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Darryl sat alone by a dying fire. He sighed in contentment. Being around kids that weren’t crazy was really refreshing. He wondered if he did actually have anyone still alive back home, or if he could really still call that place home. Is a place still your home when you abandon it for twenty years? When you left it vowing to never return? Were the mistakes of a boy forgivable?
The hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Something was coming. He jumped to his feet, pulled out his gun, and whipped around. There stood Jones, wielding his own pistol.
“I see you’ve been getting on well, Darryl.” His smiling face was faintly lit by the fire.
“Yes. I appreciate you sparing my life.”
“Well, as I’m sure you’re aware, Takeo wouldn’t. I made a mistake, but that works out in your favor.” He sighed, and began to slowly pace around camp. “I want you to come back with me.”
Darryl kept his gun trained on him. Jones was trying to get him to reveal where the girls were sleeping. He glanced over to a nearby bush, then back at him.
“If you want me to come back with you, make a gesture of good faith, and give me your gun.”
“Wouldn’t it make more sense if we both just lowered our guns?”
“Don’t try that with me Jones. I know what you can do.” Darryl glanced over at the bush again, then back to Jones. “You with a knife puts you on an even playing-field with me with a gun.”
“Fine.” He lowered his gun and approached.
Darryl backed away, keeping the same distance between them. “Nope. Put it on the ground.”
Jones rolled his eyes and slowly crouched down, leaving the gun on the ground.
“Now back away.” Darryl almost glanced at the bush, but stopped himself.
“As you command.” Jones backed away until Darryl was finally at the gun.
Darryl kept his gun and eyes trained on Jones, and picked up the gun. He knew it was loaded with blanks, but he held it pointed behind him.
“Alright, Darryl. You have my gesture, now I want something from you. Where are the girls?”
Darryl swore. “How’d you know?”
“I know you think you’re smart and all, kicking up dirt to cover the pink glass, but it’s not enough to fool me.”
Darryl slowly moved the gun from behind his back to in front of him, and leaned up against a tree. “Well, I hate to tell you this, but they already left. If you go on down the river, you might be able to catch them.”
Jones sighed and shook his head. “Darryl, I’d hoped you’d be honest with me. We already established that you’re not smarter than me.”
In a flash Jones was gone. Darryl took a shot with the gun loaded with blanks, then tossed the other about a foot in the air and caught it.
“Keep hidden!” He shouted.
There was a blur, and Jones was back where he stood before. “Well, I guess you are smarter than I gave you credit for. You were giving me a fake tell, so that you could wake them up.”
Darryl smiled, and began to move away from him, while keeping both guns on him.
“So, since tonight is your shift, who is covering for you, while you go take care of me?”
Darryl nodded. That was good news. Gaines was supposed to fill in if they both couldn’t, but Gaines would report the situation. Dmitri on the other hand, could be persuaded to silence. That meant Jones was here in secret.
“It’s a shame Darryl. I really did like you, and I was actually going to give you a chance to come back with me today. What would make you side against your friends for the sake of these monsters? More importantly what did you think you’d accomplish?”
“You know what they’re doing is wrong, you’re a good man, Jones. I intend to stop it. You could join us. With the three of us, we could easily take them.”
“You know I have to keep this job, Darryl. I’m so close to paying off my debt, and that won’t happen if I let you go.” He shook his head. “I have to do this.”
“What of the reward money that the government would give you for defecting?”
“You know very well they would arrest us both if we went to them.”
“I want you to know I really did like you too.”
“As much as I’ve enjoyed our final conversation, I think you know it’s time to end this.” He began to move towards Ashley’s hiding spot. “You know, I’ve been studying where you were walking, and I think I’ve figured out where one of them is…”
Darryl sprinted over between him and Ashley.
He saw a blur, and suddenly one of his guns was missing. Jones stood over Ashley with the gun pointed at her. “That was a clever trick you did with switching the guns, but when will you learn I’m smarter than you?”
He and Darryl fired their guns at the same time. He knew Jones would close in to Ashley to dodge, so he fired a foot off from him. Vanessa leapt out of her hiding spot and ran towards Ashley.
Jones crumpled to the ground, and Darryl approached. He glanced over to Ashley, and saw she was fine. Definitely shaken up, but fine, and Vanessa was making sure of it.
He suddenly had a sense of impending dread. He tried to raise his gun, but couldn’t get to it in time. He felt an impact in his shoulder.
Jones collapsed forward onto Darryl, knocking both of them to the ground.
Darryl looked over, and saw a knife jutting out of his shoulder. He couldn’t quite feel it yet but it looked bad.
“Sorry…” Jones wheezed. His face was blank, but a single tear flowed down.
“I am too.” Darryl said, before shooting him again.
(Art credit: WordPress Free Photo Library)
Happy day before halloween!