The End: Story Three
By: David K. Montoya
I went back inside, I knew that I needed to clean up before going back to the reception hall, so I slipped away to the closest bathroom. I walked up to the counter and turned on the water to splash my face. I took off my coat, dusted it off, and then wiped it down with a damp paper towel. I did the same thing with my slacks, then turned back to the sink and threw the warm water against my face; as I looked up, I was surprised to find that all the cuts and swelling had disappeared entirely. I stood there for a moment in complete astonishment and decided that it must have been some sort of side effect from the cure.
I took a few moments to finish pulling myself together. Then, before I stepped back out into the reception, I paused one moment longer and examined myself in the mirror that hung over the sink. Surprisingly, I appeared as if nothing had ever happened.
When I exited the bathroom, I was met with Helen and two of her goons. She told me that I should be taken to prison for the attack on Arturo. I couldn't help but grin, which infuriated my ex-wife and demanded to know why I was smiling. I calmly explained that it would take more than her two guards to take me in. At that point, I felt my grin turn into a smile.
Helen paused for a moment and looked at each of her guards, who I could tell did not want to see any form of an altercation whatsoever. Finally, her silence was broken with a heavy sigh; she said that I would get off with a warning this time and that I would have to cover any expenses that directly affected my assault. Helen and her two guards began to walk away, but she stopped and turned back toward me and told me that the behavior I showed outside would not be tolerated and that Haven was a place of peace and science, not one of barbaric behavior like mine.
My ex-wife started to walk away once again but only got a few feet before she turned to face me once more. Helen had a look of disgust as she spoke to me, questioning as to what had happened to me. SHE KNEW that I was once one of the kindest and gentlest people. My response came quick and short, as I told her that life was what happened to me. Her expression changed from discussion to anger. Then, she turned and finally walked away without any more being said.
A few hours passed when the reception ended, and I stuck around until my son and his new bride headed off on their honeymoon. I watched as the guests left the reception hall, most of whom I had no clue who they were. They appeared content, almost peaceful, which angered me somewhat. I didn't know why it did, but it did nonetheless.
As I was off in my own little world, a handhold, a glass filled with champagne, appeared in front of me. When I looked up, I saw it was my sister Rose. She asked if I felt old yet because my child was now married and would be a father himself. I told her I did, but truthfully that thought hadn't even crossed my mind. Perhaps my sister saw that something was bothering me, which there was, but I just did not know what.
We stayed for a while longer, worked on a bottle of champagne, and talked about what went on in the world while I was in the hospital recovering from my gunshot wounds. I learned how Helen allowed all of us free passage into Haven and provided housing and jobs for everyone.
As we finished off the last bit of champagne, Rose offered me a ride home. I laughed as I asked her if drunk driving was illegal in Haven. My sister chuckled and explained that all the vehicles had a device in them called the Safeway Home Program. All anyone would have to do was to enter the key-card and set the program; then, the vehicle would safely take that person home. I asked how it worked, but Rose explained that she did not fully understand its mechanics but knew it was done primarily with magnets. There were the ones built into the road that continuously moved and the three large magnets that came standard with the vehicle.
I laughed and told Rose that that sort of thing should have been around when our mother was still alive. She had more automobile accidents than I could remember. To my surprise, my sister did not react to my humor the way I thought she would. I quickly asked her what the matter was, and her reply came as a question of her own. Rose asked me if I ever missed your parents. Of course, I explained that I did, but my connection wasn't as strong as hers. That I left home at a very early age, as where she never left home, not until we came and got her out of Airepseh sometime back.
We stopped our conversation from there. My sister and I focused our attention on finishing the bottle of champagne. Once it was finished, we decided to head to Rose's car. As we got to the door, she started laughing. I didn't ask or say anything; all I could do was watch her laugh. Eventually, she calmed herself and explained that though our mother could have benefited from the Safeway Home device, she would have had our Father take it out. So other drivers were screwed either way.
I nodded. With everything that had happened, the thought of my parents never crossed my thoughts. The last memory I had flashed to the forefront of my mind, it was one that I attempted to bury deep in the back of my mindour Father had turned into an Unlucky, I knew he had been sick from the girl's and mom had guaranteed me it was nothing more than the basic flu.
But, none of them wanted The Order to learn of him having the Sickness and them taking our dad into a camp to be tested on or, even worse, killed where he stood. With her overzealous belief in a God, I later learned that my mom prayed for him daily and begged for a miracle. But, obviously, that never happened as the morning came when his mind turned primal, and he found mom fast asleep on the floor at his feet.
For all the faith and trouble, my Father ripped her apart like a lion to a gazelle for dinner. He tried to attack my sisters, but they were smart enough to sleep with their doors locked, which in the end, saved both of their lives. Rose called me frantic that day and told me everything that our dad had been sick for almost a month, and they hoped that he would just die you they could give him a proper Christian burial.
That day, I drove to Airepseh and caught my dad clawing agitatedly at Tina's bedroom door. I was able to get behind him and wrap a thick chain around him, and once I locked it together, I pulled him to the ground and encased dad with the rest of the five feet of chain.
After a struggle, I successfully pulled him out of the house and chained him to the closest tree, which caused me to be at a biting distance twice, but luckily I could avoid it each time. However, I remember watching him as he attempted to break free. It was as if I watched in real-time like a body decay; the muscles of his face dissolved, then his neck and shouldershis hair fell out, and within five minutes, the large man I knew as my father was nothing more than a walking skeleton with saggy skin over his bones.
That night, I drove him to the border of No Man's Land and let him loose to join the other Unluckys in that area. Then, I crawled back into the driver's seat and drove away while I watched him in the rear-view mirrorit was not too long before he was no longer in sight, and I never would see my Father again.
Once I got back to Airepseh, we would give my mom's remains her Christian burial; as we concluded, I recall that Richard had returned from his drunken bender. He wanted to kill me for taking our dad to No Man's Land, but even then, he knew better, even if I did not.
I returned to reality and smiled at my sister and agreed; as we got inside the car, I told her that our parents would have turned Haven on its ear, and I was sorry they weren't there to do it.
It was Rose's turn to nod and game me a brief smile.