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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Dust and Sand – Chapter 33- FINAL CHAPTER – By Sean P. Wallace

Chapter 33

The sun rose on a new day. Dust was sat on Crucifix’s chapel to greet it; Father Kilkenny’d recommended the spot in a brief conversation before the man collapsed into well-deserved and much-needed sleep. When Dust saw the view it afforded him, the wide vista that stood out from a garish pink sky, he was thankful the Father had shared it.

It was hard to believe he’d set off from the Solution two days ago. Or that three days ago he’d been so bored he went to Low Tracks to get plum drunk. Particularly drinking at the Broken Bottle felt more distant than that, years away. Perhaps because he’d changed.

Dust’d given introspection a go last night as he sat on the chapel and waited for the sun. He’d not slept more than a few hours so he’d had plenty of opportunity. In that time, he’d decided that not considering… well, anything, had made him a restless waste of time and space. And perhaps that’s what Resistance’d wanted of him as it’d kept him tightly coiled for this whole mess. But one thing was certain; he couldn’t afford to be like that now.

It was weird to think of himself as a piece in a grand game, something to be moved and used by a greater force, but that’s what he was. Dust reckoned part of this affair had been Resistance trying to make him appreciate the power and control being an important piece gave him; after all, it’d allowed him to rescue Penelope. Dust had to admit he appreciated being… whatever he was a lot more now.

The morning light reached the tip of his hat as he watched it approach. He felt its relative warmth even through the leather. This marked his first day as a real Wanted Man, either as part of Resistance’s plan or a consequence of it. Penelope’d convinced Crucifix’s townsfolk not to report which direction he’ll head off in but someone from the Solution would soon arrive with a whole heap of questions and he couldn’t ask folk to lie for him, not with the corruption at its heart now revealed.

Ah, the damn Solution. Dust didn’t believe Dick was in on this mess with Naismith. He just couldn’t; the man was painfully honourable, straight as a fresh nail. Dick would’ve reported anything unusual or unholy right away, even if it’d come from the daughter of their benefactor. But Dick not being in on it didn’t mean half the Solution weren’t; it’d be easy to keep the highest levels of authority out of illicit activities with careful reporting and large bribes. Or maybe Naismith was part of a conspiracy who operated in subtle ways, one who’d taken a risk to achieve something grand. Dust reckoned that would make more sense for followers of Omnis.

Dust stretched, his hands reaching into the golden sunlight. It had to be Omnis, didn’t it? The god of knowledge, ‘the god of exposing dark secrets and hoarding important truths’ as someone had once told him. Dust thought it the worst god to face because it did its fighting through others, manipulating its fellow gods or even mortal forces to do its dirty work. You only saw a creature of Omnis if Omnis wanted you to and your first thought always had to be “What if it wants me to kill this thing?”

The chapel doors opened below him. Someone stepped out, closed the doors behind them. “Hello up there!” they called.

Dust leaned over the roof. It was Penelope. “Howdy.”

“Have a good night?” she asked, shielding her eyes with a painfully-thin hand. The girl would need a good amount of feeding over the next few days.

“Good enough.”

“Can I talk to you, Mr Dust?”

“I told you, Dust’ll do.”

“Dust, sorry. Can we talk?”

“Sure.”

Dust rolled onto his front and let himself dangle from the battered roof. Then he dropped to the floor, knees bending when he hit.

SeanPWallace
SeanPWallace
Sean is an editor, writer, and podcast host at Geek Pride, as well as a novelist. His self-published works can be found at all good eBook stores.

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