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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 38

Eva watched the man she knew as Beau Johnson walk back to his saddlebags, her face still locked in an expression of mixed hatred and disgust. She felt her father grab her hand and pull her into the cabin of the stage as she reluctantly looked away from him. Her father tried to catch her eye as she settled into the cab, but she pointedly ignored him, trying to get a tether on the seething rage she felt as she grabbed one of the sets of clean linen they had brought with them. She was unfolding the sheet when her father finally spoke, breaking the thick silence that hung in the cabin.

"Eva...sweetheart. I'm sorry. He was my friend too, Rex helped raised you, he's been a member of this family since you were a little girl. But as much as you hate that man, hell, as much as I hate that man, part of you has to know he was right. Rex was going to turn, like little Evan had. We were to late."

Eva listened to her father's words, but she couldn't bring herself to really hear them. Rex had been like a second father to her. He'd taught her how to ride, how to rope, how to shoot. He'd never tried to force her into a dress, he'd always said she was to much like her real father. There was no changing that man's mind, and there was certainly no changing hers when she set to it. She bit her lip, hard enough to draw blood, as she choked back a sob. She felt the brush of her father's hand, his gnarled, weathered fingers wiping away the lone tear that trickled down her cheek as her body let out a small shudder. So much death. So many friends.

"Remember him as the man he was Eva. Remember him as I will."

Her father pulled her into a tight hug and held her for a long time, the kind of hug they hadn't shared since her mother's death. She stayed in his arms, trying to remember Rex's face, and not the look on that man's. Not his damnable smile. Eventually she found her breath and her composure, and sat back up. Caleb gently released her as she used the edge of her sleeve to wipe her face. The two of them then dressed Rex's body in the new linen, covering his ravaged face. The red of his blood had already turned a ripe, greenish black and Eva tried to ignore the truth in what Beau had said. She knew his reasoning had been a lie, coated in a measure of truth yes, but a lie none the less. That man killed because he liked it, not because he had to. She knew not to ignore her instincts when they flared like this. That fore sight, her trail sense as Rex had called it, had never steered her wrong. Her emotions might be frayed after what she'd seen this day, but that tell tale flair around that man was the one thing she knew was true. Beau Johnson was not a man to be trusted.

"Eva, as soon as we reach Desperation, we'll dispense with the man. Until then, out here, with all those ...creatures out there we need to stay in a group. Just a little longer my dear."

" I know father, I know. Just don't judge me harshly if I keep my gun handy."

He smiled sadly as she let herself out of the cab. She straightened her clothes out as she touched down, seeing Thomas and Bartley standing at the edge of the bluff. To her left, Beau Johnson sat, his saddle bags slung across his legs as he idly rolled the chamber of one of his Colts across his wrist. He had a small smile, which unnerved her. She fought back another shudder threatening to slip down her spine as she walked over to Moore and Bartley. As she neared she knew they were talking about Beau and the incident with Rex in hushed tones. They stopped in silence as she drew beside Bartley.

She looked down at the scattered masses of undead that ringed the valley floor, stretching across the grassland to the softly lit walls of Desperation at the edge of the peninsula.  It would be a difficult stretch, but if they rode hard, really pushed the horses and watched each others backs, they just might make it. She glanced back at Johnson, her lip curling, and wondered just when he'd make his move. She already knew when she was gonna make hers.

"We ride at dawn."

End of Line.

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