Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)
TITLE: THE LAST ADVENTURE
By mick dawson
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Glen Huskison knelt by the side of the old man whom he had come to think of as his mentor, inspiration, and friend. There was so much that he wanted to say to him as he lay shivering on an ancient bed. The rusted framed creaked with the old man’s every movement.
The old man half rolled, allowing a section of bedcovers to fall from his leg. They were no more than a mound of rags that Glen had managed to forage for him. Glen went to cover him, but stayed his hand, knowing that it was a fruitless effort as Vic could not be warmed anymore.
“There’s something I’ve got to say to you, Vic Simons,” Glen said, taking hold of his hand.
Vic pulled his hand free, shaking it as if to remove an oil smear.
“I’ve come to think of you as a father.”
“Ahh,” Vic groaned, snarling. “Don’t get emotional about it, just say it.”
Glen rolled his eyes to the floor, disappointed that his mentor wouldn’t accept his term of endearment.
“Well, it’s just that you’ve taught me how to survive in this world and better still, taught me a trade that I can sell.”
Vic grinned; the grin turning to a grimace, before coughing once more.
“I’ve been welcomed everywhere I’ve been, but then enforcers always are in the communities,” Vic said.
Vic put his shaking hand within his shirt, extracting a crumpled piece of paper.
“There’s a small town within a desert crater, a weeks ride, west of here; it’s called Lorraine Town. Apparently, it’s been there since they cancelled the world. This is their list of laws they want enforced.”
“You want me to sign the contract with their mayor?”
“Yeah,” Vic coughed. “I’m…well let’s face it; I’m dying, probably from eating too much radioactive food over the years.”
“You’re just old,” Glen said, in a mock assuring tone.
“Cheeky young…” Vic said; shifting in his bed, as his hand slipped under where he lay.
“It’s on the table,” Glen said.
A glance from the old man to the table informed Glen that he saw the large knife thereon. Vic sighed deeply before going on.
“You’re too smart for your own good and that’s what worries me. You never take anything seriously. You’re a good enforcer, probably the best I’ve seen, but you make a joke out of everything and that’s what’ll kill you...” Vic trailed off, pursing his lips. “Ah what am I saying, I can’t expect you to be like me. Each man’s got to do things his own way. I don’t have a lot of time so here’s the thing. As you know; I always keep my word. I already told them that I would enforce Lorraine Town’s laws. Would you carry out this contract for me?”
Glen took the paper from his hand.
“Of course I will.”
Another spate of coughing ensued, this time surrendering a small spatter of blood. Glen stared on through watery eyes.
“I’m seventy, but I’ve only really lived the last three years. I was a postie before the war, but now… I’m almost famous.”
Vic lifted a single finger.
“I only have one regret, Glen. I wish I had one more adventure; just one more adventure and I would’ve lived forever. I have a last gift for you in my trunk; you know what it is. My camel is yours and the long coat I’m wearing. Don’t feel guilty about taking it after I’m… gone.”
Glen allowed a tear to fall, only one before taking the coat. Vic would’ve admonished him, severely if he wasted any time weeping. He closed the eyes on the old enforcer for the final time and broke the lock to his trunk.
Within, lay a double-barreled, sawn off shotgun; beside it; a box of shells. Glen thrust it into the holster sewn within the coat, already understanding that he was given no small token. It was most likely the only firearm in existence for a week in any direction.
Glen closed the shack door, and with it, closed a chapter of his life behind him. The camel moaned outside, soon to take him to his first solo contract; Lorraine Town. The mayor would of course, ask his name when he got there. A grin crossed his lips.
“Vic Simons,” he whispered. “You’ll have your last adventure, old man, and I promise you; you will live forever.”
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