The Nail (2)

Book 1: Chapter 2
June 7

Now, you’re just going to have to trust me on this next part as to how I know what I know, but for the time being, just take my word on this, OK?

So after my assailant confirmed I was dead, he held his blade up, watching my crimson-grey blood cascade down the metal. “I wonder…” he brought the knife to his mouth and licked his tongue along the shank. “BLAH! PLUFF! Why, it tastes like… dusty moth balls? Baron, don’t tell me you’ve been crazy enough to experiment on yourself too?”

Yet he didn’t stick around for an answer, and I was in no condition to reply. And although the record player hadn’t been disturbed by all this commotion and was thus still playing the Jim Reeves Anthology — now softly sounding Guilty through the speakers…

[Note to Reader: This is Chapter 2 of Book 1 “The Pawns of Prophecy” – if you missed the start of the book, click here return to the main page. ]

Dufus that he was, the intruder never noticed this cruel coincidence and instead quickly began the task which he came here to do – ransacking his way through my home, he pulled down rows of dusty books from built-in shelves, broke open my dilapidated cabinets, and cleared my closets of rummage, whiskey bottles, and even my dirty laundry — looking anywhere and everywhere for but one specific treasure.

It wasn’t cash, or jewels, or anything else which held worldly value – for I had none of that and my intruder knew it.

Instead it was… something else.

(Fool! He has no idea what he’s about to do. But, whatever happens, YOU are here to witness that it wasn’t my fault, right?)

For a moment the bearded brute paused in thought as he stood among feathers still floating in the air after slashing my mattress (yeah right, like I would hide It in there?). “C’mon, I know it’s here somewhere.” And he scanned the room, until finally, “Aha — the TV!”

And in a flash, he bounded back into my living room.

I still lay motionless in an ever-growing pool of blood, yet the murderer paid me no mind as his eyes searched for something specific – for it wasn’t really the TV he was after.

When he couldn’t readily locate his desire, he took a step back behind the Laz-E-Boy and retraced the steps of his intrusion; throwing a shadow punch or two to mimic his previous assault, and then following along the path of his destruction, finally he came to, ”Yes, I’ve got it!” And he hungrily grabbed the rectangular box which the rabbit ears had previously sat upon.

“Ha, Antennae Stand my ass,” he ogled the smoke-scorched caisse as he took a seat in my chair, caressing the 10×6” black box. “So this is one of The Three, eh? Oh, my lord is going to be so happy with me — I wonder what kind of reward I’ll get?”

He scanned the sides, trying to see how to open the box. When he located the tiny s-clasp, “What the–? John, you don’t even have this locked?” And flicking off the clasp he then began to open the box “Is that any way to protect one of Jes—“

<Rrraboom-boom-BOOM!>

Thunder shook the house, and the temperature suddenly plummeted – surely sending chills tingling over the man’s body — yet still he looked into the box.

Color left his face and he was gripped in a cold sweat — yet still he looked into the box.

His lips began to crack from a sudden parchness and he tried licking them, but by now his tongue must have been as dry as the desert sands — yet even still he looked into the box, totally captivated by the object inside.

Minutes turned to hours while the intruder sat motionless, absorbed by what was once my most prized possession. Until at last, the man began to reach a meaty paw into the case…

<RrraBOOM-BOOM-BOOM!>

Yet, even as he griped the cold relic, he must have realized it was a deadly mistake.

“YAAAWWWPP!” He wailed in agony, flying backwards over the chair. Unable to let go of that which he came for, my murderer’s screams continued for but a moment more, and then he collapsed in a heap, bleeding from ghastly holes in his hands and above his ankles. After only a moment, his shirt began to fill with blood, and I knew that his side had been ripped open as well — allowing his punctured lungs to let flow their contents. Even his hair became matted from the blood that also pulsed forth from the multitude of tiny punctures that wrapped a picket-fence around his scalp.

Oh, please don’t be surprised by any of this, after all, this is the way it always happened – as another would-be burglar died a death infinitely more gruesome than that which he had inflicted on me.  

In fact, I myself could tell you this, for I had witnessed the man’s demise.

Rising from a pool of my own blood – and feeling older than ever — I frowned as I looked upon the new mess in my living room, “Hrmpf. I suppose I have to clean up another one.”

After taking a quick breath, I hoisted my intruder-turned-corpse over my shoulder and then carried him out through the kitchen door and into my backyard.

I live on the outskirts of Williamsport, PA – the name of the township is actually called ‘Cogan Station’ – I doubt if you’ve even heard of Williamsport and I KNOW you haven’t heard of Cogan Station – and that’s fine by me. I bring it up now just so you can get an idea of my lifestyle.

I prefer to be alone.

I live in the woods and while there are a number of other home sites nearby, I don’t have any neighbors within shouting distance and that’s the way I like it. My place is located about five miles off the main road and it’s a good ways into a wooded glade. I have the land cleared out around my house, but there’s still quite a bit of woods that surround me.

All of which means I get to keep my privacy – usually.

Every so often I get a visitor – someone from a elderly outreach center, or a neighbor who forgets that I don’t like to be disturbed, or perhaps a group of courageous kids who are looking for trouble. And sometimes I’ll get a visitor like the fellow I got today — which is always a bit of a nuisance.

And so there I was, hefting this goon over my shoulder as I made my way into the yard. If you saw my lands, you noticed that the rear of my ten-acre property has quite a few dirt piles scattered around; to most people these mounds would probably look like mere compost heaps for my garden — and on the surface they are.

But dig a little deeper and you might be surprised at what you find.

In any event, I spent the next hour and a half going about the task of digging yet another grave, after which I gruffly tossed this night’s attacker into, and then finally hauled some compost from another pile to cover this site as well.

“I’m getting too old for this crap.” I wiped my forehead with a handkerchief. “God curse your soul, scoundrel. You made me miss my Phillies. Amen!” Then I threw down my shovel and stormed back towards my house.  “Maybe I can catch the postgame?”

Then, casually picking up the object which had just recently caused the death of my attacker, I placed the thin piece of black iron back into its case. 

But just as I was trying to get the TV upright, a new Jim Reeves’ song came filtering out of the stereo speakers – Adios, Amigo – and I couldn’t help but sing along, in good cheer at last, “Adios, Amigo. Adios, my friend. The road we have travelled has come to an end…”

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