Game of the Planners
the gait of a leader
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Manchester Current Time
Jack remained seated while he let down the piece of paper carefully into the box as he had retrieved it earlier. The memories still flashed across his mind, but not for long for him to keep dwelling on as he took note of a familiar one, carefully wrapped within the comforts of the box. He clenched his fists gently before reaching over to pick the dusty note.
He could very well tell what it was…he had written it after all.
In his hand was none other than the list containing the names of the seven people whom had wronged him. The memory never fades, and he had kept the names in his head ever since the unfortunate incident that befell him aged seven in the hands of the horrible kids and all those who he deemed as co-conspirators in the crime.
Slowly like he was holding an egg, he unwrapped the paper, lengthening it in height and falling his gaze upon the top of it. The letterings had been scribbled with black ink, and still remained fresh like he had written it yesterday. He cleared his throat as he slowly perused the content on the list with his eyes and mind. Within him, he read the names out loud without really speaking.
The list with the seven names felt heavy in his hand as he held it high enough for the light in the room to illuminate them properly.
He’d written the list aged 24, seventeen years after the incident which left him with a scarred face. It had come after he arrived in Manchester aged 21, and spending the next few years working in the coal factory, before getting acquainted with Mr. Kent and assisting him with the three major agendas he promised and becoming a Multi-millionaire with an array of five big companies underneath his supervision.
The accomplishment and assurance of stability had prompted him to list those who brought turmoil to his past and he made certain he didn’t forget a single name.
Atop the list like it should be was the curator of his scars, Thomas. Thomas deservedly warranted the position, being the boy who decided his means of getting revenge for Jack’s deed was to give him a permanent reminder. Thomas, who was three years older at the time he made the list, had become a really accomplished man. He had made a name for himself, as the owner of two big private schools, three luxury hotels in Cologne and Dusseldorf, and had become the husband of Melissa, the woman Jack could never forget.
Jack couldn’t let Thomas share the pain alone. He wanted him and everyone around to partake in the punishment he would deal, which included listing Thomas’s sister, Natalia in second place. The thirty-one years old lady would also have a taste of his vengeance. Following her on the list in third place was a place for Andy, the notable second in command to Thomas, who had succeeded in becoming a professional boxer but had been sentenced to prison for the duration of five years after accidentally killing his opponent in a boxing game.
The incident wasn’t his only undoing, after sources found his responsible for some high stake illegal gambles as well.
Sofia was forth by virtue of her relationship with Thomas right about then. She was his girlfriend and it was only befitting that she shared in his pain as Jack never really fancied her, and quite frankly couldn’t forget or forgive her indifference when her boyfriends messed up his face. He had scribbled her name down on that night while making the list with a beating heart.
Finally, he fell his gaze upon the name of the one person he was sure had he been responsible enough to let justice prevail; maybe he wouldn’t have scribbled the list in the first place. The old man was a cheat, a liar and an irresponsible fellow who in all sincerity decided to take his son’s life and well-being as top priority even though he almost killed another man’s.
Fifth on the list without an atom of doubt about him being listed there was Thomas’s father. The man whom bribed those he needed to, including top lawyers and judges, as well as Jack’s own father to help keep the heinous crime under wraps. Jack could remember seeing the group of lawyers the man hired, donning their suits with cocky smiles across their face while they defended the boy.
He remembered seeing his father collect an ample sum of money from Thomas’s father, which the man ended up blowing on bets, while ignoring the fact his own son needed money for a face surgery and possibly transplant. His inconsiderate actions only made things worse for Jack, as the months went by. He remember his face losing any feel the skin used to provide it, while all the nerves slowly died after they’d been brutally destroyed.
The pain to live with such face was something he could still recall as he penned down the man’s name as his fifth victim. The events that followed were nothing but trauma for Jack and everyone around him. When he was ten years in age, he had a little sister, whom would scream and get terrified trying to tear her eyes out with nightmares when she looks at Jack.
The horror and constant battle with being able to accommodate his horrifying look had been the reason Jack was cast away from home in the first place. His parents decided it was best they sent him far away where they wouldn’t have to look at his nauseating face ever again. With the pen in his hand, he remembers his mother’s words vividly, claiming she wanted nothing to do with him ever again.
The decision came easy after then. His father whose knack for betting and owing people, put him up for sale for the sum of fifteen thousand Euros to a lender in bid to clear his debt. It would be the last time he’d see his family, as a new life begun to for him immediately. Jack would find life anew, but in a more strenuous manner for a young boy his age.
His new owners at the point in time made him take care of their horses and clean the stables. It was a shitty job but he had no choice. His legs were constantly chained as they couldn’t take the risk of him escaping and making a run for it. His home was behind a stinking hors stable, while his real parents wined and dined in a comfortable environment, at least without much stink.
His bed was made of hay, stacked in a corner of the stables where he laid his head to rest every single night. He was given a bath every week like an animal would, and a bowl of porridge every day, and sometimes half loaf of bread which was dry and hard as a rock. The half loaf would get tossed at him simply because it wasn’t deemed eatable by the owner anymore and not out of the mercies his heart granted.
They saw him as nothing but a monster, and he was constantly treated like one.
The lonesome childhood memory was vivid and clear, with lonely days without friends to speak with and without tears to cry. All he had were horses neighing and chewing their hay all day, while he tended to their crap. He was there till he clocked thirteen, on which day, Mr. Klein the boss of a local newspaper came to rescue him from the horse farm and took him home. It was the first feel of goodness anyone had dealt him and it felt too good to be true at that time.
Mr. Klein assigned him the task of taking care of his horse, but with a better bed to sleep in at night, and proper meal on his table. He sent Jack back to school again and allowed him time to study with his daughter, whom Jack still recall as his first ever love till date, Melissa. From their first meet, she became his friend.
Melissa was the first friend and best he had as well as the only one.
The years rolled by and she remains in his memory still as he stared at the list in his hand in his room, which had brought with it a host of bad memories. Her sonorous and ear melting voice rang aloud in his head every time, the sound of her contagious laugh, as well as her cries when she hurt herself by falling while riding her horse, remained with him still.
Melissa and Jack passed high school together, and eventually ended up attending the same university to study law, to which effect, he would split and end his time there.
He folded away the paper slowly, while taking one last peek at the last names on it.
On it was Henry, the forty six years old teacher back then whom had refused to testify against Thomas for his wicked crime. The man denied knowing anything and it proved to be one of the defining reasons for the case. Jack was about closing the list finally when he saw the seventh number…
It was named “Unknown”. He couldn’t remember who the person was exactly at that time, but he would find out later.
The first night was the most difficult. He lay with his back against the bed and his eyes shooting into the distance ahead. The bland ceiling mirrored his thoughts, and the fan continued in its endless chase of its own tail, while Jack wallowed in thoughts. He had his mind troubled deeply, not just by anything surreal, but things of grave importance that could come to shape his future and life ultimately.
He tried closing his eyes to think, but his sense of focus was off. He wanted something concrete upon which he could lay his plans and come with a solution, but it felt even more difficult the more he thought about it. The question was simple, yet it plagued his heart badly.
“How to solve the problem of Mr. Kent’s son and his wife”, was the sentence he read across his mind over and over and again.
There seemed to be no particular answer for the question, and the suggestions on what could be done even seemed impossible to achieve. The dilemma attached with getting Robin’s documents was an almost impossible one. It included going to the university where he schooled to attain them and most definitely going through some good amount of security and scrutiny.
He needed to know more about the wife as well and that would take its own perseverance and some proper research. Jack could find no sleep through that night, and he was only convinced morning had dawned when he heard the loud crow of a persistent cock just outside his house. It was mentally draining, but equally challenging for him.
He needed a good plan else he could be staring at the end of a barrel pointed against him by himself. He could become the architect of his own undoing and that wasn’t going to become an option. He was a determined man and one who had seen too much to know he needed to grasp opportunities when they come his way.
After three sleepless nights spent on thinking and planning on what to do, Jack finally headed off to Robin’s University to carry out his research on the boy…
Germany…Same Time…Years Ago…
It was no news they have been dating or having affectionate feelings for one another. Thomas had made his move on Melissa after Jack left, asking her to become his girlfriend without a single pang of discomfort in his heart about Jack liking her. They attended the same university there in Cologne, which made things pretty awkward.
Months had gone by, and Melissa had fallen pretty much for the dashing man who made her feel special. Jack’s absence had brought with it a rise in the time Melissa spends with Thomas, as they grew in desire for one another, and ultimately decided upon taking things a notch. It was Thomas’s will and idea, and she agreed with him without a muster of decline.
The night was set for a cold Friday. She had on her favorite blue gown, while he donned a nicely fitted black suit for the occasion. She harbored her nervousness within until they reached the door.
‘What if they don’t like me?” she turned to him to ask with her face showing just how terrified she was.
Thomas lit in face with an assuring smile of his own. He felt her face with his warm hand and leaned over to kiss her cherry lips.
“You need to trust me”, he said. “They’ve been waiting for you and I’m sure they would”.
His words didn’t sound entirely convincing, but she was at the door and would as well just go on right in when they come to answer it. She nodded for him to knock and he did, with the calm voice of an elderly woman responding on the other side. The door swung open slowly and before her stood a lady with brown hair and a quite prominent physique showing she kept herself fit even though she had grey hair.
“Tommy…“, she greeted, hugging her son before casting Melissa a look.
Melissa gulped some worries down her throat before watching the elderly woman smile brightly.
“Come in here you. Tommy has told us a lot about you and quite frankly wouldn’t shut up”, she smiled, hugging Melissa.
Melissa felt her chest get lighter, but she had his father to meet next and she still remained skeptical. They walked into the large living room which bore beautiful portraits on the walls, with one catching sculpture of a Roman goddess in the corner of the living room just by the television.
“Let me get your father”, Thomas’s mother excused herself before disappearing into the inner room.
Thomas turned to his girlfriend with an “I told you so” expression across his face.
“All right, I believe you now”, she managed to chuckle as he led her to the couch to sit.
The tempting allure of blueberry pancake being made in the kitchen came seeping through. They were to have dinner, and it felt good already.
Seated around the large table were the intending father and mother-in-law to Melissa, as she kept her head down shyly and continued eating her meal. Thomas had asked her over for dinner at his parents’ in bid to introduce her to them and get things running smoothly as it ought to. They were both welcomed with open arms by his parents who were people of influence and wealth.
She didn’t care much about that, since she equally came from a stable background boasting riches and comfort as well as connections Thomas’s parents can only come to dream of. She loved the man and wanted nothing else but to share everything she had with him. They were obviously young, but it still wasn’t a criterion to hide from how they truly felt.
‘So Melissa, my son tells me you studied law”, his father engaged her in a chatty conversation.
Melissa let down her fork from the spaghetti she was taking to respectfully answer the man.
“Yes I did”, she simply replied.
“He also tells me how fond he is of you and the plans for the future”, the man crackled with laughter.
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He spent almost 10 years planning a revenge list on the seven people who had destroyed his face for a same reason in the past, everything was perfect, the revenge plans of the young and intelligent lawyer were extremely sophisticated, however when everything was ready, he suddenly realized that the plan he was working on was actually the final step of another person's plan. Will Jack be smart enough to rule the game against those who are standing in the dark and silently affecting his thoughts and actions? What would he do when his enemies who were set to be taken revenge on was planned by another person, and Jack would have to change his moves to take control back those who were in shadow and influencing his thoughts. The game of intelligent planners in manipulating people, who is more adventurous and smarter to beat the others?