A Troubled Man.
As he watched Malcolm being led away, Neville felt sympathy rising inside him as he saw the man who was just as haunted about his past to the point where he was skittish and unassertive being led away and cuffed; he could certainly understand now the case had been solved what had driven Malcolm into murdering the old school bully who had haunted him at school, made his life a living hell to the point where his life had been awful, but he had been right when he had told the man he hadn't needed to kill Will Arnot, but truthfully Neville was amazed it hadn't happened before now.
Arnot struck him as the type who'd have had dozens of enemies who'd have loved to have taken things so far, and it was ironic that compared to them, a virtual nobody had done the deed, people who were stronger mentally and physically than Malcolm.
Bethan Miller had lost her brother because of Arnot; Bethan's brother had been in the army and was deemed weak for reasons Neville hadn't really bothered to determine, and it was enough for Arnot to take a few people to beat the poor man to death. Bethan had known Arnot was out here; she'd said it herself, and she had a damn good motive for murder. She had tracked the man down to Saint Marie where he had taken work as a survival instructor, but he had checked up on her as well. As soon as he had learnt who was coming, Arnot had immediately launched an internet search when he had wondered if she was related to the same Miller who had died under his watch, and she was.
From what Neville had discovered of the man, how haunted he was, driven to self-loathing when he was sober, prone to violent fits of temper especially when he'd been drinking while snivelling like a child, begging those around him to let him keep the job he had now while he used his army experience to teach them survival skills, Will must have been waiting the entire time for a confrontation between himself and Bethan.
Will had also caused problems for Casey; while Neville personally found the woman endearing in an obnoxious kind of way, she had a motive as well except it was more flimsy because he doubted anyone whose phone was ripped away from them would be killed in such a way.
But there were others who'd hated Will Arnot in some way or another, and as Neville had pointed out and noticed, the man had told psychiatrists how his death would satisfy others; the fact he would say that spoke volumes of his PTSD. Neville didn't know what had happened to the man when he had been fighting. He didn't want to know; he saw enough horrors as it was, but he genuinely did respect soldiers for what they did. They had a tough job at the best of times.
Neville felt sorry for three people on Mozzy island. Bethan. Malcolm. And Will.
Bethan had just come to the Caribbean to discover the truth behind her brother's death, although what she would have done if she hadn't gotten a satisfying answer, Neville did not know.
Malcolm… he had spent his entire life haunted by what had been done to him at school by his old enemy, Billy Wainright, aka Will Arnot who had changed his name after his parents' divorced. Neville himself had an idea of the kind of horrible things Malcolm had gone through - you could see it clearly in his face whenever you looked at him; a haunted look on his face which made him look much older than his actual age, heard him speak… Neville had been bullied frequently at school himself; his allergies and his issues had caused him more troubles than he'd needed, and that was before his controversial choice to join the police, and he'd risen in the ranks.
But it was because of his own past Neville felt a deep understanding and pity for Malcolm; his marriage had gone to hell because of his indecisiveness, his inability to fight back, and when he'd come here to Saint Marie to toughen up… Neville had no idea how he'd felt when he'd laid eyes on an older Billy Wainright. It was ironic out of the two men, Malcolm had recognised him at once but Arnot hadn't recognised Malcolm. The other man must have been shocked, horrified, and terrified it was going to happen again, the bullying and the abuse. And it had.
But Neville took a moment to reflect on Will Arnot's life.
The man had been troubled, a bully who'd lash out at everyone around him, everyone who was weaker than himself, but now that he knew about the man's never-ending problems before his murder, Neville wondered if Will had been lashing out at everyone around himself at school due to the problems he was having at home; it wasn't unknown for children to lash out or act out against those around them because of things going on behind closed doors.
Maybe that was the reason he had become such a dedicated bully? Maybe Will had a simple inability to take care of his own problems in a better manner than bullying others weaker than himself that he had joined the army in order to find a better outlet?
It was certainly possible. But it was clear regardless of what he had gone through during the days he had been fighting, Will Arnot had been a truly troubled man, who'd tried to drown his sorrows and his grief in alcohol, but he had just made things worse by lashing out at everyone around him, guilt-ridden when he was sober and realised what he'd done when he'd had the time to calm himself down.
But what he had done shortly after Malcolm had done on the beach, when he had realised he was going to die… Neville could not fault him much for trying his hardest to not cause any problems for Malcolm even if he would have been justified doing it. Will Arnot had spent years telling people trying to help him the only way people could find peace would be if he simply stopped existing.
He only hoped the man was at peace now.
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