End of Days

When he learns that he only has twenty four hours left to live, Rick asks himself the question of what he should do with his last day alive......

Originally a short story that I entered into a competition, it isn't as great as I had originally planned, due to a word limitation of the competition. I am not going to go back and revise my old works at this time, however, so this is the original submitted version. I may one day release an extended version however......


3. Section 3

About two hours had passed since I saved the little girl. After it had happened, I had taken her and the man she had maimed up to my apartment. She, I put in the living room. The man, I had tied up and put in the bedroom until I could figure out what to do with him. I had given her an old shirt of mine so that she would have something to wear other than her bloody dress, then I proceeded to ask her what had happened.

            The girl had told me that she lived in an apartment on the floor below mine with her mommy, and that for some reason, her mother had rushed them both out of the apartment as soon as she got home. A few minutes later when they were walking down the alley, five bad men appeared out of nowhere and knocked her mommy out. She had fought back like her mommy had always told her to do, but they had taken her mother in a second car and drove away. She didn’t know why they had done such a thing, and now she was scared and tired. She had fallen asleep on my ratty old couch once she had finished the story.

            I knew why the men had taken her mother though. After she fell asleep, I had had a long, and not very pleasant, chat with the second man. He had told me that the girl’s mother had borrowed a lot of money from one of the many local loan sharks, and since she couldn’t pay him back, they had come to collect. The plan had been to take both of them in alive to show the mother that they meant business, before releasing her and keeping her daughter as collateral until she paid up. I had also got the location of the warehouse where they were keeping her mother.

            What are you doing? I kept asking myself. It was a legitimate question. I wasn’t a good man by any measure. I’d been killing people, stealing from old ladies, and extorting shop keepers ever since I’d been a little kid. So why was I even considering helping this little girl? What has she or her mother ever done for you? Do you think they’re going to reward you or something for helping them? It’s not like you’d have time to spend the reward anyhow. Or maybe you’re hoping for something a little more tangible…

            At that moment, the little girl woke up and stirred me from my thoughts by pleading, “Mister, please, you have to save my mommy.”

            “Listen…” I started.

            “Please, mister. She’s a nice lady. My mommy hasn’t hurt anyone. Please, you have to save her mister!” She exclaimed as she started crying, “Please, mister. Please…”

            What? Do you feel bad for her because you grew up without a mother? Is that it? At least she’s had one this long. Or is it because you’re hoping to maybe redeem yourself a little bit in your last few hours on Earth? Is that it? Maybe.

            I don’t know about redemption or all that stuff. I’d never had much time to think about it. My whole life had been about nothing but either fighting to survive, or thinking about the best way to fight to survive. Whatever my reasons were, I decided that I had nothing to lose.

            “Alright, little girl. I’ll help,” I finally said, hating myself while saying it.

            “Really, mister!?!” The little girl screamed out as she jumped up and hugged my neck.

            Suddenly embarrassed, I pulled her arms off my neck and sat her on the ground, “Yes, but you have to stay here, where it’s safe.”

            “Okay,” She said while wiping the tears from her eyes.

            As I stood up to walk out the door, I told her, “Lock the door behind me and don’t open it for anyone. I have the key,” and thinking about the second man who hadn’t survived our talk I continued, “And don’t go into my room while I’m gone.”

            “Alright,” she promised, “I’m Aria, by the way, mister. No last name though. Mommy said we don’t need a last name because we’re special.”

            Walking out the door, I smiled a little as I said, “Nice to meet you Aria. I’m Rick. I don’t have a last name either.”

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