Fallen One (07)

Stefan Keller – Pixabay

“It was a young world, the number of the sun rising and falling still a manageable figure for anyone who cared about such things. Threads of its birth still lingered, branching out in any number of ways to remind those who paid attention to what once was and how quickly things had gone awry. It should also be a foreshadowing for those who are looking. But is it ever possible to learn from our past in order to avoid a similar future?

“The chapters have been written and are there for our perusal. But there is little interest anymore as to the past, and there is little interest in reading and certainly not in study. Not flashy enough, I suppose. Not relative enough is another possible argument. But whatever the reason, the failure to do so will be their undoing—your undoing. The world today is not so much different from the world back then. The same bright spots glisten in both eras. The same darkness hovers as well. Success and failures mirror from one age to the next. But there are some things dark and hidden, pushed away into recesses of dusty pages of our past, that have yet to reappear and make their mark on the day in which we live. These are sinister revelations that are fearfully difficult for the mind to comprehend. The horror of it pushes our thoughts away, saying stay away, stay away, and save yourself from knowing of the inevitable. But to do so prevents us from the opportunity to prepare for what is sure to come.

“Are you counted among those who would turn your back on the past, and in doing so ignore the future that runs toward you with gaping jaws of savage teeth? Do you count yourselves as one of the educated and the enlightened who are so blinded to the truth by the deception of your own upbringing and education? You, knowing the failings, the fallacies, and the folly of man, how can you then place your destiny in their hands? Society is broken. Politics is broken. Every system that a human being has ever put into place has finally reached that point on entropy’s curve—that critical stage where every future movement is one of decay and decline.

“That is where you stand now.”

That was where Jared stood as he listened.

It was, as Landel said, difficult to hear. A few times, he walked over to his motorcycle, his hands taking hold of the grips. The thought of escape dared him to get on, start the engine and take off for the horizon. Yet something held him back as he released the grips and stood back.

There was a ring of truth in what he was saying. He didn’t know how his family’s troubles fit into what he was saying, and he wasn’t certain he wanted to know. Exposure to the truth, if what Landel was saying was true, would change everything. He knew that even now, questioning his resolve, trembling where he stood.

He had, for some time, lived happily in the lie that revolved around his family. The lie that was placed at his grandmother’s feet, accepted by law enforcement, county, and state officials, had by now become second-hand knowledge. There had been no questioning of his grandmother’s guilt. She was crazy, after all.

Now—he didn’t know. And even that tiny bit of knowledge, that of his ignorance, frightened him more than he would have imagined. He looked over at Landel, standing on the far side of the barn, stripes of sunshine on his face and chest. He hadn’t moved. Jared wasn’t even sure if he blinked, unnerving in and of itself.

Leaving the motorcycle behind, Jared walked warily toward the stranger, his eyes on the dirt floor. With every step, he felt the urge to run, but curiosity had the better of him and pulled him onward. Soon he stood in front of the stranger. Jared tilted his head up and looked into Landel’s eyes. Jared’s eyes met no twinkle or wink; they did not see a glimmer or a twitch. But what Jared did see was deep and rich, filled with wonder. It was a moment in their relationship where a special bond was made, not one born from love or friendship but brought to life by fearful awe.

“Are you ready?” Landel asked.

Jared’s answer began with a nervous nod. It finished with his words. “I want to know everything.”

This story of Fallen One, is a first draft. I encourage anyone to provide comments, make suggestions, and point out problems.

The need to hear the truth has started to outweigh the fear of hearing it for Jared.

I hope you are enjoying the story.

Have a wonderful day.

Rollin

Fallen One (03)

Stefan Keller – Pixabay

He awoke, startled to a sound that he may or may not have heard. Jared wasn’t sure as he sat there, in the dark, his chest heaving profusely, his body sweating despite the cold.

The old barn seemed to have a life of its own as it groaned under the force of the wind that rattled the doors. The smell of rain dominated the air, and Jared could still hear it falling though it did so in a more gentle manner.

Whatever it was that sent his mind into a panic, he couldn’t hear it now, and he thought it might have been part of a dream. He started to pick up his phone to check the time but thought better of it. There was only so much battery life, and it wasn’t like there were many options for plugging in.

Whether there was anything to the noise or not, Jared knew that he wouldn’t be able to go right back to sleep, so he got up and slipped on his boots. The breeze whistled through the slats as he worked his way around his motorcycle in the dark. A hue of moonlight painted the night, the rays of which joined the breeze through the slats. It striped the barn floor with faint prison bars, enough to avoid any tripping hazards, as he unlatched the doors and pushed against the wind.

Slipping through, he stepped away from the barn a few feet, his arms outstretched and his eyes closed, the breeze having the desired effect. Soon, his mind fell at ease, and he felt a sudden chill. His eyes popped open when he heard it again. He spun around, crouching, hands raised, his head rotating like a turret. The grass fields surrounding the barn were empty, but he wasn’t surprised. He was pretty sure that whatever it was, it came from inside of the barn.

He found an old shovel leaning against the side of the barn. Its handle was ashen with age and the extremes of weather, its blade brown with rust. Jared picked it up, gripping it tightly, and started to swing it. It was cumbersome but doable, and it gave him enough of a boost in courage to go back inside.

Pulling open the door, he peered inside, the wind catching the door and slamming it against the barn. Startled, he stepped up the plate, wielding the shovel like a baseball bat, ready to send one to left field. Claps of thunder caused him to shudder as he adjusted the grip of his hands on the handle. Leaning in, he looked around, carefully stepping as he did. Much of the barn was cloaked in shadow, and it was there that he focused his attention.

A sudden flash of lightning thrust him inside, and he made a mighty swing, one that would have made the mighty Casey proud. With the shovel at the ready, Jared crept forward, moving to the left, a large pocket of shadow ahead. As he took another step, a metal clang stopped him. He turned to see that the blade had struck a lantern hanging by a nail on one of the support poles. His eye caught it as it settled from his wild swinging.

He reached up; his eyes split between the lamp and the shadow until he had it in hand. He backed up quickly, his back to the falling rain, and held the lamp to his ear and shook it. He smiled when he heard the swoosh and dropped his Casey stance, and patted his pockets.

Finding what he was looking for, he dug deep and pulled out the lighter. It was the only other thing he had from his father besides the Triumph. Flipping the top open, he spun the flint wheel three times, sparks flying. The fourth time, the spark led to a flame. The rain was cold in his back, and he had to cup the lighter with his hand because the wind was so strong. It was all becoming an unwieldy mess, so foregoing the shadows for the moment, he dragged the shovel, its handle pinched under his upper arm, held the lamp in one hand and the lighter in the other, and sidled his way back to his corner.

Leaning the shovel against his bike, Jared lifted the lantern’s globe and lit the wick. Then he heard it again. He crouched low behind the Triumph, shoving the lighter back in his pocket. With an outstretched arm, Jared held the lantern as high as he could from his crouched stance, his eyes looking just over the leather seat of the motorcycle.

With the only sound being the effect of the wind on the old barn, Jared took a breath, reached for the shovel, and slowly stood up. With the lantern, he couldn’t play the role of Casey at bat, but he figured that he could do some damage swinging the shovel with one hand.

His sweep of the barn was slow but methodical, and after a few minutes, he stood in the middle wearing his mud-caked boots and holding a shovel like a farmer waiting to be painted. All that was missing was someone standing by his side, and there wasn’t anyone in the barn. He was certain of that.

He trundled back to the corner, his senses remaining on high alert despite the sweep of the barn. He found a nail in the wall close by where he hung the lantern, its warm flame glowing. He then propped the shovel in the corner, leaning so as not to fall over, and sat down. His eyes looked past the Triumph, watching and listening when he remembered that he left the barn door open. As he started to get up, he looked over to the door and, to his fearful surprise, saw that it was shut.

“What the?” was all he managed, as he pulled the saddlebags close and started looking for his Colt. When he again heard the noise, he ducked his head below the level of the bike, the cold steel of his gun in hand. Pulling back on the hammer, he opened the loading gate and spun the chamber. It was fully loaded. His hand had started to tremble as he closed the gate and lifted the gun.

This story of Fallen One, is a first draft. I encourage anyone to provide comments, make suggestions, and point out problems.

Jared Cooper, forced to find shelter in an old barn awakens in the middle of the night to strange sounds.

Have a great day.

Rollin