The sun beat down on his stiff wrinkled neck. The wind howled through his thin white hair. The jarring of the walker as it hit the concrete again and again hurt his joints. How much longer could he really continue this?
He knew he was getting close though, every time he was close the world seemed to fill with the stench of death. He could smell it, he could taste it, hell he could feel it.
He turned a corner and three men stood there waiting for him. One of the men laughed and said, “Hey old man what the hell are you doing so far from home?”
The old man looked up at the young man and replied, “Do you happen to know where I live? I am lost and I need a little help getting home. I can pay you.”
One of the boys laughed and said, “You can pay us old man? How much can you pay us, do you have it on you or do we have to take you home to get at it?”
The old man just smiled and showed some of his missing teeth. He stood up a little straighter though and brought out a wad of bills.
One of the other boys kicked the walker out from under his aching hands. He said, “No we ain’t going to take you no where old man but we will certainly take your money.”
The old man stood there, balancing himself. His legs shook and the three thugs were sure he would fall any second. They laughed as he shook and wobbled. These kinds of guys always seemed to have a good time watching him struggle. What was wrong with the world?
He wished they had left the walker alone. It was always more fun with the walker.
The third man said, “All right old man give us that money and then we’ll drive you home. We got a car in the back. You can pay us a little more for our hospitality once we get there.” The man smiled a bit through his dirty teeth. “You know, you don’t get this kind of hospitality anywhere old man, you are lucky you ran into us and not someone worse.”
The old man feigned wonder, “So you guys are going to help me get home?”
The three guys laughed, finally the first one said, “Well hell yeah old man. We won’t even kick your ass as long as you keep your mouth shut.”
The three guys laughed again.
The old man stood up to his full height. Fun was fun, but you had to know when it was time to kick some ass, “Well I will tell you what.” He rubbed at his chin and smiled at the boys, “You go ahead and get that car ready.” He jabbed his bony finger into the first boy’s chest. “I will stay here and kick the crap out of your friends. I guess when I am done I will take the car home. Oh, and I will take that money back.”
This left all three of the men in stitches. Finally the third stepped forward and grabbed the old man by the arm, “Listen old man, you can do what we ask of you or we can kill you and go to your house on our own. It is up to you old man. We ain’t playing around with you any longer.”
The old man smiled right back and replied, “That is just what I was hoping to hear.” He swung his arm forward and hit the man hard in the chest. The blow was strong enough to send the man onto the ground in a coughing fit while holding his chest. The other two men leapt forward, one of them pulling a gun from his coat.
He held the gun up to the old man’s chest and laughed as he pulled the trigger. He said, “Should have done what we said old man.” His smirk disgusted the old man the way that the decaying flesh of a dead animal might.
The gunshot rang out and the old man took a step back. He started laughing and grabbed the gun from the man’s hand. He threw it to the ground and leapt onto the man, knocking him to the ground. He choked him until he stopped breathing and then stood again to find the other two men staring in horror as they watched the wound in his chest bleed, but also shrink.
The first man stuttered, “What the hell is going on old man?” He stood there, the fear covering his face as though he were facing a monster.
Maybe he was.
The old man smiled, “I am invincible.” You might remember me from the old days of super-heroes. He lunged forward and tackled the man and choked him until he passed out. The other man grabbed him from behind, but it was to no avail. He hadn’t a chance against the old man who threw him to the ground and hit him over and over until there was no fight left in him.
The old man stood, he walked over and picked up his walker. He felt the wound in his chest. It was closing, but it would give him a lot of pain later, he knew that. Life just wasn’t the same as it was all of those years ago. His daughter would be so disappointed in him. Did it matter though? He hadn’t lost his will to fight, and he was going to make the world a better place as long as he could. Destiny did the same in her own way, didn’t she?
He smiled to himself and started walking again. It was still early, who knew what kind of fun he could find in this dirty town this cold night. He was once called the Invincible Man, now he no longer had that glory in his life. He learned a few years back that life isn’t worth living unless you create your own glory.
Bio: Edward’s work has appeared in the Horror Garage, Microhorror, and the Absent Willow Review. He recently published a column in the Florence Recorder of Florence KY.