Welcome back for the next chapter of Master of the Drunken Fist. Please be warned there is excessive cursing and alcohol use throughout the novel. If you need to catch up, check the Table of Contents.
Abe stood there, expressionless. He had just witnessed the brutal slaying of his only remaining brother Elam. His blank face showed no sign of the rage dwelling inside. Like Mike, he too was covered in the thick, black blood of the Sponsers. Down on the ground, torn to shreds, were the remains of Elam. Mike felt pity growing for Abe. He had gone through so much pain lately, and Mike didn’t know how to heal him. He tried the only thing he could do. He walked over to Abe, and embraced him, like a brother.
It was then that Mike felt fully part of the brothers, full on Mikey. He felt their close bond. He knew what it meant to lose someone close to him as he recalled all the brothers. Looking up at the walls of the chamber, he cringed at the utter vileness of the hanging bodies. All of those people had a family, had someone that loved them. They all had an Abe.
“Abe, I’m sorry brother,” Mike tried to console. He was never good at that, but he felt so badly for Abe.
“Mikey,” he said softly, “I am too. We lost Elam, but his death wasn’t in vain. He died for a cause, a real cause Mikey. He will be remembered, just like you will. You done did good Mikey. Without you, ain’t none of this get set straight. We needed you Mikey. Thanks for coming back.”
“Well, I never left ya Abe, I’s always been here, just hiding, like you said.”
“Mikey, I know.”
“What are you talkin’ bout Abe?” Mike was honestly confused. He had no idea what Abe was getting at.
“Mikey, let’s git. I can’t see this death no more.”
“But what about Elam, should we do something?” Mike asked. “We don’t leave him here, do we?”
“No, we gonna bury him. I don’t want no critters getting to the rest of him.”
Going outside of the cave, they found a nice spot to use for Elam’s final resting place. Using their axes, they dug in the soft dirt under the light of the moon. When the hole was large enough, they went back inside and carefully brought out Elam or what was left of him. His face was mangled beyond recognition. His chest was tore open from the claws. They carried him to the grave, lowered him in, and after Abe said his good-byes, they covered him up, leaving a large boulder on top.
“Come on Mikey, we done here. Let’s go home.” Abe was trying to hold it together, but considering what he’d been through, Mike was worried about him.
The walk down was quiet except for the crunching of leaves and the occasional owl. “Abe, what didya mean back there when you said you know?” Mike asked as they reached the bottom of the hill.
“Mikey, I know about you. I know you leave.”
Mike froze. Abe looked at him with pity. “What do ya mean you know I leave?”
“Ya leave, ya go back. Mikey, you got a problem. Ya need to care for it before it gets ya.”
“What do you mean I got a problem? I just saw our brother killed, and got in the worst fight in my life to save us. I got no problem Abe.” Mike was getting worried, and cautious. Abe seemed to be letting on to something, but not saying it out loud.
“You go away, and ya got problems there. I know ya do. You don’t see it do ya? Well don’t leave it to me to tell ya what is and ain’t. You gotta do what ya need to do. I can’t do it fer you. You know what’s best, don’t ya Mikey? You take care of that. You got to think about what ya doing and who ya hurt. Got that Mikey? Look at what yer doing.”
Mike’s mouth went dry and he could hardly breath. Was Abe telling him he knew about his other life, about his other existence? How could he know that? How did any of this make sense? He was here to help them, not be preached at by Abe.
Mike tried regaining his composure. “Abe, what exactly you telling me? You know about my…other self?” Mike asked cautiously. He wasn’t sure exactly how far he could take this with Abe without giving himself up for the fraud that he was.
“Yeah I know bout that, we all did. We needed ya Mikey, and you needed us. It works that way here. We were weak against the Sponsers, but we knew you had the strength to take care of them. Just like I know you got the strength to take care of what problems you got back home. We will recover here, not easily but we will. You need to think about that Mikey, it makes all the difference.”
Recover? What the hell is he talking about? Mike thought to himself. His mind swirled at the thoughts of his two worlds colliding right in front of him. They knew, how did they know? He felt like he was struck with a crowbar over the head. They knew. They knew?
Moonlight washed over them as they stepped out from beneath the trees, and Mike could see that Abe was not joking about what he said. He believed what he said to Mike. Mike thought on it for some time, quietly mulling over all the possibilities of what Abe’s revelation meant to him. His two existences were fusing into one, and he wasn’t sure what that meant. He did know he was scared.
Before they got too much further on the path, Abe turned to Mike, “Thank you Mikey. You did us good. Now go, you got things to take care of. This is where we go our own ways Mikey. You get rid of them Sponsers, we can take care of the rest from here. Thanks Mikey, we won’t ferget you.”
“Thanks? What do you…” and suddenly he found himself spiraling downward, falling faster and faster into nothing. It was white, bright and brilliant all around. Just when he thought he was about to hurl from the spinning, he crashed.
Waking, Mike found himself in his bed at home. It was a familiar feeling to him to fall spinning only to find himself in his bed when he crashed to the bottom. He jumped up to look at the clock and it said four thirty. There was daylight outside, so it wasn’t in the morning. He wasn’t sure how long he was out. If it was over a day, Noe would be pissed to find him like this. He found his phone to check the date. It was still Saturday. “Yes!” he said out loud. He was safe, or at least he thought he was.
His head pounded. Hangovers always sucked, especially when you hadn’t rested it all off. He tried to ignore it so he could clean up things before Noelle got home. Most everything seemed in it’s place surprisingly. He dodged a bullet with this one. He wouldn’t need to do much before Noelle got back except maybe take a shower and some pills to get rid of the pain in his head. For once, his luck was good.
Later that evening, Noelle came back home. At first, Mike was scared that she’d see something or know something. He had a brief moment of panic and paranoia, but it went away quickly as soon as she entered.
“Hi Mike, miss me?” she teased. She doesn’t suspect anything he immediately thought. Of course it was too early to tell, but at least the signs were pointing in the right direction.
“Of course Noe, I always do,” he said smiling and gave her a kiss. So far, so good man. Keep it up! he told himself. “Have a good shopping trip? Get anything good, anything for me?” he winked at her. He was feeling confident now. She hadn’t asked about him drinking, she didn’t seem to suspect anything, and she was in a good mood. He was three for three and would just need to bide his time till they went to bed so he could sleep off the rest of the hangover and then all the “evidence” would be gone. Luckily for Mike, that’s exactly what happened. Noelle didn’t nag him about what he was up to or if he was drinking. She seemed to accept it all at face value, and he was good with that.
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts so please consider leaving a comment below. Come back tomorrow for the next chapter of Master of the Drunken Fist.