A Grim Conclusion

A Grim Conclusion

By David Allen

The early morning sun had just begun to rise over the tree-tops, spilling a deep red glow across the sky. An old man in brown trousers and a green tweed jacket strode briskly down the path through the park, swinging his cane and whistling softly into the breeze. He smiled to himself, taking in the beautiful scenery and the peaceful quiet. He loved walking through the park in the morning, it rejuvenated him.

The old man stopped beside a green park bench and sat down to watch the remainder of the sunrise. His mind wandered with a freedom only few have experienced, he closed his eyes and began to nod off. Sleep over took him in a matter of minutes.

"Hello," came a voice. The old man's head shot up instantly, he glanced around and saw that a young man with tangled blonde hair was standing directly in front of him. The man looked as though he had just crawled out of a dumpster. He wore a tattered black suit that sported several layers of dried mud and grease. It looked as if he were in his early twenties. "Sorry to wake you," the man said. "But may I sit beside you. I need a rest, and this is the best seat in the park."

The old man hesitated slightly and forced a friendly smile, "Of course." He paused as the man sat down, "Do you have a name, son?"

The man smiled, "My friends call me Stan. And you...?"

"Gregory McFinnly." He shook Stan's hand firmly and suppressed a yawn. "It's a beautiful morning."

Stan nodded and turned to face the sunset, "Its too bad it all has to end."

"What?" Gregory cocked his head.

"It'll be all over soon," He smiled faintly. "I work for the government. At least I did until last night; they fired me." He paused as though he were awaiting an inquiry from the old man. When none came he continued, "I know things. Of course I swore I'd never tell them to anyone, but, Oh well. What can they do?" He laughed softly, "They'll kill me. Me and whoever I was talking to."

Confused, Gregory shook his head. "I'm afraid I don't understand."

"Oh you will." Stan replied, his gaze still fixed on the sunrise, "You will."

Gregory stared blankly into the wash of red and pink that swirled elegantly around the rising sun. He was beginning to feel slightly uncomfortable, he shifted his feet nervously. "Pardon me, Stan, but what are you trying to say?"

"I know more than they ever wanted me to. So they fired me and warned me to keep quiet or else." Stan gestured toward his ragged attire, "I'm don't intend on keeping quiet and they know it. I've been running from them for several days now." He turned to face Gregory, "They're watching us right now. Believe me, they can hear every word we say. They've got guns trained on both of our hearts, ready to shoot." Gregory's eyes widened. Stan continued, "Not to worry, Gregory. I'm done running. They'll have me by sundown, it'll look like a suicide. No offense, but you don't pose much of a threat. I'm sure they'll let you go with your life," Stan nodded to himself. "I can't even begin to tell you the things that I know."

"Know about what?"

"This country, this world, conspiracies, conspiracies within conspiracies. Christ, I could even tell you who shot JFK. I could tell you the truth about UFO's. Anything." He grimaced, "Sorry to put your life in danger. But somebody has to know."

Gregory reached for his cane.

"No!" Stan shouted sharply. "Stay; I have to tell you. I need to tell someone. Don't you see? Its ending, the world is ending! They wont even tell us when we're about to die! 'It can't be stopped' they say, 'So why let it out?' I'll tell you why, Greg. Can I call you Greg? Good. I'll tell you why. Because the people deserve to know! They're playing God! Who gave them the right to hide our fate from us? God certainly didn't! If everyone knew, then earth could settle its differences and live in perfect harmony in the final days before the end came! It would be so wonderful..." Stan broke off mid-sentence and shook his head.

Gregory was stunned. "When? How much time do we have?"

"Some." Stan nodded, "Enough time that we could all throw aside our hate and die in peace."

A gust of wind swept past. Suddenly the sunset didn't seem as beautiful as it had before. Gregory stood up, cane in hand. "I should go now."

Stan shrugged, "What difference does it make, my friend?"

Gregory shook his head absently. His mind swam deep in thought. He found that he actually believed Stan's prophetic words. Even if it was a lie, Stan had a point. It would be better for everyone to drop all prejudices and get along. He knew one thing for certain; he would finish his life knowing that he accepted all people no matter what. They were after all, only human. He would live every day as though it were his last. He turned to Stan, who looked relieved. "Goodbye, Stan. May your conscience be at rest."

Stan smiled warmly, "Goodbye. Thank you for listening."

Gregory nodded and strode off toward his home. He arrived a short time later and stooped to pick up the paper that lay at his doorstep. He glanced casually at it and froze. The words ANOTHER SUICIDE were printed across the paper, below the title was Stan's picture. Gregory quickly skimmed through the article and was distraught to learn that Stan's body had been found in his apartment last night. He had, according to the article, put a bullet in his head after losing his job. He had been dead two days in his apartment, and was discovered last night.

A violent chill ran down Gregory's spine. He stood there, at the front door with the paper in hand for nearly ten minutes; his eyes glazed over in shock.

A sudden boom of thunder echoed softly in the distance. The storm was coming. It was definitely coming.

Copyright 1998 by David Allen

About the writer in his own words:

"I'm 18, I live in Newaygo MI. Ever since I could think straight I wanted more than anything to tell stories. I began writing furiously in 9th grade because I knew that unless I wrote constantly I would never write well. So I am Senior in high school now and I am still writing. Thats all I want to do. But I do not want to add to the piles of meaningless literature that surround us; I want to make people think and... well, I think it's safe to say that I'm rambling. I guess my bio is that I'm 18, I live in Michigan and I don't know, what more can an 18 year old have to say?"

David can be e-mailed at: DAVEVANOS@prodigy.net

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