A young boy discovers that everything he ever knew about himself and his life was a lie and that nothing was as it appeared to be.
Kevin loved his dad, or it would be more accurate to say that he hero-worshipped him. Rich, successful Roy McDade was a tall handsome man with a wide smile, and best of all, he had all the time in the world for Kevin.
They both had a passion for baseball, and basketball, and Roy had bought them season tickets for their favorite teams. Roy never missed even one of Kevin’s soccer games or even a practice. But Kevin would discover that Roy wasn’t what he appeared to be.
Kevin was fifteen, and he knew that even though his mom and dad adored him, there was something definitely wrong in their relationship. For one, his mom and dad slept in separate bedrooms, and Roy never included her in their outings or treats.
While Roy took Kevin out to dinner every Wednesday, Lily always stayed home. She was a very quiet, sad woman, Kevin thought, and maybe his cheerful, smiling dad felt depressed in her presence.
He tried to talk to Roy about his mom once or twice, but his father had said gently, “Kevin, I don’t feel comfortable discussing your mother with you.” And that was the end of that.
One summer, Kevin’s friend, Doug, invited him to go to a comic book convention. Wandering around, looking at the displays and the larger-than-life cut-outs of superheroes, Kevin was haunted by a memory.
That night at dinner, he asked, “Dad, do you remember when you used to tell me superhero stories?”
Ryan had frowned. “No…In fact, I’m sure I never did. I hate that kind of thing.” Kevin noticed that his mother was very upset by his question, and she quickly got up and left the table.
Keven went up to his room and lay down on his bed. He closed his eyes and heard a voice say, “And then he flew away…But remember Kevin, A HERO ALWAYS COMES BACK!”
He could remember it all so clearly! His father’s loving voice, the gentle hand caressing his hair… But if dad said he never told him superhero stories, he must be right. Kevin must be remembering something he saw in a movie.
Three weeks later, his mother and father went out together to a charity event to which Roy contributed generously. It was rare for his parents to go out together, so Kevin was looking forward to some quality time alone, just him and a pizza.
He was pouring himself a glass of soda when someone knocked on the back door. Kevin peered, but he couldn’t see anything. He opened the door to look outside, and there, on the back porch, was a ragged-looking man.
“Hello, son…” the man said. “Kevin, it’s me, daddy…”
Kevin stared at him. “Who are you? How do you know my name?” he cried. “Get out you freak, or I’m calling the police!”
The most precious thing we have is our loved ones.
The man took one step forward and said, “Remember Kevin, A HERO ALWAYS COMES BACK! I’ve come back, son.”
Kevin fumbled for his cell phone. “I don’t know you…Get out!” He quickly dialed his dad’s number. “Dad, please, you and mom, please come home! There’s this man, he says he’s my father…I’m calling the police.”
Roy’s voice was calm. “Kevin, stay calm, we’re on our way. Don’t call the police, son, I’ll take care of everything.” Kevin hung up and stared at the ragged man.
“My dad’s on his way, so you better get out!” he said, and then Kevin carefully set his cell phone to record, so he’d have evidence of everything this crazy man said.
The man shook his head. “That man is not your father, I’m your father. He stole you and your mother from me. But tonight I’m taking you back.”
“Liar!” screamed Kevin. “My dad is a good dad and a good man, the best there is!”
The ragged man shook his head sadly. “Many years ago I thought so too,” he said. “He was my best friend, and the manager of a bank, while I was a struggling writer.
“Your mom and I had married young, and when you were three, you became very ill. The doctors said you needed open-heart surgery, but I had no insurance and neither did your mom.
“So Roy proposed that I rob the bank. He knew when there would be a huge amount of money coming through and he told me exactly what to do. He said it would be easy — and it was.
“I got out with three million dollars in cash, and I handed it over to Roy for safekeeping. But somehow, the next day the police were at my door. Someone had called in an anonymous tip, and my fingerprints were on the safe.”
“But…” Kevin said touching his chest. “That doesn’t make sense…I mean, I have a scar…But mom said I fell when I was little.”
“It was a lie. Another lie. Like so many others Roy told and forced Lily to tell. He visited me in prison and told me he’d take care of you and Lily as long as I kept my mouth shut.
“If I talked, the police would get the money, and there would be no surgery. So I said nothing, and I did ten years for robbery, while Roy stole my family from me.”
Kevin was listening to the ragged man’s voice. “It was you who told me the superhero stories! It was YOU!”
“Yes, it was this loser,” Roy’s voice interrupted. “This criminal, he’s not your father, Kevin, I am. I’m the one who loves you, and takes care of you!”
“Liar!” Kevin had never heard Lily scream before. “Liar! YOU were the one who talked John into that robbery, YOU were the one who turned him in so you could keep all the money! You forced me to pretend I was your wife! But you are the criminal, you are the monster, and all this time you’ve used your control over our lives to keep John quiet so you wouldn’t go to prison!”
Roy started laughing. “Oh, so the mouse roars! Well Lily my dear, even if John did go to the police, who’d believe that I, the bank manager, had given him the codes and the keys? No one!
“It’s a jail bird’s word against the word of a pillar of the community! So John,” Roy turned to the ragged man with a sneer, “you go right ahead and go to the police, lets see if the truth really sets you free!”
“Dad?” Kevin said quietly. “If you’re innocent, why didn’t you want me to call the police?”
For the first time in his life, Kevin saw his father lose his temper. “Stay out of this you little snot!” he screamed. “I’m warning you!” Kevin walked down the steps and stood by the side of the ragged man.
He lifted his hand and showed Roy his cell phone. “I’ve been recording everything, DAD, I think I WILL call the police.”
Roy turned dead-white. “Give that to me, you stupid brat!”
The ragged man, John, put his arm around Kevin’s shoulder. “No, there’s no need to call the police, is there Roy? You’re going to give me what’s mine.”
“The money…It’s all in the business!” Roy whined.
But Lily smiled. “You have $250,000 in the safe upstairs. We’ll take that to start a new life.” And she went to John and put her arms around him.
Roy was forced to hand over the $250,000, and the keys to his brand new SUV. Lily, John, and Kevin climbed into that car and drove away. Lily kept crying and laughing at the same time, but John just smiled.
As for Kevin, he was on his way to a new life with his real parents and leaving behind a monster who had manipulated him and made him believe in his lies for over a decade.
What can we learn from this story?
- The most precious thing we have is our loved ones. All John wanted from Roy was to get his family back.
- The guilty can’t hide from the truth forever. Roy was a good liar, but the moment he refused to call the police, Kevin became suspicious.
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