Time to Repent

Submitted by Veronica Maiorano to Contest #14 in response to: It kicks off on a yacht with the delivery of an important letter.... view prompt

It was just an average summer day for me and my fellow companions. That was until our host got a very important letter. We were in the middle of the sea, it was a lovely afternoon sail and everyone was talking, laughing, and enjoying themselves. That all came to an abrupt end when a helicopter started to fly downward toward our yacht. The noise was so loud we could barely hear ourselves think. We wonder who could be arriving to the party so late? 


The helicopter lands on the deck, a man walks out with the letter in his hand, and he walks over to our host. He asks our host for his name and then hands him the letter. The delivery man gets back into the helicopter and flies off. Our hosts stares at the letter for a moment, puzzled and then decides to open it. His puzzled features soon turn into great concern and dread. He turned around, facing us, and says that one of us is to be dead by nightfall. An uproar of screams and panic quickly arose. Not one person was having fun anymore. But there’s more, he tells us. The only way we could ensure our safety is to repent for the worst thing we have ever done in our lifetime. All of us on this yacht today have earn our ways here through blood, sweat and tears; all of us have something dark to repent for. Whoever sent the letter knew exactly who they were dealing with. They knew we all have done horrible things that led us here, they knew that some of us might have to big of an ego to admit the terrible things. Our only options were repent or death. Either way, the odds seemed in favor of whoever wrote the letter.


After everyone had finally settled down from the initial fright, anger broke out.

“This cannot be real,” said Guest #1, “It’s probably just one of our kids playing games. I bet it was my son and boy is he gonna get it later!”

“Come now, we do not know that for sure,” said Guest #1’s wife, “We-”

“This is all just a sick joke from one of the many, many, people who hate us simply for being rich,” exclaimed Guest #4, “They just want to give us a cheap scare,” he says as he pours himself a drink.

“But what if it’s not? What if we really are in danger?” said Guest #2.

Guest #2’s wife, gasps, and exclaimed, “What if they poisoned our food?”

“No one poisoned anything, we are just fine,” the Host ensured.

“This is all very risky, if we repent we all know too much about each other, things no one is supposed to know, and if we do not repent we risk dying by whatever means,” Guest #3 frantically said.

The Host then proclaimed, “I’d rather perish than repent for the things I did! I have a great life for myself, my wife and my children. I do not regret a thing that I did to get me here!”

Another uproar arises, but everyone is shouting at each other this time. I’m just sitting back, and trying to make sense of this all. I’ve done things I am not proud of to get me sitting pretty in life.


I tried calming everyone down and shout; “Listen here! We all have families and we all have a wealthy, luxurious life we want to keep on living right?”


Everyone agrees in perfect unison.


I go on to say; “The only way I see it is that we all must repent,” another screaming match broke out. “I know, I know!” I said, “This will not be easy for us all, but were are all in the same boat here. Can none of you get past your ego’s to see the horrible things you’ve done and lives you hurt and may hurt some more by not taking ownership? You have the final decision to make but I say we make a pack, whatever we say, admit or do on this yacht, stays on this yacht, on this very day and we never speak about it again or to another soul and move on with our lives.”


There was a quiet murmur between the guests.


“Alright." I said. "Well, someone needs to get it started so it should very well be me then. Now sit and relax while I tell you all about the worst thing I did that sadly got me here and another six feet under. I was under the guiding eye of a mentor, fresh out of college, bright eyed and bushy-tailed, eager to do bigger and better things with my life. This was a man that was like a father to me, mine was never to be found especially when mother or I needed him most. My mentor was a very wealthy man like us, he was also more generous than us. He had no children and a wife who perished while birthing their child who soon after perished as well. He worked hard for the things he had, all honest work, and after years of building a great connection with him he had decided to put me in his Will. I was set to inherit everything he had. Back then I was in debt to a lot of people because when I met my mentor I was just a pathetic gambling child who would lose more money than win and when he did win, drink the money away instead of supporting his dear mother. I had almost paid it all off, but I relapsed and lost a million dollars in two days. That amount was more than half of what I was set to inherit. I needed the money because the people I was in debt to didn’t want to wait around again. I asked my mentor for help and he pushed me aside because he had already helped me once at a great expense. I was furious and he was on his way to take me out of his Will. I couldn’t have that now could I? Sadly, I let that thinking make my inheritance come a bit soon. I killed the only man who ever saw potential in me, the man that treated me like I was his son. I paid off the debt and gave some to my mother and started my, now, empire with the rest. I have to live with that guilt every day, It will always be there until the day I die.” I sat down with the shame that once was a secret.

The Host’s wife goes on to say, “Well, I think I can say that makes me feel better for what I’ve done.”

Guest #1’s wife, jumps up from her seat and cries out, “Our youngest son didn’t drown in the lake by accident, our oldest drowned him after we ignored the many warning signs that he was a sociopath!”

“How dare you!” Guest #1 said in anger. “We agreed to keep that a secret to protect him!”

“Who?” Replied Guest #1’s wife. “That sociopath that drowned our child prodigy? No! He was our child too and he’s gone! Gone!” She sits back down in her seat with her handkerchief drying her tears. Guest #2’s wife comforts her.

Guest #1 says, “Okay, yes! Our son is a sociopath and I tried to convince myself it wasn’t true and then it happened, that fateful day. If I could take it back I would but I can’t and the wrong son is gone.”


“Okay. Would anyone else like to repent?” I asked.

“Nope, I still think this is all just a bunch of hooey!” Said Guest #4.

“Of course it is” Said the Host. “Now if you would all excuse me, I’d like to set myself up in my favorite room with my wife and see how this all plays out.” Him and his wife leave the party. 

It takes about two hours to find out that Guest #2’s wife knew about the affair with their stockbroker all along and the child end result. I’ll spare you the details but let’s just say there was a bit of blood and tears shed from the rest Guest #2’s confession. Guest #2’s wife repented for a situation similar to that of her husbands and baby #2 was no longer his favorite child. Everyone is on edge now, there was still a couple of hours before nightfall and still a leary few that were not sure if they should repent or not.


Three more hours pass, it’s about five thirty P.M. and it is even closer to sunset. People are pacing the deck and pouring more drinks.

“This crazy, this is crazy!” Said the distraught Guest #3. “We can’t be in danger, can we? And, has anyone tried calling for help?”

“And tell them what? Asked Guest #4. “That a bunch of rich people are in danger and we can’t buy our way out?”

“No one would judge me when I repent right?” Guest #3 asked.

Everyone shakes their head and says no.

“Okay, okay.” Guest #3 says as he takes a deep gulp of his drink and sets the glass down beside him. “I think you all know my father as well as I do, which isn’t well, but well enough. He is a very outspoken, prejudice, racist man. He had been pressuring me to date, and go to an Ivy League Alma Mater, and party and what not. He found out I was gay the hard way when he visited me in my apartment and my girlfriend wasn’t the one he saw me kissing, or any girl for that matter. He was furious with me! He called me a disappointment and a disgrace to the family name. I could not take another second of him yelling at me and stormed off. I had been drinking that night so I was a bit impaired. I decided to go for a drive straight into a widowed mother of four. I panicked, I didn’t know what to do. My dad happen to be driving my way and gave me a hand. The next time I saw that poor woman’s face was on posters and that’s how I found out she was a widow and mother of four. Me and my dad never looked at each other the same way again, we never talk about it and I never drove my car or any car again.”

“I’m assuming you never told anyone especially her family?” I asked.

“Nope.” Replied Guest #3. “But they did hold a service a year later. I felt like I had to attend, and I did. I looked into her children’s sad, lost eyes and hated myself. I took the last thing that matter away from them and they didn’t even know what happened, they still don’t. I think once we leave here, if we leave here, I’m going to get what’s coming for me, own up to it officially, I deserve whatever I’ll get.” We all deserve whatever may be coming for us when we step off this boat.

It is now dusk, just moments away from full nightfall and three still have yet to confess their darkest secrets.

“What could be so bad that you cannot just come clean?” Guest #3 says with concern. “Have you not heard the things we all shared? Do you think that we are not all ashamed of it? Until today it was our secret shame, but now that’s all changed.”

“Alright, do you really want to know what I did years ago?” Replied Guest #4.

“I couldn’t care less but maybe this could set you free.” Said Guest #3.

Free. That's what it was all about, no one’s life was in any real danger, maybe the person behind this did still have cruel intentions, but at the same time they just might have, for some reason, wanted to help set us free from the guilt we buried inside long ago. To truly feel the pain and sorrow of what we have done and maybe even try to make things right in the best ways we can, however we can.

“He’s right,” I said. “The truth can set you free, maybe even make you a better person after this is all over.”

“Alright.” Said Guest #4. “This was a time of my life when I was at my lowest point. I thought my life was deadlocked in the same old boring job in the same old small town with my loving wife and daughter who was sixteen. What a beautiful girl she was, her whole life ahead of her, never worried about the future, just the present. I think I learned more from her than she did from me. Of course she was into dating and she was with a very nice guy, planning to go to college on some type of sports scholarship. One night I came home late, drunk and I found a pregnancy test in the bathroom garbage. I’m not sure why, but for some reason I thought it was my daughters. I came into her room screaming and yelling and of course she was confused. I grabbed her by the arm and her boyfriend, who was helping her study for the SAT’s, tackled me to the ground. I got a good hold of him and started beating him up and until he breathed his last breath. In the process of doing so I, without realizing until afterwards, had elbowed my daughter in the face and she fell backwards into the corner of her nightstand and died instantly. Two bodies because of my drunk foolishness. My wife had been banging on the door the whole time and finally made her way in. And when she did, she didn’t stop screaming and crying and punching me. I was in complete shock of what had happened. Soon after that she took her own life. She couldn’t live with the fact that her husband was a cold-blooded killer and she didn’t want another child with such a man. Three bodies, three all within an hour because of me, because I assumed, because I was a drunken wreck. I went to jail, I was bailed out, picked myself up and turned my life around. I deserve to still be in jail, I don’t know why I’m not, but I should be. I am a disgrace as a human and I can never take back what I’ve done, I just have to live with it. So, there, I can’t be free of it just because it’s the truth, but I deserve the guilt that eats me alive every waking minute.”


It is now official nightfall when we hear a loud scream coming from one of the rooms. I rush in and there our Host is, sprawled over his desk with a note in his hand.

“What happened here?” I asked.

The Host’s wife replied, “I don’t know, I went to use the restroom and when I came back he was like this!”

A loud series of gasps and shrieks filled the air.


Guest #1’s wife asked, “What happened?”


“He bit the bullet.” Replied Guest #1.

Guest #2’s wife says, “There a note.” She walks up to him and grabs the note. “Oh my gosh. This is his repent for what he did. He couldn’t live with it so he decided to set himself free in a different way then most of us were set free.”

“What?” Exclaimed Guest #2.


“That’s it!” I said as I rushed over to look at the note myself. “He was behind it all along! There was no mystery man, no real danger, he just wanted us to see the error of our ways and hopefully be better people in the long run. He knew what it felt like to live with guilt for so long and what he did personally affected us all, he wanted to repent in the way he felt he deserved, but he felt we deserved to own up to our mistakes. Our grandfather and father brought us together so he could have one last day of making us happy and maybe making things right once and for all. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel better and I’m sure he does too.”

“Is that pack still in effect for our grandfather and father passing?” Asked Guest #2.


Guest #1 said, “His favorite place in the word was right there. I say we leave him and stick to the packed.”


“Let’s have a vote.” I suggest. “All in favor.”


Everyone: “Aye.”


Host’s wife says very timidly, “Aye.”

We left that yacht and went our separate ways, not knowing what the future holds. 


I started this journal to keep track of the family secrets and hopefully the future generations of the family will learn from our mistakes. My grandfather’s ultimate secret will remain a mystery, although we have our suspicions. The only thing my step-grandmother has to repent for is knowing that about this and not telling anyone so that we could stop him. 


The End.



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0 likes 2 comments

15:32 Nov 14, 2019

This is a fun premise for a story. Maybe adding names to the characters would help it flow a bit better. In the end, it seemed like the story was saying the characters were all related, but it wasn't perfectly clear. If my understanding is correct, it is a fascinating twist. Perhaps this question could be clarified.

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17:50 Nov 14, 2019

I agree with Dana: the idea is pretty good, but never giving names to the characters makes the reader feel detatched from them. If the fact that they're all part of the same family was indeed intended to be a twist (and it's a good one, it makes the secrets they told all the more complex and intertwined), it can still be arranged by sticking to first names. You are good at writing monologues, the speeches the characters give are fluid and don't feel forced. Description-wise, the story could gain a lot if you wrote a bit more about the surrou... read more

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