by Bob'n Around
Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
|“I was skeptical at first, but once the change was made I found that having three arms made my life much easier.” Specialist Allen Anthony drew a finger line across a puddle of beer.
“That it?” new date, Amy the hairdresser somebody, smelled like fruity stuff. She’d been attracted to his army uniform.
“Don’t touch. Yes.”
“Ever use it?” Amy had eyes for the short sword hanging between Allen’s legs.
“Defensive weapon. Up close. Saved me a time or two. Want to hear about it, don’t you, about how I take up arms?” He'd left his two other favorite arms at the military base when he'd been kicked out. The night looked promising.
“Got it near here. Went into this hole in the wall, came out with it. Seller had junk. Bit of this and that. Said he didn’t know where it came from. Couldn’t get rid of it. Thought he was upping the price.”
Her hand crawled up his leg to his thigh. “And?”
“When I touched it, he backed away, said it was mine. Superstitious, I thought. Liked the feel. Threw some bills. Been mine ever since.” Allen felt Amy’s fingertips twitch towards the tip of the blade.
Blood appeared. “What did you do to me?” Amy hadn’t cut herself. Allen hadn’t moved an inch. It was the blade. Defensive maneuver. Had a mind of its own. The wound was sharp and deep. It had found and punctured a vein.
“Let me help.”
It was too late. Wide eyed Amy slapped her other hand over the wrist burgeoning life blood. “Monster. You had your kicks. Leave me alone.” She dripped a red trail following her outside the dance club.
There was nothing to do but let her go. The blade winked at him as he paid for their drinks, reminding him how its blessing became a curse. He saluted the air, sniffed his brandy and prepared to swallow bottoms up.
The first time back at the barracks Allen was kidded about his new friend. “Toad sticker? Good luck charm? Ordinance like that get you killed, buddy.”
Allen ignored the jibes. He liked the feel of the weapon in his hands. Word got around. Jokes about an arms race started growing, like Allen had some kind of magic during practice runs. Nobody could stop him. One got close taking the challenge personal. Got bloodied dancing some foreign jujitsu trying to break Allen’s arm. “Get rid of it, soldier, or I will. His sergeant had said.
That night, Allen woke up to find jujitsu with a big red smile across his throat. The chest at the end of Allen’s bed open. The short sword on the thieving man’s chest. Charges pending, needing cannon fodder, he was given a choice.
Allen took it. “Africa. A non war we aren’t winning. You like it up, close and personal. Take your knife, hunt down named terrorist leaders. Give them a smile.”
“Yes, sir.” That’s how Allen became specialist A. Anthony. Kept getting sent out where other’s tried and died. He always came back, mission accomplished, well and alive. His file got stamped private, armed and dangerous, with notes to leave him alone, except when sending him out on a mission.
“Ease up, soldier. You are testing our limits.” The military looked the other way during furlow’s when a bloody bar fight happened. if pressed by local authorities, national security choked off involvement, gave a verbal reprimand as a slap on the hand.
“Yes, sir. I’ll take up knitting.” Once again they let it go. Specialist Anthony had become a minor legend. Anyone going out with him didn’t survive. It raised more than a little rancor. Even the military, though slow and cautious, learned its lesson. A lonely, impossible task was revised into a suicide mission.
“He ain’t coming back on this one. I’m taking bets.” No-one took the colonel in charge up on the offer. For once Allen’s mission wasn’t completed. During mission sign off time, the colonel came up listed as missing. Only Allen had seen the red smile underneath the man’s face the previous night. The short sword had pointed the way to its victim, cut easily through muscle and bone. It was easy to bag up the remains in a tarp and throw it away.
“Man’s seriously out of control,” A group of higher ups met. A few wanted the specialist kept on for plans of their own. The real brass weighed the risk. The legend was growing. Nothing the armed forces hate worse than unplanned notoriety.
“Hush him up with a medical discharge. Get one of our doctor’s to make something up.”
Specialist Allen Anthony finished his drink. He aimed his way to the hole in the wall where his journey had begun. It was there. “Take it back,” he told the darkness inside.
“It’s you,” a low silky voice replied. "You brought it back. I don't want it. It brings bad luck.”
“What, you want me to throw more cash at you for keeping it? No way.” Allen couldn’t bear the thought of dumping it. Fear of what the person who found and kept it would go through was too hard to bear. It felt like this was where the short sword belonged.
“Go ahead. Drop it. The sword will seal your fate if you leave it behind."
That night was the first night Allen’s visit to a singles bar ended up with him making a score. The girl looked like a goddess. Knew how to read his mind and the loneliness inside. “What’s your name?” He asked when she got up to dress and go. “I’d like to see you again.”
“The goddess, Venus. I heard about the human who found and kept a misplaced god’s sword. I like to dabble upon occasion in man’s wildly sensual world where death claims life. I think your own is soon to end. We won’t meet again. Wasn’t once enough? I found it quite exhilarating. Good luck returning the blade.”
She blew him a kiss. It tingled his eyes. He blinked and Venus was gone. In her place, behind where she’d been standing, winked the sharp outline of his short sword. “How’d you get here?” Allen rose from his bed. “I can’t seem to get rid of you.”
A flash of lightning and roll of thunder outside his window revealed a new figure within his room. Allen reached out and the blade floated towards him.
“Mortal combat is it? How quaint. Mortal you are.” A low voice echoed the outside thunder.
“Keep it,” Allen warded off the sword with his hands. “I never wanted it.”
“As you wish. I’ve missed having it at my side.”
In a second flash of lightning the sword sped up, spearing and cutting a red smile on Allen’s throat. His luck, good and bad, ran out covered in blood.
The gods don't like mere mortals assuming magical talents not their own. Never is the man mentioned in this world or any other.
Allen Anthony and his disarming, unbelievable legend died.