I told her that she could go lie down. I was back and would stand watch over things and we would be on our way when Richard returned from his little walk. She declined and said that she would stick around to keep me company, if nothing else.
She asked how long it had been since I had any sleep. It took me a moment to recall exactly how long it had been. Then I remembered that it was the night before yesterday. So, it had been some time since I slept-- I went on to explain that I was one of those types of people that could (and most often did) run fairly well without a lot of sleep.
As Renee and I chatted, I noticed something moving in the stretch of brush that was across the parking lot from us. Not knowing if that movement might mean Richard was in danger, I grabbed my revolver and went looking for him, telling Renee to get back inside the SUV and lock the doors.
As I reached the edge of the parking lot, I called out for my younger brother, but did not receive any reply. Moving rapidly through the thin brush, I tripped over something and fell to the ground.
When I hit the ground the gun fell out of my hand and landed a few inches in front of me. Realizing what had happened, I picked the revolver up as quickly as I could. Then I heard something behind me. Not knowing if it was an Unlucky or not, I slowly turned to see what it was. As I made the complete turn, I raised my pistol to fire, but was surprised to find myself aiming at Richardís head.
Then it all became clear to me. Richard had slipped away from the campsite to indulge in what was known as the ĎLast Drug of Maní or LDM, as it is also called. They were a small mushroom type of plant, about the size of a Brussel sprout. They are typically grown wherever itís dark and moist and just one bite is equal to several hits of LSD.
I heard that Richard had gotten caught up in using the LDM in the early years after his wife and child died from the sickness. He used it as an escape from his heartache, but I had long since thought that he had stopped using the drug--obviously, I was wrong.
He was quick to explain that it was a way to help him deal with all the death and carnage he had witnessed, but I could not understand his decision - because of the secluded life I led after my wifeís mishap. He went on to claim that it took away the pain from inside and that without it he would be no better then the Unluckys.
As I continued to hold the barrel of my revolver to his forehead, I could see in his eyes that he truly meant what he was saying. I wondered for a moment if he was really living a worthwhile life. I felt myself gripping the butt of the gun tighter and the edge of the trigger pressed up against my finger. I had to decide-did my brother deserve to live and would I be man enough to pull the trigger if I decided that he did not? Finally, I jerked the gun away from his head. I figured, what the hell, he might be of some use to the group if I kept him alive.
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