All things come to an end, and the world of The Patron’s draws ever closer. A delightful little distraction that started out as a thank you to a kind donator to my charities found here, has become an enjoyable light hearted story to keep me writing when other writing feels strained. I hope you forgive me the long gaps between. I’d claim the horrors of writer’s block but in truth I find it quite easy to tap out the story once I sit down to do so. If you’ve missed the other installments The Patron can be found here. If you haven’t, well here’s another. Things drawn down towards mayhem in…. The Patron – Part 10!
THE PATRON – PART 10
“Hello brother.” The words feel like razors dragged from The Patron’s mouth, cutting his insides. “I thought I might find you here.”
“Hello again brother, I thought you might come looking,” he responds, leaning heavily on his cane. The clank of machinery fills the space around them. In between there’s something else, the air crackling before a storm.
“He had these Boss,” the scarred thug to his right says. Turning his free hand he shows the cane and pistol, tiny in his huge paw.
The Patron laughs, blood staining his teeth. “The Boss.” The laughter rolls out and down his chin with the blood. “I knew it was you as soon as I heard the name, such a flare for the melodramatic.”
“Well, stick to what you’re good at brother.” The Boss stops, taking a slow, wheezing breath. “You’re hardly one to judge. ‘The Patron’.” Another smile creeps lazily over the tired face.
“Does it have to go this way?” The Patron asks, eyes searching for something other.
“You’re the fool who came here!” his brother yells back, spittle gathering at the corner of his lips. “Why couldn’t you just leave it be. Why couldn’t you just leave me dead!” The words turn to a hiss of anger shooting from his mouth. “Why couldn’t you leave me!” He stamps his cane against the metal floor, a chime of rage that’s strangely muted in the tension that smothers the room. As The Boss’ hand moves the cuff of his sleeve shifts, revealing a jagged burn that stretches up into the shadows of his suit.
The Patron’s eyes drop to the hand clutching the cane, lingering on the scar. “I couldn’t leave you there.”
“It would have been better for everyone if you had,” The Boss replies. He follows The Patron’s eyes, angrily tugs down the arm of his suit. “This is what you made me,” he sighs, heavy with pain. Another heavy step forward and he’s into the light, the scar reaching up out of the suit and towards his left eye where a single tear gathers. “Why?” And despite all the years since the day it changed, despite the path he’d chosen to hide what had come before; The Patron couldn’t stop the guilt that swirled a maelstrom in his stomach at the thought of how it might all have been different if he’d left his brother in that fire.
“I’m sorry I got you into it,” he chokes out, the guilt crawling up his throat like bile. “I’m sorry brother. Young is just another stupid, and we were younger than most. We wanted it more than most.”
His brother looks back, through that one tear and into The Patron’s uncertain eyes. For three broken heartbeats The Patron thinks he’s reached him, that they’ve pulled each other back from the brink of something terrible. Then it snaps.
“No,” The Boss says, softly, shaking his head.
It is gone.
“Give him the cane, it’s hardly much use. Throw the pea shooter to Dave,” the voice is gravel over steel again. “Let’s show him what sorry really feels like,”
The Patron’s pea shooter sails through the air, caught in one hand by The Boss’ number one. The cane is handed back to him, the thugs stepping back to a safe distance. A gun is cocked. It’s more for dramatic effect than any real threat; they wouldn’t shoot this close to the engines with The Boss here. The Patron looks around, maybe twenty of them in the room at this point.
Behind The Patron a heavy metal door slams. That’s the road not travelled now. A wheel grinds as it locks. There was no going back. They had been heading here for years anyway. The time had come.
The Patron’s hand twists around on the liver bird that tops his cane. The knuckles that grip it are white. Muscles shift beneath his suit, ready to spring. This would be his best chance, one quick lunge.
The big guy to his side shifts uncomfortably, he can sense something. Too late big guy. A half step back on one foot. One silent goodbye to his lady whispered in his head.
“Oh, a moment before you do anything rash,” The Boss says, reaching out with his hand curled around a phone. “There’s a colleague of mine that has someone I’d like you to speak to.” A shaking finger taps a button.
“Babe, babe is that you?” the voice is tired, scared. “There are some men here.”
All the tension in The Patron shatters at the sound of the strain in his wife’s voice. It drains out from his muscles, pulled out of him to puddle below in an exhausted defeat.
A wheezing cackle starts up again, stabbing at The Patron with his failure before, and his failure now. “That’s the problem with having people you care about. Sometimes you just can’t save them.” The light behind The Boss casts a dark shadow that follows the ragged line of the scar down his face. Below it a white toothed smile grins wide in victory.
TO BE CONTINUED…