Robert Gatewood

The Reward

It had been a wonderful time for him.  Getting to know her over the months,  stolen kisses and moments of just talking to her and drinking in her beauty. 
The night came when she agreed to meet.  Oh how his heart leapt.  She would be his for at least this night.  Maybe he could start to win her heart.
She got off work,  hurried home to shower and change and then she showed up.  Her beauty took his breath away.  They talked and he held her close, rubbing her shoulders,  talking to her and learning even more about her. 
Then disaster struck.  They made love for hours,  he holding back his orgasm, bringing her to the peak again and again.  But fear filled her,  fear that he might fill her with his seed as a way of keeping her.
No protestations of love would keep her there.  No assurances that he would never harm her could penetrate her fear of betrayel. She fled into the night, leaving him alone and knowing he had lost her. 
But life, no matter how lonely, goes on. 
He poured all his energy into his work.  Whether it was driving his rig, making runs along the gulf coast or building his retreat in the Oklahoma hills,  he forced his mind away from her as often as he could.
Over time,  the pain grew less, but never faded completely..........
The growing light of morning revealed a small cabin in the middle of the clearing.  Off to one side was a small garden and chicken coop.  The sound of contentend clucking could be heard.  A small spring flowed in back of the cabin and solar panels glinted on the roof hinting at the comforst of civilization in the midst of the wilderness.
The door opened and out he stepped. Years of outdoor life had left his skin tanned and lined.  A full beard hung down, speckled with the colors of age.
He was carrying a small box and an air of despondence was about him as he slowy walked out to a small fenced in area.  Small headstones were set in orderly rows.  He had each name here memorized, but payed homage as he passed.  Charley,  Bastion, Thunder,  Paco, Lizzie, Isis, he knelt at each one,  ending his steps at a weathered one marked Bandit.
"Well old fellow,  another of your kin shall join you at rest.  Keep him in line for me."
Turning,  he walked back to the end of the row.  A small hole was filled with a topless concrete box.  Placing the cardboard box gently in the hole,  he wrestled with the concrete lid, finally getting it into place.
 Taking the shovel leaned against the fence,  he covered the top of the grave,  rounding over the earth to ensure it would settle flat and proper. A sharp pain in his chest left him breathless and he had to rest for a moment.  "Not as young as I used to be." he muttered to himself.
One last sad task remained to be done.  He picked up the stone cross laying against the fence and settled it into its hole in the earth. 'Gizmo the 2nd   2035 - 2050' was the inscription.
He sat down by the grave,  memories of days gone by dancing through his head. Him finding the little wall-eyed mutt at the pound,  the years of watching him grow up and explore his new kingdom,  the joy that was brought into his life by this spoiled little mutt, and then the final days of having to watch his life leave him as death slowly claimed him.
Tears streamed down his face,  but no sound of grief was uttered.
A few more minutes of mourning and he stood and left the cemetary.
Walking to the chicken coop,  he opened the gate and ducked under the netting.  Leaving the gate ajar,  he got some mash out and started spreading it around.  He checked to make sure their automatic waterer was still working and turned to leave. 
Stepping out of the coop, he paused and looked around.  Thought of his lost love filled him.  "If only she were here. I wish I could see her just once more and tell her I still love her." he thought.
Another bolt of pain shot through his chest. He stumbled and went to his knees.  Again, sharper still, and he fell over,  rolling onto his back.  His breath was harder to catch now,  a ton of weight seeming to have settled on his chest. 
Panting, he fought against the pain.  "No you don't" he thought. "I won't let you win old man.  I still have years left in this old body."  Fighting with every ounce of his strength,  he tried forcing the pain away, but it just grew worse,  making him gasp and shake.
His breath came shallower now,  the pain sapping his strength.  He closed his eyes and tried to gather what strength remained to defeat his nemesis. Flashes of his past flew before him,  the good times and the bad. Slowly  his body relaxed.  A few last gasping breaths, one last exhale and then nothing.
He awoke to the sounds of yips and yelps.  Loud and noisy they were.  He opened his eyes and shock went through his system. 
They were all here, all his babies, from Gizmo the 2nd to Isis.  He looked around at the sound of running feet in time to catch Bandit as he jumped in his arms and started licking his face.
Tears started rolling down his face, promptly licked away by the leader of the pack.  This time though,  they were tears of joy. 
'I might not have won the battle,  but I received my reward anyway.  I'm with my babies again' he thought to himself.  'If only....'
He noted the cabin in the distance.  Identical to his cabin even down to the creek and chicken coop.  The only difference was no cemetary.
'Here boys and girls.  Let's go home.' 
Leading the way with his babies leaping and jumping around him,  he walked to the cabin. 
Opening the door,  he turned around and looked for her once more, hoping against hope she might be here.
'Welcome home darlin.' he heard from behind him.
Unbelieving,  he turned around.  She was standing there in the kitchen, smiling at him.  'Princess.  Is it really you?'
'Yes darlin,  I've come to stay this time.'


Todos los derechos pertenecen a su autor. Ha sido publicado en a solicitud de Robert Gatewood.
Publicado en el 14.08.2006.


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