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A deadly tale.

© By Gary Morton

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Marvin snuffed his cigar and studied the bucolic scene below. Odors of clover and hay bales lifted his nostrils. A rocky hill, thick with sumac and scrub, stood on the far side. He looked from boulder to boulder, and then he detected movement in the sumac - a brief flash of red.

The Uzi was out of ammo so now he was left with a few slugs for the Remington, and his Bowie knife. It had to be enough for the kill. Picking up, he dashed down the eroded hillside, heading for a small barn halfway across the field. He'd almost reached it when a cow in front of him suddenly blew up - buckets of flying blood milk, something soft and wet whipped his face. But he kept running, drenched in cow gore.

It was locked - Damn! Raising the Remington he fired as he ran, blowing the rusty lock and half the door away. Then he was inside in the musty shade.

“Shit, he's got a grenade launcher,” Marvin said as he took cover at the rear. This was a bad situation. To finish Jimmy he had to get close enough to lay in with the Remington, which meant running a gauntlet of grenades.

And he didn't even get time to get out the door. Grenades hit the barn taking out the south wall. Splinters and burning hay ripped into his left side as he jumped. Once out he ran for the hillside and Jimmy, zigzagging as grenades blew to his left and right.

Luck was with him, he got to a small slate outcropping. It had several large boulders that would allow him to move under cover. Collapsing in the shadow of a rock, he checked his wounds. The Kevlar had saved his upper body, but the left side of his face was roasted, shooting with hot needles. Blood poured on his scorched leg, which was mostly numb, the pain just beginning to come on.

If he died now it would be unforgivable. He'd taken shit from Jimmy all his life. Jimmy, the boss. Always kicking him, always mocking him, and pushing him. This was his chance, Marvin's chance to blast the bastard to pieces - to shut the sucker up.

Jimmy's voice came as a weird echo in the rocks. “Marvin, pussy boy. It's time to die.” Then a rocket hit nearby.

“Son of a bitch,” Marvin said, rising and firing a blast at the sumac. A moment later, he heard a groan and some shuffling in the rocks. He peaked over a boulder, and as he did, something whizzed in from the rear.

An arrow glanced off the boulder, and as he spun, a second one ripped through his shoulder - the force so great it popped his collarbone, making it a crushed chicken wing. Tissue smeared stone.

He was able to follow through and shoot; a white bolt of pain flashing across his eyes as he saw the Remington blast kick Dan in the midsection. It bent him into a V and lifted him up into some bushes, pretty much torn in half, and certainly dead.

Marvin fell to his knees, pain from the arrow forcing him to grind his teeth. Sumac and blood became fire in his eyes. “Damn that Dan. I thought Jimmy already had him out.”

He didn't have a chance now. He was down, unable to lift the gun with his wounded arm. He managed to get the Bowie into his left hand, but it wouldn't be enough to take out Jimmy.

And he could hear him coming through the rocks. Then he appeared at the side of the outcropping, grinning from ear to ear as he noted Marvin's condition.

Still grinning, he walked up, lowered his launcher, and took out his pistol. “Don't feel bad, Marvin,” he said. “It's all very peaceful in the grave. Hell, you won't know you're a loser anymore.”

He aimed, and then Marvin suddenly flew up - the Bowie flashing, going straight for Jimmy's skull. It went in and the gun went off - which made them both losers. Marvin falling back with a bullet in his chest, and Jimmy looking like a stunned ape, going down with a Bowie planted between his eyes.

Some people are fortunate and go to heaven, but Marvin went to hell. He felt something being ripped from his head, and then he saw his wife's angry face. She threw the VR gear to the side. “Marvin, how many times have I told you to stay away from little Tommy's game toys? Grow up; you're an accountant not a kid. The lawn needs mowing and you didn't get the groceries yet. I want you to . . . and . . . .”

His head spun, he covered his eyes with his hands. If he took any more of this, it would be unforgivable. He'd taken shit all his life. Mary, the boss. Always kicking him, always nagging him, and pushing him. This was his chance, his only chance to shut her up once and for all. Reaching in his pocket, he found his letter opener, and then he came up and planted it in her right eye.

Marvin didn't even watch her fall, but heard the thump as he went back to his son's gear, picked up and . . . .

Marvin snuffed his cigar and studied the forest scene below. Odors of toadstools and rot penetrated his nostrils. He raised the rifle . . . .

---The End---