He said he’d help us find our son. That was his promise, for the 10K we re-mortgaged our home to acquire. Everyone has seen Eric Evanier in the news. He predicted an earthquake in Chile two years ago. Posted about it on facebook, twitter, all the social media outlets when the others ignored him. Before that, he’d worked in a call centre, but he said the gift had come upon him and he’d just known. Just like that: he knew how strong it would be, where it would strike first, how many would die, how many would live.
Enough listened to him that more lived that might have otherwise. Scientists looked more closely at the area to disprove him, only for the truth to fly in their faces a plane right into their their facts. Boom, and it was over. He became one of those talk show regulars, hired himself out for things. And if he wasn’t always right, if he never was that perfect again, it wasn’t much talked about.
He took our money. The fucker took our money, and sent the police on some wild goose chase. They found our son. They found Kevyn, but too late. Nothing Eric said matched up. Not a damn thing, except the colour of a car or some shit. He hadn’t been dead long. That was the worst part, knowing they might have found him if we hadn’t – but we were desperate, Maria and I. We went to churches. We prayed in mosques. We did everything we could to try and bring our son back. Our grief just attracted vultures to prey on us.
It all failed. All the hookum, all the prayers, all the money. Faith is a drink, a high that vanishes too quickly unless you buy another bottle. I’m done with those. I waited, though, waited seven long months after the funeral. I made sure to only use public computers. Found out where Eric lived, surfed parts of the web people don’t to find out how to hack his security system. It was all hard work, which faith isn’t. It was real, which faith isn’t.
He was sleeping in his bed when I entered his bedroom. Not awake. Not aware. Not prepared. I found the gun he kept beside the bed, and that it was loaded. Figured he’d be that kind. I hit him in the face with the barrel to wake him, but not hard. I wasn’t going to make it easy.
He sat up. Eric Evanier didn’t match his publicity photo. Hadn’t in over a year: he had at least fifty pounds on that, probably from eating with famous people. His eyes were pale and wide as he stared up at me. I didn’t bother with a mask. You don’t have to be psychic to work out what that means.
“Steve. Steven Brown.” He didn’t try and run, just sat up and pulled a nightgown worth more than all my clothing about him, in a bedroom worth more than our house had been.
“You remember me.” I levelled the gun at his head. “You’re why Kevyn is dead.”
And then everything went off-rails. He burst into tears, and not the made-for-tv kind. “I did,” he said when he could speak. “Not just him. So many others. I haven’t had a real vision since the earthquake, but everyone knew I was psychic. I read up on cold reading, watched interviews of some famous psychics. Learned to fake things like that did. Sometimes, I think, I got something. Whispers, but never another shout. Never – that. I saw. I knew I wasn’t real but I couldn’t let it go. I couldn’t.”
I install carpeted. Installed them, before everything fell apart. I don’t know anything about cold reading or faking seances, but losing your son teaches you about people. About who they really are, and what they mean more than what they say. And I couldn’t shake the belief he was telling me the awful truth.
I could have asked. Asked for details, insisted on a confession. He kept crying, blubbering about how many he’d failed, how he’d tried, and debts he had to pay off by taking more clients. Debts. As if our son was – as if taking our money was something you did to pay for an extension on your home. I shot him. Twice, right in the head like they do on TV, not even thinking. It didn’t help.
I think I always knew it wouldn’t help. But I had to.
I left. Walked out, threw the gun in the ocean, made it to my car. Part of me wanted to burn his home down around him, but I left it. Like a church: you don’t burn them. You leave them so people can see how empty they really are. I drove for hours, found a hotel. Slept. Woke. Slept again. I’d never felt so empty in my life. The bastard was dead, and I had nothing left in me.
I woke up knowing.
There was going to be a fire in Anchorage. I knew the street name. The building number. I could see – could feel – how many would die. And maybe it was because I was so empty, or because I’d listened to Evan, but I also knew that if I told anyone then the knowledge would never come back.
So I didn’t. I didn’t, because I thought I had to be wrong. Because I needed to be wrong. Only the building burned, and everyone died. Right down to the last detail in the vision. Today I woke up knowing of another disaster, like I did the night before. I can see them now. So clearly. I know what will happen. I know what I could change to alter that.
And I know that changing anything will take this gift away from me.
I’m so sorry, but it’s all that’s keeping me going.