It had been four minutes since his director had dropped the news of his sister's death on him like a bomb.
The door to his office swung open. There had been no knock and Jeremiah prepared himself to unleash a barrage of vitriol at his boss who always wandered in unannounced. The anger died on his lips though as a small, dapper man in a plain brown suit walked in carrying a brown suitcase. He closed the door, took a seat opposite Jeremiah, and placed a comic book and pack of cigarettes on the desk.
"Your brand I believe?"
"Yes, Ecrivain's Specials, but who...?"
"Ah, yes, sorry old boy, but we have little time for niceties at the moment." The man pulled a gun from his pocket and pointed it at Jeremiah's face. "Read the magazine, there's a good lad."
With shaking hands, Jeremiah reached for the magazine, automatically turning to the back of the pulp comic, The Fray, for the neatly written transcript he knew would be there, the words decoded from the information inside the comic.
"The Thrilling Conclusion" was the title of the magazine, but Mariah's decoded words echoed from the grave as Jeremiah slumped into the curved wood and leather of his chair, the frame creaking as he leant back.
If you're reading this then I'm at the end of my journey. I've done what I can but I can feel death coming for me. I've been having dreams about you, dreams in which you can never quite reach me in time, dreams I'm afraid are true. I know you love me Jeremiah, and this whole escapade has helped me reconnect with you, even if you cannot speak to me.
Although this may be the end for me, promise me you'll keep fighting, don't let my death be in vain. I have managed to liberate plans for a Prussian weapon. They are safe, but my friend who has them is now in an equally precarious position. She's a musician too and someone very special. You'd like her. Find my friend Andjela, get the plans to your people. Avenge me brother. I love you, always.
The man opposite handed a lit cigarette to Jeremiah and placed his weapon on the table. "My apologies for the gun, but you needed to read that."
"And what am I meant to do exactly?" whispered Jeremiah, speaking as he breathed out a cloud of smoke. He waved a hand in the general direction of his false leg. "I assume you know my history."
"I do. But I also believe we can do something to help your mobility even more than we have already." The man leaned forwards. "Your country needs you Jeremiah, but you may also be able to save an innocent life, even though you were unable to find your sister."
"Unless you can turn me into some sort of futuristic superhuman, like the people in this garbage comic book, then what use am I to you?" Jeremiah's anger bubbled back to the surface, and he stood, leaning aggressively over the smaller man who sat perfectly still opposite him. "I still don't even know who you are, and you come in here, make demands of me where you have no right to do so, and give me some heart-sob story about an innocent life. There are no innocents in this war sir. Unless you can give me the man who so delicately took me apart piece by piece below the knee, you can go to hell."
Jeremiah sat suddenly making his clockwork ankle click and whirr, and took a final deep drag of his cigarette, stubbing the rest out in the ashtray.
The small man smiled thinly, pocketed his gun, stubbed out his cigarette somewhat more carefully than Jeremiah had done, and clapped his hands together twice.
Thus summonsed, another man walked into the room. As the door closed, Jeremiah looked him over as he'd been trained to do; average height, stocky and powerfully built, long cloak, face of a fighter with heavy brows, a square jaw and a broken nose, and dressed in black, including gloves. His footsteps sounded solid on the bare floorboards and he came to a halt behind his colleague.
YOU ARE READING
Redemption's Song and other short storiesShort Story
My second collection of short stories, but longer than the works in my Read my Shorts collection. This volume consists of anything more than 1000 words and includes new works, re-writes of a few older pieces and anything else I found on my computer...