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The Final Call: Hank Excerpts from the Manuscript

....Taking his usual seat at the backside of the church, near his grocery cart, Hank leaned against the building, lowered his head, and pretended once again to be asleep as other assailants stumbled upon his vicious blow. Like the death angle, Hank stealthily took hold of the gunmen’s heads, one after the other, jerking it back as he covered their mouths‌and choosing to destroy their vocal cords.... Carefully pulling aside their bodies quickly before they fell to the ground. Hank’s life in the Vietnam jungle prepared him well. His advantage? The experience of real combat. Covering one of the twisted bodies in his cart, Hank sat once again in an adjoining spot near the buildings exit, asking for handouts and spare change. The young gunman, anxious for his first kill, turned to enter the back of the church, kicked Hank in the gut. Hank groaned angrily. From behind, Hank took him down before he had the chance to strike. The young man, not more than 24 or 25, died quickly. His body pushed into a closet, and covered with the lap cloths....

Hank balled himself up into a Junkies knot, and shook and sputtered past the final gunman. The man dressed in black khakis, unsuspectingly tipped past Hank, as he made an attempt to go inside the churches back entrance. The man, suddenly having second thoughts, turned towards Hank, to be met by the machete to the front of the throat. Taking the gun before it fell to the ground. Hank kicked and shoved the nearly decapitated body into a dank hallway, covering him with a large cloth, he made his way

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through the corridors of the back part of the church towards the entrance to the pulpit. Hank always told Pastor Jimmy he would never enter the church for no good reason— today, was a good enough reason.

It was dawn before Hank returned with the others who had analytically disposed of the bodies of the gunmen, by placing them into the SUV’s and vans they traveled in— the group of weary, battered warriors, took them, and dumped both body and vehicle into the waters of lakes, and oceans. Some had to travel some distance to do so. They traveled even with the bodies of their own dead, sadly, which had to be buried with the enemy. This sickened many of them. But there was no other way, no other choice to consider, burying the wicked with the righteous seemed deplorable. “Let the wheat grow with the tares, they will be separated in due time.” Hank said as he released the break, allowing the SUV to slowly descend beneath the dark waters of Lake Rosnard.

.....“The gas got him—tore him apart like—“ Despite his efforts, Hank bit down on his lip as a tear drifted down one of his cheeks; like the snowflakes that began to suddenly fall upon all of them. “Not him. Not him.” Hank chocked, “Not Jimmy.” The snow began to fall heavily. There was no need to cover their tracks now. Soon the tracks would dissolve into the blanket of soft moisture. When they arrived at the tiny wooden framed home, amazingly, the place was not quite a shambles, but well kept, with only a small amount of clutter in areas which were not so distracting. Books, stacked neatly next to an overflowing bookshelf. In another

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corner of the room was an old record player from the 60’s, with stacks and stacks of old 45’s and LP’s from long dead musical groups, and some not quite so dead. Hendrix, Joplin, The Temptations, The Platters, Beatles, and others. An old black and white television was playing with the volume turned down, and the smell of stew came from the kitchen. The raggedy group stood huddled against the entrance of the doorway. Hank turned to them and said, in a deep southern brogue, “Yawl hungry?”

...Trembling from the shock, the man stumbled backwards. Falling between the barstools lined against the wall, he became entangled in the Christmas lights, which hung low behind them. The startled soldier raised his weapon to shoot Michael, as the children screamed and clutched each other. The soldier fell forward, as his head rolled towards the dark-haired man. Startled, the man lying in a pool of his own blood, strained as he yelled for help to those outside. His screams further expanded his wound. “Kill them! Kill them!” But there was no response. Hank pounced forward and thrust the blade down into the man’s chest. He jerked and thrashed about for a second or two before dying. Hank and Michael stood quietly over him, until Hank broke the silence, “I always keep my blade for peeling—or something.” Michael nodded, “Or something.” “Come on, let’s get outta here.” Hank said with a bit more pep than normal, “Now!” The teens, startled, helped each other up from their huddle, and ran towards the door.

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The Final Call: Hank