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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Birthright: Final Chapter

By Francis Scudellari

Jacob's Reward

There was a loud knock at Jacob’s door. Bang. Bang. Bang. Jacob sat hidden in the dark. He cowered before an inevitability. Bang. Bang. Bang. Its steady beat echoed throughout the building.

Jacob knew who it was. Jacob knew that he wasn’t going away. Bang. Bang. Bang. The door bulged with each blow; a worn-too-thin wall waiting to burst and release the ever stronger pulsing blood behind. The loudly repeated stresses began to warp the door jamb.

Fearful for his damage deposit, Jacob staggered to his feet. He flipped the light switch behind the couch. He walked unsteadily toward the incessant thundering.

The door squealed as he slowly pulled it toward him. There on the landing stood Edom. Twin licks of flame, his eyes burned with an anger Jacob had never seen. In his left hand, Edom held a rolled up copy of the current Grounds. The moist warmth of his beer-soaked breath brushed against Jacob’s cheeks.

“I warned you Jake. I warned you not to write it.”

Jacob closed his eyes in shame. He bowed his head, silently seeking forgiveness; a presumptuous pardon he knew that he would never receive.

There was a rush of movement in the doorway, and Jacob felt Edom’s thick knuckles strike his gut. The wind in his lungs escaped through his throat in a sudden gust. His knees buckled and Jacob crumpled to the floor. The stereotypical fish out of water, his mouth gasped greedily at the stale air.

“Why don’t you write a story about that, Jake.” Punctuating his words, Edom tossed the newspaper on Jacob’s pale face. He bounced down the stairs and left Jacob on the floor prone -- his knees clutched fast to his chest.

As the air gradually filtered back into his stomach, Jacob rolled on his back. Still, staring up at the shadowed ceiling, he saw a gathering shape. A seeming shift that floated vaguely in the orange lamp light. Her thin, sharp outlined arms reached down to him. Lifting him up closer to her, she breathed renewed life into his trembling body.

Jacob, finding his feet beneath him, walked over to the table. Sitting down at the typewriter, he cracked his knuckles. He stretched his arms over his head and let out a guilty chuckle as he began to type: “A smug smile crept across Joseph’s face as he climbed the musty staircase. His dirty blond hair was a tangled mess.”
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