Raven mentioned about a CCTV in their old resthouse’s basement. He said he found out that I was being kept in the basement when he walked into Callum’s room. He saw me through the monitors as I was kept in the basement. The investigators confronted Callum about the CCTV footages and he said that it might have still be in their old house.
Hindi ko na magawang tignan ang kalagayan niya mula ng makita ko kung paano siya tinorture. I couldn’t even get my mind off of it. They continued keeping him and torturing him but I didn’t want to know what they were doing to him anymore. Ni halos hindi na nga ako makatulog ngayon sa nasaksihan ko. I could still not fully grasp that that man was the same man I’d fallen in love with. Hindi pa rin matanggap ng buo ng isip at puso ko ang mga nangyayari.
His grandfather who he said was the mastermind of it all had already passed away. Raven said he was a very manipulative and abusive man and his grandmother tolerated it. He didn’t even let Callum use his surname and had to use his grandmother’s surname instead. Hindi siya kinikilala nitong anak dahil ang akala niya ay anak ito sa ibang lalaki ng ina nila. His grandfather was abusive to every one of them but it was Callum who got the hard beatings. Sa kanya ibinubunton ng ama niya ang galit nito sa mundo.
Dad sent his men to their old resthouse and they’d successfully retrieved the recordings of the CCTV footages. They were brought back to us. Gusto kong makita ang kahayupan na ginawa nila sa akin.
“Sweety, you don’t have to do this…” Dad gently said when I told him that I wanted to see the videos.
“Dad, I need to. Gusto ko ng makalaya sa mga nangyari sa akin. I want to set my fears free.” I said.
He exhaled, his face growing weary for me.
“I can handle this.” I assured him.
We walked into the room where Dad’s investigators were studying the footages. They played the footage where I was first carried to the basement. There were a bunch of men around me in the video and one of them threw water at me. Doon ako nagising. Callum suddenly came into the room and swiped up and put me on top of a table. He ripped my panties off from inside my skirt and positioned himself between my legs. Dad stood up from his seat and hurriedly walked out of the room with red tear-filled eyes.
I stayed and watched my own sexual assault. Namuo ang mga luha ko at lalong nabuhay ang galit sa puso ko. I watched myself be a victim. I watched myself as I was raped by the man I thought was my knight in shining armor. I felt sick watching the footages. I was helplessly assaulted by him over and over. But he wasn’t the one who put the mark on my chest. He wasn’t there in the footage when that happened. An old man, Callum’s father, stood there and watched as I was held down by two men and branded on the chest by another. I could still remember the pain I felt at that time and the smell of my own burning flesh. Callum after an hour came in and he was the one who healed my burn and made me take a pill for the pain. Tinabihan niya ako hanggang sa makatulog ako.
But that wasn’t enough to erase the anger and pain I felt for him while I watched myself be raped by him over and over. Galit na galit ako sa kanya habang nakikita ko ang sarili ko sa video habang paulit-ulit niya akong ginagamit. I was used like a sex object. Kung anu-anong kababuyan ang ginawa niya sa akin.
I looked for Dad after I watched the footages and his men told me that he went to Callum. Kahit ayaw kong makita siya ay napilitan akong puntahan siya. Callum had his arms tied up behind his back. He was in a much worse state than the last time I saw him. I could barely even recognize his face and his body was black and purple. I swallowed, feeling my throat close as I looked at him. Dad stood in front of him with a barrell baseball bat in his hands. Dad screamed angrily with tears flowing down his eyes as he bashed him into his side with the bat.
Callum didn’t even make a noise anymore. He didn’t flinch a bit, he just accepted every hit that was thrown to him. He looked like he’d given up already. Parang gusto kong maiyak ng makita ang sitwasyon niya. I felt pity for him. He’d already had enough. He’d been tortured and beaten over and over for days. Even though I wasn’t around to witness all those torture, I saw the brutality of it through his body.
Callum started coughing out blood. Dad swung the bat in his hand and before it could even land on Callum’s body, I got in between.
“Dad, please tama na.” I hugged him. “Tama na…”
“He raped you!” I could feel the trembling anger in his voice. “He raped and hurt you! Bakit ikaw pa? Bakit hindi na lang ako? Pinatay na lang sana nila ako! Sana ako na lang!”
“Pabayaan mo na siya…” I hugged him tighter, trying to calm his nerves down.
He was shaking with so much hatred and then he buried his face into my hair and started crying. It was hard seeing the strongest man I knew, my Superman, crying. It was heartbreaking.
“It’s my fault, Drey. This is all my fault…” Humagulgol siya.
“No, Dad, don’t say that. We didn’t want this to happen. Don’t blame yourself…” My voice started shaking as tears filled my eyes.
I took the bat from him and pulled him away from the room where Callum was. Pinakalma ko siya. Stress wouldn’t do him good but as long as we kept Callum here I knew it wouldn’t stop. Natatakot akong mapatay niya si Callum.
“This feels wrong, Dad. Tama na…” Pakiusap ko sa kanya. “Let’s just turn him over.”
Dad shook his head. “I’m not done with him yet. Hindi pa sapat iyon sa lahat ng ginawa niya sa’yo. Binaboy ka niya. He treated you worse than an animal. I will make him suffer until he begs for his own death.”
“Ayaw kong makapatay ka.”
“Drey, wala na akong pakialam kung mapatay ko siya. I will make him pay hell for what he did to you and Arthur, do you understand?”
“Dad…” I shook my head. “You’re not a murderer.”
“I will be for you.” He said, his eyes glazed with dim fury. I knew nothing I could say would ever convince Dad to let him go. Ramdam ko ang galit na nanunuot hanggang sa buto niya. He was hell bent in making Callum suffer even if ends up killing him.
Bumalik ako kay Callum. Pity pushed me to go back to him after Dad had finally calmed down. I asked for the guards to untie him and his body just slumped lifelessly on the cold, hard ground.
“Cal…” I touched his arm but he remained motionless. Bigla akong nakaramdam ng takot. What if he was already dead? “Callum?”
He finally let out a groan. His body looked like it was ready to give in anytime now. I was afraid he won’t survive another blow. Baka bumigay na ang katawan niya. I couldn’t believe this was the man I married and loved. It was hard to imagine him as the same man in this state.
“Au…” He uttered, breathlessly. “Au, I- I’m sorry….”
I blinked away the tears that started burning my eyes. “Do you need water?”
I slightly nodded his head. Itinaas ko ang ulo niya at pinainom ng tubig. He only drank a bit.
“A-arthur… How… is he?” He asked.
“Okay siya. Palagi ka niyang hinahanap…” My voice came out in a squeak.
“T-tell him I love him.” He said.
I nodded. I wiped away my tears before it could even fall from my eyes.
“I- I’m sorry, Audrey. I’m so sorry. I love you…” He broke out, tears began flowing down the corners of his eyes. “I know what I did to you was unforgivable but I… I wish you’d still find it in your heart to forgive me. I don’t care anymore if I die in here, I just want you to forgive me…”
“Shh… huwag ka ng magsalita. Just rest…” I turned away as tears uncontrollably gushed out.
“AUDREY!” Dad suddenly came in and grabbed me by my hand. “What are you doing?”
“Dad, maawa ka sa kanya. Look at him! I don’t want him to die in your hands!” Umiiyak na sabi ko.
“Naawa ba siya noong paulit-ulit ka niyang ginahasa?” Asik ni Dad.
“He will stay here for as long as I want!” Dad firmly said.
“Mommy, look at my drawing!” Arthur showed me a paper with three stick figures. The one in the middle was shorter than the two on the left and the right. “That’s you and me and Dr. Daddy.”
I touched his cheek and forced a smile. I couldn’t look him in the eye everytime he talks about his Dr. Daddy. Madalas hawak niya ang gitara ni Callum at sinusubukan niyang gayahin ang ginagawa ng Dr. Daddy niya. He talks about him all the time. I knew how much he misses him.
“Do you know where Dr. Daddy is?” He asked.
I felt a pinch inside my heart. I knew where he was and what they were doing to him but I couldn’t tell my son that. So I shook my head.
“I think maybe he went to see Paul McCartney.” He innocently said. “Sabi ni Dr. Daddy nakatira daw si Paul McCartney sa malayong-malayo. He said you need to ride an airplane to see him.”
I chuckled as tears filled my eyes. “Dr. Daddy said he misses you.”
“Did you talk with him?” He looked at me excitedly.
I nodded my head. “We talked for a bit. Sabi niya sabihin ko daw sa’yo na love ka niya.”
“Bakit ba hindi na siya babalik?” His lips suddenly tugged downwards. “Why does he have to go to a far away place?”
“There’s a lot of things you still don’t understand.” I brushed my fingers through his hair. “Maraming bagay na kahit ipaliwanag ko, hindi mo maiintindihan. Just always remember that he loves and misses you so much.”
“What about Arthur’s band? The Beatles has four people in it and now I’m the only one in Arthur’s band.” He looked like he was about to cry.
“Someday when you’re big enough and you know how to play guitar well, pwede mo na buuin ang Arthur’s band. For now, kailangan mo muna matuto kasi magiging magaling na mushishan ka, di ba? Because that’s what you and Dr. Daddy wants.” I playfully bopped his nose to lighten up the mood.
He finally smiled despite the tears and nodded his head.
“We’re going to sign you up for a guitar lesson, how does that sound?” I asked.
“Okay!” His smile grew bigger and then he handed me the paper with his drawings on it. “Mommy, can you give this to Dr. Daddy when you talk to him again? Para hindi niya ako masyadong mamiss. I don’t want him to be sad…”
I took the paper from him and more tears filled my eyes. I felt the burning sensation in my throat as I tried to hold it in. He really loved Callum and it would break his heart if he finds out the truth. Ayaw kong kahit kailan malaman niya ang totoo. What his father did to me. I only wanted to him to remember Callum in a good way.
“Cassie, I only want the best for our Audrey…” I stopped in front of the door to Dad’s study. “Bakit siya pa? They could’ve just killed me. Bakit ang anak ko pa?”
“Everything will be okay. Magiging okay din si Audrey. She’s a strong woman. I know because I raised her.” Mama comforted him.
“This is my karma for everything I did to you. For every wrong thing I did in my life. Everytime I look at our daughter and Arthur, I feel guilty. I brought this upon her. Ako nagdala kay Tiffany sa buhay niya. Ako ang may kasalanan ng lahat ng ito. Pero sana ako na lang ang pinagbayad, hindi ang anak natin.” I could hear the tears in Dad’s voice, the frustration and the pain.
“Babe, don’t say that. It is never your fault. Walang may gustong sa mga nangyari. I don’t, you don’t, nobody does.” Mama said.
“Pero bakit lahat ng ginawa ko noon bumabalik sa anak ko. Yung ginawa ko sa’yo, si Drey ang nakaranas nun. I feel like she’s paying for my sin.”
“You’ve already paid your sin, Nick. Napatawad na kita. Please, I don’t want you to say that. Alam kong may dahilan kung bakit nangyayari sa atin ito. And maybe Arthur is one of the many reasons.” Said Mama in her gentlest voice. “Pinagbabayaran na din ni Callum sa kulungan ang ginawa niya sa anak natin.”
“Cass, Callum is not in prison. I kept him…”
“What?” She asked, surprised.
“Gusto kong pagbayarin niya ang lahat ng ginawa niya sa anak natin. Prison is not enough for him. It’s not going to be enough for all the pain he brought to my daughter and our Arthur. Wala akong kasalanan sa kanila. All he did to our daughter was for nothing. Hindi ako papayag na hindi niya mapagbayaran ang kahayupan niya…” I’d seen my Dad cry but I’d never heard him this broken.
“Nick, no.” I heard Mama say.
Hindi masamang tao ang Daddy ko. I knew he only wanted what he thought was the best for me. I knew how much he loved me. Alam kong kaya niyang gawin ang lahat para sa akin pero hindi ito ang gusto kong mangyari. I didn’t want him to kill for me. Ayaw kong dalhin niya iyon sa kunsensya niya habang buhay kung sakali ngang mapatay niya si Callum. I just wanted peace of mind for all of us and I knew we wouldn’t be able to have it when that happens. Pagod na ako. Pagod na akong matakot. Pagod na akong makulong sa nakaraan ko. I needed to end all these.
It was dark out here, the grasses were overgrown and there were lots of trees. Callum’s arm was around my neck as I dragged almost all his body weight. His body was limp and he could barely use his limbs. I knew he was trying but he was just weak. I knew every movement was painful to him but we had to hurry. Dad’s men would be looking for them and I needed to get him out of here before they catch us.
I managed to sneak into the warehouse in the middle of the night. Dumaan ako sa backdoor ng warehouse dahil alam kong walang nagbabantay doon at nasa akin ang susi nun. I went to Raven and uncuffed him from his bed and gave him the keys to my car. My car was park on the back of the warehouse right beside the woods so no one would see it. I told him where we’d meet. Sinabi ko sa kanya na puntahin kami doon. I trust that he wouldn’t break his promise. Hindi niya maiiwan si Callum dito. Callum needed medical attention. Pag magaling na siya, pwede ko na siyang ipakulong. Right now, he just needed to go to the hospital.
He was in a very bad state. They broke his bones and every movement he made was painful to him. I knew by the grunts and groans and moans he made every step I took.
“A—audrey, love…” He whispered. “L—Listen, I just feel exhausted right now…”
“We have to keep going. Alam ko masakit ang katawan mo but it’ll be okay once I get you out of here. Pupunta tayo sa ospital.”
“I want to lie down. Please…” He begged.
I looked around. Madilim sa parteng ito at maraming pagtataguan. I put him down the grass and placed his back against a tree.
“Cal, Raven’s going to be here any minute now.” I said.
“I’m tired, Audrey. I can’t keep going. Maybe I’m just being overdramatic. Maybe I’ll be fine after this. But incase, um, everything doesn’t turn out okay…” He gave me a faint smile and tried his hardest to reach for my hand. His hand softly touched mine and he rested for a bit before he spoke again. “Gusto kong humingi ng tawad sa’yo at sa anak natin. Please, take care of our son. I know your a great Mom. Always remind him that I love him and that he’s the best musician for me. I love you, Audrey. I love you and our son. Remind her that everyday. Kiss him goodnight for me every night. Lahat ng sinabi at pinakita ko sa’yo, totoo yun. I wish I could undo all the things I did but I can’t anymore. I didn’t want to ruin your life but I never had a happy day after that. I couldn’t. I can’t forget it. I wanted to make it right with you. Hinanap kita. Alam kong hindi magiging tama ang ginawa ko but at least want to take away as much pain as I could possibly can. I didn’t plan on falling in love with you, it just happened. Akala ko pwede kong burahin na lang ang nakaraan at magsimula ulit. I want so bad to start over again with you. It was selfish but it was the only chance I had with you and our son. I’m sorry, Audrey. I’m so sorry. What I did to you was unforgivable but I still hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. I will die a happy man—”
“Stop it! You’re not going to die! You cannot die in my father’s hands!” Mariin na sabi ko habang tumutulo ang mga luha sa mata ko. “You’ve caused me and my family so much pain! Huwag mo nang dagdagan ang pagpapahirap sa pamilya ko! You will not make a murderer out of my father! Hindi ka mamatay, naiintindihan mo? You will not die on me!”
Callum nodded his head and he squeezed my hand. “If I die, I’ll die in my own terms. Love, please tell me you forgive me. I’m not going to ask for anything more. I just want to hear you say it.”
I closed my eyes and swallowed the lump in my throat. “I forgive you.”
“Thank you, Audrey. Thank you for giving me Arthur. I know I’ve told you this a hundred of times before but you and him are the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m glad I got the chance to be a husband to you and a Dad to Arthur. Thank you for being mine, even if it’s just a short span of time. Thank you for making me see the beauty of life. Before you, I only knew darkness… It really is beautiful, isn’t it? Out here with you, under all these stars, thousands… hundreds and thousands of them.” Callum looked up at the sky, his dark eyes shone as unshed tears shone in the light of the moon.
“There’s so many things I still want to do with you and Arthur. So many more sunsets I would love to see and sunrise to sleep through. But I fucked up in this life. I fucked up so bad. If I had to live my life again and know that I’d meet you, I’d do everything differently. Next time I’d find you sooner so that I could love you longer. Do you think maybe we’d make it right the next time around?” Hope lingered in his eyes.
“Maybe…” Salty tears started mixing in with my sweat. How I wish everything could be different. But this was what we’d been dealt with. The wounds he inflicted on me had already become a part of me, a wound that would never heal. Only if we’d met in another another time and in a different situation.
“Cal, may pinabibigay sa’yo si Arthur.” I wiped away my tears with my arm and took out a paper from my pocket. It was his drawing of Callum, him, and I.
Cal reached for it and smiled when he saw the drawing. Pagkatapos ay ipinatong niya iyon sa dibdib niya. He closed his eyes and tears slid on the side of them. “This is the life I wasted. The life I can’t have with you and our son anymore…”
My heart clenched as I looked at him. He was in a poor state. Bakit ba kasi ang tagal ni Raven? What was taking him too long? We needed to take him to the hospital and then I’d turn Callum to the police once his better.
Relief washed over me when I saw the headlights coming towards us. I got up and waved at Raven, trying to get his attention. Buti na lang at nakita niya ako at hininto ang kotse siya harap namin.
“We have to hurry. I think they’re coming for us. Nagkakagulo na sila. The alarms are going off in the warehouse.” Raven urgently said when he got out of the car. Then he turned his head to Callum. “How is he?”
“We need to get him to the hospital.” Sabi ko.
“I think they’ve already block the exit.” Sabi ni Raven.
“We’ll just find another way. Tulungan mo muna akong isakay si Callum sa kotse.” I said.
Callum let out a groan when we lifted him up. Raven had his arms under Callum’s and I held him by his feet. Isinakay namin siya sa backseat ng kotse at hiniga doon.
“How are we going to get out of here?” Tanong ni Raven matapos namin mapasok si Callum sa kotse. “Sigurado akong pinaaabangan na tayo sa mga exit point.”
“We could run the car through the woods. Baka may daan sa kabailang dulo.” I suggested.
“Can your car fit through it?” There was hesitation in his voice.
“We can try. This is the best option we have right now.” Sabi ko.
Suddenly we heard the car engine running. Pareho kaming nagkatinginan ni Raven bago lumingon sa kotse.
“Motherfucker!” Raven cussed as we both watched the car move. Raven tried to chase the car but it quickly accelerated. “Callum! Calluuuummm!”
My mind still hadn’t processed what just happened when the car took a sharp turn on the left where there was a deep cliff. Napasigaw ako habang pinanonood ang kotse na mahulog sa bangin. Raven and I ran to the edge of the cliff and we watched the car tumbling down and bouncing a couple times on some rocks on the side of the cliff before finally landing to the bottom. I just stood there, motionless and still in shock. Parang sandaling tumigil ang pag-ikot ng mundo.
Raven cried out in anguish, dropping to his knees. “Why, Callum? Why? You’re all I have. You’re all I fucking have!”
I grabbed my chest when I felt it tightening. I was suddenly enveloped in deep gloom and darkness. It wasn’t an accident. He drove the car over the cliff. He ended his own life. I could feel the weight in my chest pulling my heart down. Gusto kong umiyak pero hindi ko magawa.
Biglang narinig ko ang paparating na kotse. There were suddenly lights from every direction.
“Run.” I told Raven. “They’re here. You need to run.”
He tried to recover from what we both just witnessed. He stood up and run to through the woods. I just stayed there, looking down at the edge of the cliff. I watched as the car slowly caught on fire. It lit up the darkness that surround me like torch light. Tears started rolling down my eyes.
Maybe in this lifetime, he wasn’t meant to be in my life. Maybe we couldn’t have forever together, but I would still keep in my heart the beautiful things we did have with me for the rest of my life.