Todd S. Jones               

8968 Pentecost Hwy.         

Onsted, MI 49265

(734) 260-1535

tjones@myriadminds.com

about 3,000 Words

(Short Story)

     Disposable Manuscript

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Unspoken Truth

by Todd S. Jones

 

Donovan steered the Cadillac Escalade into the parking lot bringing the vehicle to a halt between two faded yellow lines.  He glanced upward through the windshield to see “Jacob’s Liquor Emporium” spanning the top of the building in neon letters.  The store looked like any other of the hundred stores Donovan imagined would look like at 1am; marginally lit parking lot, metal double-door ice cooler near the front edge of the building, blinking “Lotto Sold Here” sign hanging above the entrance, and myriad posters taped to the front windows depicting carefree people smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol.  Except that inside this particular store a man wielding a 12-gauge shotgun had three hostages.

Donovan stepped out of the SUV and shivered.  This year’s winter solstice brought with it a bitter cold that seeped through his custom Italian suit and crept into his bones.  He exhaled and watched the steam from his breath dissipate like the endless possibilities his career once offered. 

He remembered when great men walked the earth as pillars of righteousness.  It was a time when his assignments required meticulous forethought and delicate manipulation to prevent herculean struggles over inner salvation.  The balance had shifted now and with the Council in place the world was left with lost sheep who listened through deaf ears.  Regardless, he still had a job to do. 

Donovan stomped the cold from his legs and squared his shoulders.  He moved with confident steps toward the entrance, his three piece suit flowing with ease over his athletic frame.  He paused to peer through the window between posters and saw the man brandishing a shotgun.  He lifted his suit jacket with one hand while his other flipped the holster’s safety strap that held the twin 10mm pistols against the middle of his back.  Opening one of the store’s front glass doors, he slipped inside unnoticed by the three hostages. 

The store’s overhead heating system pushed the smell of cooked hotdogs, burnt coffee, and cleaning products past Donovan in short dry bursts.  To his left several rows of shelves bowed under the weight of an array of liquor bottles behind the counter where a cash register was nestled amongst a multitude of candy trays and a plastic cigarette dispenser.  The gunman was in the rear of the store, pacing in front of a bank of coolers filled with assorted beers.  This was nothing he had not handled before and Donovan already knew how it would play out; the gunman would not leave alive.   

Donovan took a few strategic steps toward the gunman; passing a smaller counter, opposite the cash register, with a rotary hotdog cooker, dual-burner coffee machine and a rack of adult magazines.  The gunman gave him a knowing side-long glance and continued to brandish his shotgun in the covering faces of the hostages. 

The gunman was of average height and weight with a wind-hardened, leather-like face and unkempt gray beard.  His disheveled jean jacket, stained t-shirt and torn jeans gave him the look of a down on their luck person that was older than Donovan’s forty-ish appearance by at least a decade.        

“The material world is encrusted with temptation,” the gunman said, his voice rumbling with conviction.  “I have been sent to open your eyes and unclog your ears to your self-inflicted damnation.”

The store’s speaker system crackled to life and Donovan could hear, “The Ultimate Sin” by Ozzy Osbourne,

“Overkill enough is enough
There's nothing left of me to devour
You've had your fill I'm all I have left
What can stop your hunger for power
'Cos you took advantage of things that I said
Now the feeling is dead

And that's the ultimate sin
And that's the ultimate sin…”

 

“Nice touch,” Donovan thought. 

The gunman gave him a wink.

{This story is being submitted for publication so I can not post the completed work online.  If you are interested in reading the rest you can e-mail me at tjones@myriadminds.com }