Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sudden Short Story 73

He saw them well before they arrived.  Land approaches that did not use the pass below were still impractical.  He met them in what passed for his front yard, on the path leading to his house. 
They stopped before him.  After a moment, they spoke in unison:  "Are you the guru who lives atop the mountain?" 
He paused.  "My name's Steve?  I'm the only person who lives on top of this mountain." 
The visitors looked at each other, not with puzzlement, but with antagonism.  They hesitated, but then spoke in unison again:  "Our world is torn by endless war.  Lacking any ability to negotiate peace, your sides decided to seek the most removed individual to determine the final outcome.  We ask you this question in the hope of ending the war:  Are you a Neo-Thracian or a counter-Neo-Thracian?" 
Steve gathered his thoughts for a moment, and then spoke.  "I will have to disappoint you.  Your war will have to go on as before.  I have never even heard of these things.  I am neither a Neo-Thracian nor a counter-Neo-Thracian." 
Only the envoys' sheer shock delayed their shared reaction.  Both drew hand-held firearms from hidden locations on their persons.  Both pointed their guns at Steve. 
The man was the first to speak.  "You antisemitic racist!" he accused. 
"You despotic fascist," she accused.  "I always suspected that this was a counter-Neo-Thracian media ploy." 
"Don't think that you can fool me," said the man.  As he moved to point his gun at her, so, too, did she point her gun at him.  "You sought to use this encounter to kill me.  'A Neo-Thracian will exploit everyone, at every opportunity, no matter how small,' Zeke 91." 
"Your fundamentalist pedantry means nothing to me," retorted the woman, "It's full of lies, like the idea that you would ever concede peacefully." 
Steve had gone back to his house to make some tea, while the visitors were too focused on each other to notice that he'd left.  He was curious what would happen when one of them noticed that he was gone, but not curious enough to be near them when it did.  The kettle hadn't even boiled when he heard the gunshots.  He looked outside, and then wondered what he should do with the bodies.  The cliff on the other side of the mountain seemed as good of a place as any, but he took his time to think about it.  After all, they weren't going anywhere. 

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