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The strange Case of Mr. Tavedon & Collins

Yakima Herald Republic
Boy shot by a senior Citizen















In a small town on the eastern side of Washington, the desert side, there was an old Manor, in which lived an older man by the name of Ray Collins. He lived quietly by himself. He sat before his picture window, watching the cars go rolling by, when he saw a well-tanned boy of about seventeen walk by, shouldering an enormous backpack. He had watched the ghost walk by for a long time. He had the sidewalk in front exercised two weeks ago, and it had kept him away for a few days, but sure as sunshine, Monday he was back.

However, the ghoul had been different. He used to have long, shaggy hair that barely kept those evil eyes out of sight. Now, his hair was short, and all that kept those evil eyes away was silence, and Ray was indeed silent when the shaggy-haired ghost walked by.

He knew who the ghost was. It had been one of Ray’s High school friends. The boy had wanted to kill everyone in the town, starting at the school. He had almost succeeded, too. All that had kept him from his personal final solution had been Ray. Ray knew what his plan was, and he had at first, agreed. He too, hated the world. They were to start with arson, then poisoning the water. After that, it could be communicated by touch, almost by eye contact. It would spread all across the world in a matter of days, leaving only the best alive.

Apparently, the best did not include Ray’s demented friend. He had tested it on himself in Ray’s presence, so that an antidote might be administered in an emergency. The poison did affect him, and he had choked to death before the stunned Ray, who could administer an antidote no more than he could move. He had then been left to take care of it himself.

When Ray got to the town water supply, he spent a good half hour looking for a place to pour it in. When he found it, He spent an hour more wondering if he should use it. Without that living demon whispering in his ear, he realized he didn’t hate everybody. He wanted everybody to get along. He couldn’t imagine being the most prolific killer of all time; he wanted to be the good quarterback for the town that made legends, or the guy who got laid every night, but not that. Anything but was better.

So he had taken it home, locked it in the basement, and never looked at it again. After all, no matter where he poured it out, he knew it would spread. So there it stayed throughout his long life.

But when he got older, he realized that most people were undeserving of their lives that he had saved so long ago. Not many walked with dignity anymore, and even fewer could muster up the balls to stand up for their beliefs. All they did was hope somebody would take care of things for them, whereas, when Ray was a child, he had dreamed of being away from his parents, Had lived for those illicit cigarettes with his friends behind the schoolhouse, had dreamed of having a job so that he could take care of his three kids and wife. No one dreamed like that nowadays.
Except the survivors.

Ray had realized a few years back that those who would survive would be perfectly willing to take care of themselves. He knew that as long as the rest were around, humankind would be held back, he was sure of it. He had been so sure that he had gotten out the ancient poison that he prayed still worked. If not, the ghost could make a fresh batch, even if he too had forgotten all the ingredients, as Ray had the recipe.

And, Ray decided, if I don’t survive, at least the worthy will. All those worthy of seeing the Garden of Eden would see. When their plans had been just idle daydreams in the Brain of Ray’s friend, they two, the atheist and the catholic had discussed religion, and had come to the conclusion that, where there were people, the Garden was not. As long as the survivors realized that they were living on consecrated ground, they would prosper. When that ended, humankind would be cast into the evil world that had been before.

Ray stood up, pain shooting through his legs, and hobbled quickly over to the door. His hands were full of pain from arthritis as he opened the door and clutched the vial and recipe for all he was worth. At first, he had been afraid, but now, he knew what he was to do.

“Rufio!” Called the old man to the ghost. “Come here! The vial!”

The ghost whipped around and his evil eyes pierced Ray’s soul, but now the old man was not afraid. He looked into those eyes that seemed, for whatever reason, rather normal. Simply blue eyes. They were icy and heartless, and the old man was taken back to The Rufio of eld, whose eyes were exactly the same. The face looked slightly different, but Ray’s memory wasn’t what it used to be, and it could have been the same. The lack of shaggy hair was all that was really different, and that could be overlooked, as it was his camouflage. Ray assumed that everybody could see him, as he had seen people react to him.

“How do you know my name?”Asked the boy, For Ray saw he was a boy.

“Never mind, Take the vial, do you know what it is?”

The boy looked down at it in confusion, then, recognition flooded over his face. “A super virus, like the stand! Right?”

“Yes,” Ray said. “Do you know what to do with it?”

Again, the boy looked puzzled, and then he nodded. “Yes, the antidote?”

“On the paper.”

The boy looked more like old Rufio every second. There was a mildly deranged smile that lit up his face like a house fire. You could almost see the people burning in his eyes. “Goodbye, Ray, my old friend. I go to work on my masterpiece.”

Ray watched the boy run to the water tower. When he got inside, he realized he had forgotten to ask about death. He had always forgotten to ask the important questions in the beginning. Now, at the end, he had forgotten the most important question of all. He sat on his rocking chair and thought for a while, glancing out the back window at the water tower every now and again. It took three hours for Rufio to get on the water tower, and Ray waited in anticipation for the coming apocalypse. He saw Rufio pull out a black stick which must have been the new vial, saw him find the valve that Ray had fiddled with seventy years ago.

And he watched as Rufio was shot in the chest and thrown into the railing behind him. He stood, shocked, and looked around the neighboring houses. On the front lawn of one of the houses, an old man with long, white hair stood with a gun pointed at the boy.















Boy with vial of deadly toxins shot on the water tower of small town by hero, Rufio Tavedon. Tavedon claims he suspected terrorist activity and, when he saw the Vial, Acted as fast as humanly possible.















Ray sat in shock at the white haired man who stood on his front lawn, panting. Both old men stood still for the longest time, until the cop cars came, and then the Shaggy haired old man dropped the gun and sat.

Ray shut the blinds in disgust. He sat on his old green couch and shook his head. What did it all mean? Wasn’t paradise what everybody wanted? He was doing the world a favor, and still, it would not be taken. Ray sat and he seethed.

Meanwhile, Rufio Tavedon was sitting on his old leather couch with his small caliber rifle in his lap. He had seen his old self in that boy, which made it hard for Tavedon to put down the boy.

Rufio smelled Ray in this. He knew they would confront each other in the near future and the literal fate of the world was in his ancient hands. Rufio wondered briefly if the Vial had broken. This would mean he had only slowed the process. That he had killed an innocent boy for nothing.

Then again, the boy seemed eager to kill a world, so he could hardly be counted innocent, could he? That boy had had dreams as well, thoughts for the future, but they were evil thoughts, and such wickedness must be weeded out early, or else cultivated so as to dominate the garden of humankind. To end a world was not the business of children, but the business of God, which was an idea he had just recently bought into.

All things put aside, Rufio realized he needed a nap.

2
Tri-City Herald
Hero and old man Fight to the death















Rufio sat in the park with his grandchildren and oldest son. The children were playing while father and son talked.

“You just killed that kid? Dad, you have muscle spasms, how did you kill that kid? I know you were a good shot, but you didn’t even have your medication!” Donald said, marveling at his father as one marvels at ancient monuments. Things of such elegance that have lasted so long even time honors them.

“I just aimed and fired. I’d rather not talk about it.”

“Normal humans can’t do that dad; they normally stand by and let it happen.”

“I’m no normal human, I came before television and movies; I’m used to doing.”

“Ah” Having heard all of the ‘we are not normal’ speech a billion times, he sat quietly, enjoying this particular limited resource; his father’s company. His father had an aneurysm in his brain. It was fit to bust any minute now, and all his three brothers had said their goodbyes. Truth be told, old Rufio seemed happy to be going. He had raised him and his brothers as atheists, and then became a Christian. He said it was because he wanted to try to keep from Hell.

Can you blame him? A little voice in Donald’s head piped up. He’s done things he isn’t proud of and he’s at the end of his rope. You’d be scared, too.

And so Donald sat with his father in comfortable silence. He had learned two things at an early age. To do what Dad said, and that it was alright if he didn’t talk. All he had to do was be there, and that was enough to make his father happy. He had prospered, like all his brothers, and had become a famous writer. All his work had been meant for his father to enjoy, and yet, the books he wrote for his father didn’t sell well enough to put bread on the table, and with three kids and you planning to make a living off of writing, you had to worry about that.

When he heard his father had made the local papers from His younger brothers, he had bought plane tickets almost immediately. He had spent a week with him so far, and was headed home soon. He could see a novel in this, and intended to bring it foreword.

Rufio thought in much darker territory. He had lied to everybody, praying they didn’t pull out a lie detector. He assumed it was like those wands they used to detect metal, having never seen one before. He knew it was no terrorist, the boy was too white. He was dead sure now that Ray had his hand in this like a naughty kid in a cookie jar. He had to find the old man and end him before he had his way. He assumed that Ray looked like his father, Short, mostly bald, and heavily wrinkled. It was rather the opposite case for him and his family. They were tall and had full heads of hair on their deathbeds. They remained mostly unwrinkled as well. He was the white knight now, a bitter contrast to his old role. It had always been Reluctant Ray, and now, Ray was the bad guy. It was darkly amusing. He could still feel the weight of the world on his shoulders, which meant his subconscious, knew there would be more trouble still.

And he relished the thought.

The part of him trying to be a good Christian before he died, just in case, was disgusted with himself about it, but old habits died hard. He had joined the Army as a career soldier and had served until Korea was over. All the fight had left him. He still loved to stir up trouble and combat it, but now, he had to deal with an old friend that had influenced him in the end. It was hard, he found, to think of killing when you wanted to die a good man. But it was either that or goes, followed by everyone else in the world. He was old, and could live with dying soon, but could not live with watching a baby choke to death, or sweat out all their fluids. It was disgusting.

Rufio watched his grandchildren frolic in the park. Donald had said his wife was staying wither mother, for the week, as she too, had little time left. It was all right. Rufio liked her well enough to like her to be with his son. She was good to her family, better than His wife had been. Donald was the only one of his brothers that still held a grudge against his late mother. Rufio had tried to calm his animosity, but all it did was grow, until they no longer spoke. Rufio had let it happen, and done nothing. He felt bad about it, but could not quite find it within himself to blame him.

Ray was working his way to the fridge for a drink. Some wine would do, he just wanted anything but the water. He knew that the Shaggy haired old man was what stood between the world and near perfection. Just two old men, fighting over the world. Ray got to be the white knight and fight to make the world good for those who deserved it. Due to Alzheimer’s, He had already forgotten the boy. All he could remember was the white-haired old man who would keep the world from being a perfect world. He had to be stopped. He remembered seeing something about him in the newspaper, but could hardly remember. It was important, he knew that. Regardless, he thought as he drank his wine, I will make the world a better place.

Ray produced a small bowl filled with black liquid and put it in his air humidifier. He knew this was only the first step, but it was important in the coming Tribulation. He was going to make everybody happy. It was the purpose god had put him on earth for. He promptly corrected himself. That was what he wanted to do. Rufio had influenced him in the end, and atheism made more sense. Old habits died hard.







I



Rufio sat before the television and stared into space and infinity, far from the mortal world. He saw himself and Ray, on a playground. Ray wore a long dark coat and hood over his blood red eyes. Rufio was wearing a white sweatshirt and light gray sweatpants. They were unimpressive, a skinny old man and a pudgy one. Ray ran at him in a slow, shuffling walk, while Rufio pulled out a revolver and opened fire. And yet, He saw a long silver blade protruding from Ray’s fist. When it was inches away…..

Rufio woke and found he was lying in a puddle of sweat. He got up and put on a charcoal sweater and walked out the door. He always brought a revolver in case some young mugger decided to prove he was manly. He jogged around the park right in front of his house and saw an old man with Jumbo ears and deep wrinkles looking out at him. There was recognition on his very white face. He had very little hair on his head and seemed to be quite diminutive, even sitting down. Rufio turned his head and kept running. When he got home, he took a shower and settled into a relaxing, dreamless nap.

Ray, however, was too shaken to even think of sleep. He had seen Rufio and puckered up in fear. It’s him. He thought, terrified. It’s the coming of the-

Then, when Rufio turned his head, he felt a little more at ease and forgot what he was thinking. He did not bother, as he knew it had been upsetting. He just looked at his half-eaten bagel. He felt like taking a walk, so he put on his coat that held his old hunting knife. He too wanted to keep those juvenile delinquents at bay.







II

On September third, they both took their walk/jog at the same time. They hardly noticed each other; they were so busy worrying about each other. Ray worried about these dreams he had about being torn to sheds by a .44 and Rufio was worried about the long silver knife that never quite killed him, as he could not see that far. This was their closest encounter before the incident.
When the incident occurred, it was November. Ray walked the opposite way than usual, and he wore his dress pants and black trench coat. Rufio was wearing his white sweatshirt and sweatpants. It was one of Ray’s clear days, and he was not happy about having avoided making the world better. He was also mad that Rufio had been killed by the shaggy-haired man. He had his bare knife up his sleeve and saw the white-dressed man a mile away. Rufio stopped and they gazed upon each other. Ray saw his old friend for what he was, and Rufio looked upon a withered old man that looked like nobody else.
Rufio pulled out his gun.
Ray lunged with his knife.














Rufio Tavedon and Ray Collins were found dead today on a local park path. While Collins, age 92, was obviously mowed down by gunfire, It is undecided what precisely happened to Tavedon, as an aneurism in his brain burst at almost the same time as Collins’ seven Inch hunting knife penetrated his stomach.



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