The evening

Stepney made his way from the drinking house back to his home. He was a little unsteady on his feet but that aside felt much himself. He and Calvin had swiftly moved to other topics after her outburst, taking in the news of the day, the latest work at her lab. In time it was hoped they would send a second probe into the heavens, charting the stars and planets above. Perhaps, one day, to bring people there, to forge a new world among the stars. It seemed little more than a dream, yet a dream which grew closer with each passing day.

He took a seat and watched as the screen before him sprang into life. A segment on the missing girls, calling on them to come home, calling on concerned parents to speak out. The segment ended and switched to an entertainment program. A historical drama, set in the days before the war. A man sat astride a large beast, black and powerful, a glorious mane, snorting with a human-like sense of contempt. He bore two weapons, one strapped to each leg, devices of a type not seen in many years. His clothes were of leather, as black as the beast on which he rode, while his head was adorned with a round hat, white, a red ribbon encircling it.

Stepney watched, entranced, as the man made his way over huge, arid vistas, filled with sand and strange plants, in pursuit of others escaping upon beasts of the same breed as his own. The man raised one of the strange weapons and it exploded, discharging plumes of smoke, while ahead one of the men fell from his beast to the floor.

History had never been a favourite of Stepney. Much of it had been lost in centuries past, while what little remained seemed confused and little understood. The present day gave enough challenges, and those to come still more, without being troubled by those days gone and forgotten. Yet at times he was filled with a sense of inescapable loss, of a time thrown out of history, a world removed from all that had gone before and destined to be forgotten by what was to come.

In time exhaustion overtook him and he fell asleep, oblivious as the screen continued before him, the strange man’s quest for justice in a seemingly alien world.

Stepney did not see the gunslinger turn to face him, not the bullets as they flew from the screen. In the morning, he would wonder what accident had befallen his chair, a hole punctured cleanly through it as he slept. Yet like so much else, he would dismiss it as simply one of life’s more trivial mysteries.

Published in: on April 14, 2009 at 5:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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