smile. I hate the dimples that form when he smiles. I hate the way that he licks his lips after he's done laughing. I hate the way that his hands look so fucking soft. They are just sitting there. They are just wanting me to touch them. But I don't.

Fuck Sampson. Fuck his smile. Fuck his hands.

"Maybe you're crazy. Maybe I'm crazy too," he says.

"Don't patronize me," I respond.

"I'm not," Sampson responds looking over to me with one hand on the wheel, "It's always been us. Hasn't it Syn? No matter how much I try to escape where am I? I'm waiting for you to come back in my life. Where are you? You're coming to where I am. Always. You're coming to where I am. That's just how it is. I see that Syn. So if you're crazy for chasing me...I'm crazy because as soon as you show up I'm always there. Open arms. Ready. Waiting. Always waiting for my Syn..."

"Goddam it. I'm not YOURS. You're married to that whore still remember?" I ask.

I want to pat myself on the back for being able to think

"I know. But what's marriage. But to me you'll always be my Syn. You're the only one I wish I could forget during the day. You're the only one who stays on my mind at the end of the night. And by the middle of the night I'm drenched in sweat looking at the stranger next to me and wishing it were you."

"I can't listen to this," I respond.

I put on the radio. I blast it as loud as it goes hoping to drown out Sampson talking. I can't take it anymore. I can't take this goddam emotion. I can't take the fact that no matter where I am I can't stop thinking about him.

I'm happy his truck is loud and drowns him out. The luck doesn't last when I hear what's playing though. It's an old song. Beyoncé Flaws and All. Great. A slow song. That's exactly what I need right now.

I'm a train wreck in the morning
I'm a bitch in the afternoon
Every now and then without warning
I can be really mean towards you
I'm a puzzle yes indeed
Ever complex in every way
And all the pieces aren't even in the box
And yet you see the picture clear as day
I don't know why you love me
And that's why I love you
You catch me when I fall
Accept me, flaws and all
And that's why I love you

I turn off the radio so fast. What the fuck?

Sampson turns towards me. He has this long stare. What are the chances that this song comes on? Who the fuck is listening to Beyoncé in this hick ass Southern town in the first place. And why the fuck was this song speaking to my soul? Why the fuck was Sampson staring at me the way that he was.
"Maybe after this me and you can go out and... I don't know. Talk about us and where we are," I state.

"I know where I am, Sampson."

"I think we're both lost, Syn."

"Well you don't look like my GPS so...yeah..."

Sampson shrugs, "Syn, you can run. We'll find our way back to each other. We always do. That's what fucking happens if you haven't noticed. All I'm saying is that I'm tired of running. I'm never going to love anyone like I love you and you'll never love anyone like you love me. So let's stop running. Let's find each other."

"You must be crazy. I'm the snake. I'm the one that corrupted Eden. Don't you get that? I'm bad for you. It's not a hard concept to get. The sinner isn't supposed to tempt the snake. I am poisonous. I'm killing you."

I didn't think I believed it. Maybe I was referring to Sampson's cancer. Maybe I was referring to something else.

I just felt like I was killing him.

I was SO bad for Sampson. He had every right to escape me. He had every right to get away from me. Why wasn't he really taking that opportunity?

"My mother thinks that I am dying because I can't quit you," Sampson tells me, "You know what I think Syn? I think that I really died the moment that I left."

This stupid motherfucker. This stupid fucking idiot. I want to just smack the fuck out of him. I hate his guts for attempting to pull his heart out like this.

I open the door, "Stay away from me Sampson."

"Syn please...I know you. I know you want this. There is a light inside of you and I see it. I fell in love with it. It's my light. You're my angel. I know we need each other. That's what we need."

Sampson reaches over and grabs me. I look down at my arm and yank it away before I start liking his touch a little bit more than I should. All this is bullshit. Bullshit! Sampson needed me like he needed a goddam tumor.

"You must not know me like you think you know me," I tell him, "There is no light in me. There is not even a glimmer. I am the definition of Shady. No. I'm worse than shady... I am pitch black fucking darkness. Go try to find yourself in that shit..."

I slam the door behind me before he gets the chance to say another word. I can't deal with anymore of Sampson's words. Not now. Not ever.

I wanted out of his life. This time forever.

This time for good.

"Are you OK?" Wade asks me, "You don't look so good..."

He's waiting for me outside of the reception hall. He's smoking. I had no idea he smoked. Hell I have no idea I smoke when I walk up to Wade, grab the ticket out of his fingers and take a long whiff. I'm so on edge after the talk with Sampson.

"Do I look like some sort of fucking victim?" I ask Wade.

"I'm pretty sure you should probably be nice to me because my mother died today," Wade suggests before shrugging, "Or whatever..."

"If you want people to offer their condolences you can go in there with a bunch of fucking family members you hardly ever see, share stories you don't care about and pretend like they can understand what the fuck you're going through. You got the wrong one."

I may be hard on Wade at that moment. I hand him back the cigarette. That's the closest he'll get to a goddam apology from someone like me. I don't know why these people think I'm something I'm not. I don't know why Wade or Sampson or T-Boy or anyone else sticks around my ass.

I'm literally so fucked up that I was giving people cancer just by being around me.

That's on some next level shit.

"I know you don't act like everyone else," Wade says, "That's why I want your help. You understand. You said it yourself. It's time to get these motherfuckers back."

I raise my eyebrow.

"Revenge?" I ask.

Wade nods slowly, "I can sit here and hear these fucking people say how sad they feel for me or I can follow the Syn Doctrine. I can make myself feel better. I can take my power back. I can make them the Readings pay. I can do something about this."

Wade is upset. He clearly is. But... the fuck am I.

"Like what?" I ask.

"I don't know," he says, "Come with me."

"You don't have a plan?" I ask him.


Wade shrugs a little bit. He takes a long smoke. He stares into the darkness. He laughs at that moment. He's acting a little crazy and this is coming from me who spent quite a long time in a mental institution. The laugh is almost uncontrollable for a minute. I join in on the crazy laugh, confused and a little bothered at the same time.

I'm laughing because I really think I made Wade lose his mind. Literally.

What the fuck was wrong with him?

After almost 5 minutes of laughter I stop laughing and my face gets serious, "Uh Wade..."

He laughs so much that he chokes, "Yeah?"

"Why are we laughing?"
"Because I'm going to kill those Reading motherfuckers," Wade laughs.

I choke.

What the fuck? Wade has this huge smile on his face as he stares out in the distant rain. We are both getting a little drenched right now but neither of us seem to give a damn. Wade is too much in my mind and I'm too concerned on whether or not I heard what the fuck Wade just said correctly.

I swallow my spit, "Um. You mean like figuratively right..."

Wade's smile widens and his lips tremble with a nervous tick. He stares over at me. A few seconds pass.

A few...awkward...ass...seconds.

"Of course! Silly," he says breaking out in laughter again.

I join his laughter again, "Oh good. I kind of thought you were kind of--- I don't know---like LOSING it. Ha! That was fucking weird. You are just really fucking weird."

I stop laughing by the end of what I say. I realize that he definitely did get fucking weird for a minute and this entire conversation is making me feel a little awkward.

"It's not like they deserve to die or anything. Right?" Wade asks.

I'm kind of confused and nervous by his tone. Wade is making me kind of uncomfortable at this moment. What the fuck is he talking about and why the fuck is his face going from laughter to serious over and over again.

", they don't deserve to die," I state, "You do understand that right?"

"Of course."

He isn't looking at me.

"Wade, look at me," I state, "You do understand that you can't just kill people right?"

"Because what? God?"

"No. Because right from wrong."

"You said yourself once who chooses what's right and wrong."

Was this guy really arguing with me?

"Well I mean right and wrong isn't always black and white. But I'd hope you'd be able to decide for yourself that actually killing someone is wrong. I don't think there is any gray area there," I tell Wade, "Wait. Let's hit pause. Am I really trying to convince someone not to commit murder right now? Like is this real life?"
Wade puts out his cigarette.

"Of course not. It's not like I'm crazy," Wade explains to me, "I'm glad we had this talk Syn. I'm glad I have a role model to look up to."

What a fucking weirdo...

He just is acting like we weren't just talking about murder a few seconds ago.

"Um. Ok..."

"I'll see you inside OK," Wade tells me, "Try the roast beef. It's really good."

Wade leaves at that moment. I stand in the rain...confused. What the fuck just happened? I am more than confused on the conversation that I just had.

I stand in the rain for a while. It has to be about 10 minutes or so. I am just clearing my mind before I go in there. I have to definitely have a conversation with Wade about what kinds of things I believe. Maybe Sampson was right. Wade definitely is going in a whole different direction with the shit that I was telling him. I don't know where he was coming from with what he was saying.

As I'm standing out there confused and baffled I realize that Sampson walks up. Great. This is exactly what I need. Sampson leans up against the wall.

"You're smoking now?" he asks me, probably smelling the cigarettes on me.

"I'm not the one dying of cancer, am I?" I ask.

Sampson nods after a few seconds, "You got a point. How long have you been out here? I looked everywhere for you."

"I'm just trying to clear my mind."

"Syn. What did you do?" Sampson asks.

"Nothing. Honestly this time," I tell Sampson.

"So what's with the face? You want to talk about it?"

I'm confused.

"Goddam it Sampson stop doing that."

"Doing what?"

"Reading my mind and shit," I stated, "Didn't I tell you that I wanted to stay away from you."

Sampson talking to me makes me really feel like I need to go check on Wade. After that weird conversation I had with him I probably shouldn't have let him out of my view at all. Wade was not joking. Wade was not bullshitting. I start walking away at that moment but I don't get far. Sampson grabs my wrist.

"Where are you rushing off to?"

"Ok. I just got to check on something or someone."

"SYN! Spit it out," Sampson says.

I hate how he just reads me like that.

"So Wade may...or may not be feeling a little homicidal," I admit to Sampson, "I'm pretty sure he is planning on killing the Readings."

"Fuck..." Sampson says.

"Is it that bad?" I ask.

"I just saw Wade leave about 10 minutes ago," Sampson says.


"We have to go stop him," I state, "I know where he's headed."
Edwin Reading's campaign is throwing him a victory party because he won his re-election. I can imagine Edwin Reading's face as he's happy that he got over on the system. His entire family is there. His wife. His kids. His brother. Hell...probably his mistress is even there. Edwin Reading probably expected to win this re-election.

What Edwin Reading didn't expect was Wade.

"We're coming up to it, right over this hill," Sampson says.

"I fucked up Sampson," I say, "You warned me."

"It's not your fault..." Sampson tells me.

Sampson's hand touches my hand. His hand is so soft. It feels so good. I look over at him. I know he's just trying to make me feel better. Right now I feel like it is my fault. This kid was a church going pool boy before I met him. I set this domino effect in Wade's life. It was my fault all of this happened.

I had to stop Wade one way or another.

We make it over the hill and my mouth drops.

"Oh fuck."

"Jesus..." is Sampson's expression.

The hall that Edwin Reading's congratulatory speech is in flames. Wade has parked his truck in front of the main entrance and blocked all the exits to the building. He set the whole building on fucking fire! I mean I set shit on fire a lot in my day but there was a big difference. I didn't set shit on fire WITH PEOPLE IN IT!

Wade is standing outside the building, listening to the screams of men, women and children inside...


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