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Short Story: Garrison Nash


This is another original character, Garrison Nash. He's a gun-toting, obsessive type, but with good intentions at heart. His wife was abducted years ago by his own nation's government (Existing in a world that's a cross between fantasy and science fiction, much like Star Wars or Final Fantasy.) and he's determined to retrieve her.

 

Beads of sweat stood out on Michael’s face as the scarred man pulled back the hammer on his pistol. The man’s brown hair fell to his mouth, unkempt, and greying at the temples. The scar running down his cheek was red, as if new, and his skin was weathered and tan. "One question," came a voice like granite, "Where is she?" Michael looked into his eyes, as hard and black as obsidian, and began stuttering unintelligibly. He slumped bawling to the ground.

Garrison Nash holstered his gun, and dropped to one knee. His hand, gloved in ancient leather, caught Michael by the collar and lifted him back to his feet. "I’ll repeat myself. Where is she?" The younger man felt himself pinned several inches off the ground, his back to a gnarled and stubby desert tree.

"I-I-I dunn-no! I’m just a c-contract worker!" He spat the words out all at once, turning his face from the gunman’s gaze. The sun beat down on him, and all he could see for miles was sand and scrubs.

"Contract worker? You mean mercenary." Nash raised a fist. "It was scum like you who took my wife from me. If you were twenty years older, I’d kill you right now, just on the chance you did it yourself." He raised his other hand. "As it is, you may walk again." Garrison’s fist pounded into Michael’s face, a spurt of blood heralding his shattered nose. The gunman dropped him, shivering, to the ground. "Hell, the worst kind of mercenary." He spat on the young man. "The kind with a glass jaw." He drove his steel-tipped boot into Michael’s gut. He laughed, and turned around to walk away.

"I’ll show you a glass jaw, you fucking fossil…" the mercenary muttered, dragging himself to his feet. With speed born of years of practice, he hurled a knife at Nash’s back. Garrison twisted, his long coat flapping behind him, and drew his weapon. With an explosion of gunpowder, a bullet split the knife in two, the handle harmlessly hitting the ground. The blade, however, was driven deep into Michael’s skull.

Nash holstered the pistol before his victim hit the ground. He came the closest he got these days to smiling, and approached the body. He quickly checked the pockets. A gold watch, ninety dollars, and a silver cross. Worthless. A small scrap of paper with the fragments of an address on it. Worth killing for. He slipped it into a pocket in his coat, and walked away.

Within ninety minutes he’d reached the edge of a series of cliffs. Two miles to the West was a sailing barge he could hitch a ride with. He looked down on the sea, white with foam five hundred feet below. He looked out to the horizon. Garrison could see for miles, a vast, blue emptiness. She was out there somewhere. Isabelle. His wife. She was out there, and he was going to find her, or die trying. He’d waited twenty years to see her face… He wouldn’t have to wait much longer.

His thoughts were interrupted by an explosion of dirt and sand on his left. He swung around, and saw an enormous machine approaching. One hundred yards, no more. "Damn," he thought, "They’ve found the body already…" Nash made a break for it, drawing dual guns and running east along the cliff. Another explosion blinded him with sand, and he fell to the ground. Rolling to face his attackers, he fired two shots. They flattened against the armored artillery, with no effect. Garrison cursed, and got to his feet. He darted away, looking for some kind of chink in the cannon’s defenses. Another two bullets flew at his assailant, but even the glass in front of the driver’s face was impervious. The cannon sped forward, drawing closer, while mortars exploded nearer and nearer to him. Nash looked back, and found himself face to barrel with the mechanical terror. He heard the hum of clockwork reloading the cannon, and preparing to fire. Nash quickly stuffed his guns in his pockets, zipping them closed. He prayed to the spirits that they would be water tight. Shutting his eyes, Garrison slowly fell backwards over the edge of the cliff. The ocean approached him from below.

The impact from that height was incredible. Nash curled himself into a ball, and landed legs-first. The shock shook through him, rattling his teeth and fracturing ribs. The skin of his legs was scraped raw, and bathed in the salty sea water. The impact forced an inhalation, and he gulped down ocean. Unbending his bruised legs, he struggled to kick himself to shore. Soon he grabbed sand, clawing his way up the bank. Barely was he on dry land before he collapsed in violent fits of coughing, expelling water from his lungs. Raising his head as best he could, Garrison saw no sign of pursuit. Then the world went dark.

Six hours later it was night on the beach. Garrison Nash limped his way into the cargo bay of a ship as quietly as his injuries would allow. He’d checked his pockets, and while some ammunition was ruined, both his guns and the address were still intact. Good. That was all he’d need.


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