The city stretched out before him, towers reaching heavenward, piercing the sky. Glass and steel monoliths. Testaments to human ingenuity combined with the ever pressing ambition for more. To be bigger, stronger. To be the best. To rise above the rest. Below, out of sight and out of mind, a network of flesh bustled to and fro. A network of slaves bound to their struggle to merely survive. Bound to the whims of those in power. Some known, some hidden, but always present.
But Benedict Valentine saw none of it as he stood at the tinted window, one of many that lined both walls making the outer corner of his office. All he saw was a faint, distorted reflection. Staring at a vague ghost-like copy of himself, lost in thought. Feelings of guilt, shame, and anger rolled into a ball, settling in the pit of his stomach. Churning and blending together.
He saw a father who had brought a child, his firstborn son, into a dangerous world. Not the world at large, but his world. And not just by association alone, but forced. Manipulated and molded from a young age, groomed to eventually become the successor of an empire he had built for his family. For himself. He saw a father who, over time, was unable to control his own creation. Eventually they always go their own way, an inevitable phase of a man coming into his own.
All Benedict could see was a helpless father who hadn't been there when his son had needed him. To save him, to cheat death at its own game. And for the longest time he had to live a lie about it all, which in of itself was fine, it came with the territory. But the inability to take control of the situation, to find those responsible — to exact punishment — was unbearable. It slowly ate him alive from the inside out. Even exerting his rage on those he suspected were involved didn't help. Maybe because inside he always knew, now confirmed, that they weren't. At the time, however, it didn't matter.
Something new was stirring within, overshadowing the regret he constantly carried with him. Anticipation. Given life by the news that his son's murderer had finally been found. After so many years, after so much pain and frustration. Soon it would all be over. Things had already been set into motion. All he had to do was wait. After years of waiting for his connections to successfully track down the killer, he thought he could wait a little longer.
Just a little longer before he could finally settle the score and make things right.
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