The Fallowing – The Sixth, Part IX
by Steppen Sawicki
Nothing more happened on the train. I reached Clinton and disembarked without ceremony. The snow was still riding on the wind and beginning to drift against the shops and towers. I started down the street, between buildings of busted glass. The streets were quiet here, disused. Much of the landscape was run-down shops and rusted and broken houses. The people that I saw were bundled in hand-me-down garb, torn and broken like the towers. The poor and the homeless and the out-of-towners. Chicago wasn’t good to everyone.
I spun around in shock to hear my name. But it was a child’s voice and it was a child running to me – a little boy of maybe twelve years, his hair a little too long, bunched around his head in an afro. His coat was clean, shining white. It looked brand new. Likewise his gloves and scarf, though he had no hat and his ears were red from the cold.
I watched him approach, not sure what to expect this time. Unlike the others that had tossed feathers at me, this kid actually knew my name. In fact seemed certain of who I was.
“Your ears’ll fall off if you don’t put a hat on,” I told him as he came closer.
“I won’t be here long,” he said. He came to a stop and rummaged in a pocket.
“Let me guess, you have something for Sam.”
“No, no.” He found what he was looking for and held it out to me in a mittened hand. “This is for you.”
I regarded him with suspicion but eventually held out my hand. He dropped a shining bit of silver in my palm, and I pulled it close to see that it was a bullet, .357, for my revolver. It had some coating on the tip that shone even in the darkness.
“It’s tipped with God’s blood,” he explained. “Same as the knife is made from.”
I turned it this way and that. “That’s great and all, but I can’t say the killing word.”
“We know, but…we hope this will help.”
I looked down at him, and he looked up at me innocently.
“Do I have a ‘Kick Me’ sign on my back tonight or something?” I asked him
He cocked his head, puzzled. “Ma’am?”
“Never mind.” I took out my gun and loaded the bullet in the first round. “Thanks, I guess.”
“Be careful,” he said. Then he turned and ran off back the way he had come. Didn’t fly off or disappear or anything. Just ran down the street. He even slipped on the snow and nearly fell down before righting himself.
I shrugged, pocketed the revolver now with shiny new bullet, and continued on my way.
By the time I stood in front of St. Patrick’s the wind was howling and the snowfall was thickening, promising whiteout conditions to come. But for now I could still see the cathedral, with smashed windows and broken bricks. Even the top of one of its towers was caved in. A broken down church in a broken down section of town. No one had cared for it, and God had forgotten it.
A perfect place for evil to house in.