rating: +77+x

I hated you.

I can count every meaningful conversation we ever had on my digits. What I can't count is the number of times they told me how important you were. Government scientist. Indispensable. Fearless. Peerless. But it's funny that they could never tell me what exactly you did.

It's so much funnier now.

My family, our friends, mother's friends-your friends, they had no idea, but you were here the entire time. Not that I blame you for that, you couldn't come home and tell your family you looked after nightmares. Nightmares you sent people to their death to, by the way. No shame in it, so have I-it's the job. But the cover story they (or maybe you made it yourself?) had for you, people thought your shit couldn't smell sweeter, huh? None of us were any the wiser.

But now I know everything, and it turns out I've followed in your footsteps, a fact which repulses me. Level 4 Clearance! Site Director! Just like you! You must be so proud! But then you died. That's the only reason I find this course of events tolerable, because there's something different. I survived, like you couldn't. I'm just like you, but I lived. I can tolerate my memories of you because of this. Nobody expected me to live up to your example, I was never anything compared to you. But I'm better than you. Nobody knows though. Don't you love the irony? Is that irony? I hope it is.

I hated you, dad.

Why did you leave me to this shit.

Everyone jokes about it, like "Hey, Charles, how many Keters did you find for us today?" and I laugh it off. It's not funny. It's not fucking funny! We're so used to it, I'm so used to it, radioactive birds, fountains haunted by dead kids, a fucking fetus controlling a nuclear defense system! I hate this place, I hate this world, and you left me here to deal with it all by myself! I fucking hate you!

I just…

…I miss you…dad.

An old man in a suit looked over his computer, watching the video playing on his screen. "Site-59 Security Footage" was displayed in the corner. A younger man entered the hallway in the footage. He was in his mid-thirties, with blonde hair tied back in a ponytail, and limping upon a crutch under his right arm. The old man stared at the younger man on the screen, the tired eyes racing with memories, thoughts, doubts.


A second man, also elderly and donning a suit stood in the doorway, looking at the other. "The other eleven are assembled."

"Yes, I'll be there presently." responded Brian.

The second man walked over to the desk where Brian sat. "Watching him again?" he said, gazing at the screen.

Brian nodded. "Every morning I wake up wondering if he's even still alive." he said quietly and bitterly.

"You could have stopped him from joining."

"I know."

"You didn't want him to join, did you?"

"No, I did not."

"Then why did you-"

"Because…I've directed his life enough." Brian turned in his chair to face his colleague. "He's been competing with me every day of his life, and nothing I can do will change that. I made things the way they are for him, whether I wanted to or not. He perceives me as an obstacle in his self-actualization. As much as it pained me, tortured me, terrified me, I couldn't interfere with his decision to join the Foundation, because I've held him back for long enough."

He bowed his head. "Even so, he's still mandating his life by his perception of me, and I can't even tell him myself."

"Tell him what?"

"How proud of him I am."

Brian turned off the screen.

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