Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sue and The Bureaucrats - An Excerpt

(No new news here, just another excerpt. Enjoy!)

"You have a bit of your father in your eyes son, the way you looked at me just now. Not the crazy mad kid that I have raised for all these years, I figger that comes from your ma. But the cold hardness of a man who has faced his fears and found himself stronger for it. You got that in you, you know?" Sue was not so sure he did, but not wanting to contradict the sheriff now, simply nodded."Alright, enough beating around the bush. I was following your pa one night just before you and your ma drifted into town, he had left the saloon early and headed for the hills. I think I was able to catch him unawares because I didn't follow him directly. I watched which direction he rode and made a guess as to where he would end up in the pine bluffs just north of town. He was taking the trail, which goes all the way around the bluff, so I just cut across and went straight up and over, cutting the distance in half. Even so it was a close thing. Had I come upon that clearing thirty seconds later, I would have just ran into a scary old man in the darkening evening." The sheriff took off his hat and rubbed his bald skull with a handkerchief. Sue was surprised to see beads of sweat forming all over the man's head. Once again he was impressed with the great weight of dread this man inspired in people."I rode over the top of that bluff and down into a wooded valley just off the trail. I tied my horse to a tree and set off on foot towards the trail, hoping that I would be able to see him as he passed so I could get an idea where he was headed. But then I saw a flash of light off to my left, and..." here, words seemed to fail him. He appeared to struggle with himself for a moment, then continued in a shaky voice, as if he disbelieved the words coming from his own mouth."Kid, I tell ya', that light was not like any light you have ever seen. It wasn't from a campfire, or a candle, or a lamp. I even traveled to the city once and saw some guy light one of them new 'lectric lights, and it was nothing like this. This was a cold white light that seemed to come from the sky, like a star was leaking light down on just this one spot. And in the spot where this light hit the ground stood your pa." He shook his head, but continued nonetheless, his eyes boring into Sue's with an intensity that excited and alarmed him in equal measure."He was standing in that light, and talking to someone, just like I am talking to you right now. Then he reached out his hand and made a little gesture, and the light was gone. I was so dumbstruck by what I had just seen that I must of made some kind of a noise, and his head snapped around and found me hiding in the brush at the edge of the clearing. At first, he looked mad, and I figgered that my time on this earth had reached its logical conclusion. I thought of reaching for my gun, but my arms wouldn't move. After a second, he smiled, that grim humorless smile of his, and waved me over to him. Just like I couldn't draw my gun, I couldn't resist his invitation. I walked over there, and he laughed, and held out his hand as if to shake it. I was still too scared to move, so I didn't shake his hand. Then he spoke to me." The sheriff shook his head, and a nervous laugh escaped him. "Just like we were old pals and I hadn't seen him just talking to a strange light from the stars. Asked me how my family was doing. What do you think of that?" Sue shook his head, not quite sure what to think. The sheriff continued: "I couldn't really answer any of his questions, just sat there like a fool with my mouth hanging open, and then, out of nowhere he asked me if I ever met an alien before. I wasn't even sure what that word meant, and I told him so. He laughed again, and asked me if I had ever met anyone from another planet. I was still pretty perplexed, so he pointed to the sky, and said 'from the stars, up there. you ever meet someone from the stars before?' Well, to tell the truth, I still had no idea what he was talking about, and I guess he could tell that by looking at me. He laughed again at my confusion, and then he reached out and clapped his hand on my shoulder. 'Sherriff, I think you may be the first man I have met on this planet who has had the guts to even try to figure out who or what I was, let alone follow me off into the darkness. I want to tell you a few things, and it is important that you try to remember them word for word, since you ain't gonna understand most of what I gotta say. Pretty soon I am gonna disappear. Shortly after that, a lady and her boy are gonna show up in town looking for me. When they do, I want you to make sure that they stay in this town. When that boy becomes a man, he is going to be a lot different from his peers, and he will need a little nudge in the right direction. I need you to give him that nudge. Bring him to this spot, and give him this guitar. If he is the person I think he will be, the rest will come natural to him. Can you remember all of that?' he asked me, and I stood there with my mouth gaping open until he laughed again, and slapped me on the back. 'I knew you could. I guess there is no reason for me to stick around here. You remember what I told you and make sure that boy gets here when he is ready. Don't bring him too soon, or too late. I think you are the kind of man that understands what I am trying to say. Have a good evening!' he smiled friendly-like at me, and then walked back to the center of the clearing. He pulled something small and silvery out of his pocket, and poked at it with his finger a few times. Then the light came back, shining right out of the sky just like before. He turned around, tipped his hat at me, and then dissapeared." sue stared at the Sheriff, trying to guess the meaning of his words. Was he putting him on? Of all the folks in town, only the Sheriff had never ridiculed him for his station in life, for his name, or for the strange things he did or said. Was he finally joining them in creating some hugely extravagant joke to ridicule him? Yet watching the play of emotion across this hard frontier lawman's face he didn't think so. This was a hard man, one of the hardest he had ever known, and yet he was scared to the core at the memeories he had just spilled. Not scared for his life, not scared for his soul, but scared like a person who just realizes how small they are in the grand scheme of things. The way a man will feel who has been raised in a city when he is first confronted with the wide openness of the prairies, or a towering rock tower in the desert. The feeling a man gets looking down from a great height. It is not fear of death, it is fear of the unknown, fear that forces exist in this universe much greater and more powerful than anything our pitiful intellect can imagine. As Sue pondered this, another thought entered his mind. While the fear in the eyes of this man he had known for so long was strange and discomfitting, none of the things he had told him in themselves caused him any fear at all. Quite the opposite in fact, as he pondered the thought of people who came from the stars, or who called down starlight from the night sky and then disappeared into it, he felt a twinge of familiarity, as of a forgotten dream suddenly remembered. Excitement rose in him as he realized that this crappy town, and the hundreds like it that he had wandered through with his mother were as small and insignificant as he had always thought them to be. Suddenly the universe had promise, and the future held hope. Suddenly he was on his feet. "Let's go! Take me there now!" The sheriff nodded, as if this was exactly what he had expected. Tossing back the rest of the whiskey in his glass, he pushed back from the desk and stood up. "Alright son, let's go and see what it is your pa left for you."
© 2007 Tyler Willson. All rights reserved

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