Martin raised his eyes to the ceiling: “Oh God… please grant me patience…” Seth was taking a nap in the sofa and Martin had to shake him awake to sit for dinner.
They were now only three living under the same roof since Johan had left.
Seth had been meaning to ask a specific question for a long time and he finally blurted it out: “Say, did my father really die in an accident? Nobody ever mentions him. Who was he anyway?”
Anna looked at her nephew in confusion: “Huuuh… Martin? Help?”
Martin took his time to reply. Then he stood up: “Right. You’re old enough to know the truth. Meet me in the garden when you’re done eating.”
Martin hoped that knowing the truth about his parents, as unpleasant as it was, would give Seth some peace of mind. So he began abruptly: “Your father was a criminal. He was a run-away, suspected for murder and ended up shot by the police in Great Bear where he had fled with Violette, your mother.”
– Is that… true? Did mom know all that?
– To some extent, yes. But we believe she was never quite aware of everything.
– Is that why she fell ill?
“She wasn’t exactly ill. She was suffering from depression. She… she killed herself after your grand-mother passed away. I’m sorry, Seth… We couldn’t tell you all that when you were a child.”
– And my father? You said he was suspected of murder, but did he really kill anyone?
– That man indirectly killed my sister, so sorry but I didn’t care about finding out more about him. They say he probably shot down the previous mayor, on somebody else’s instigation.
– Are there records left?
– The police must have their files. But Seth, I didn’t tell you all this so that you take interest in a murderer. He was your father, yes. But certainly not an example, you got me?
Back in his bedroom, Seth took out his father’s unfinished portrait left by his mother. He stared at it for a long time.
He felt strangely exhilarated. He wanted to find out more about his father and what kind of person he was.
The next day early morning, he was at the police station.
– I, huh… I’d like to look up in some old files.
– Police records are not available for just anyone. What do you need exactly?
After Seth had laboriously explained who he was and why he wanted to see those files, the police officer agreed to show them to him.
– Is that your father, kid?
– Yeah… I think so. I have no picture but…
– If it’s him, he was a hitman. Orian Zay.
“He worked for a gang leader and accused of Yann Wong’s assassination, among others. I’m sorry, kid.”
Some kind of vertigo took him as he exited the police station and he had to lean on the wall for some time. There had been a picture of his father in there. Shot dead.
It took him some time to realize someone was calling him.
Looking around, he saw Carmen and a man who was probably her father. “Hey, what are you doing here, daydreaming?”
– Carmen, is he a friend of yours?
– Yes, dad.
– Right, you can have a chat but I’m in a hurry. Meet me inside when you’re done, ok?
As Carmen’s father walked off, Seth mumbled: “What about you? What are you doing here?” – “Oh, our car got stolen. It’s a real bummer, I can tell you. We live far from public transportation.”
– Are you ok?… You don’t look too well.
– I… I just…
Then Seth exploded again.
– Oh give me a break, will ya?
– I was only asking. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Seth stormed past her, and broke into a run.