Grandchildren Returning Their Spoils

      by Brian S. Wheeler / Fantasy / Science Fiction

Grandchildren Returning Their Spoils
Grandchildren Returning Their Spoils
Brian S. Wheeler


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This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

Copyright © 2017 by Brian S. Wheeler

For Kate.

If you enjoy this story, please consider purchasing one of the following novels available at your favorite distributor of ebooks. Flatland Fiction welcomes your feedback at letters@flatlandfiction.com.

Mr. Hancock’s Signature
The dead walk in Monteray. The corpse of a nearly forgotten farmer named Hancock arrives via train. Ian Washington remembers Mr. Hancock and vows to return the body home. Yet Mr. Hancock's body will not rest while Ian works to reopen a cemetery, and the corpse found each morning upon the doorstep forces the town to choose between the isolation of their fear or the hope of their fellowship.
The Sisters Will Dance
Blaine Woosely claws his way back to the living. He has cleaned his blood of his addiction, and an unexpected, family farm home rewards his efforts. Only the country acres isolate Blaine when a sharp-toothed monster hunts to bring Blaine back to the dark. The sad history of Blaine's blood brings magic to the country home's new master, but in the end, only Blaine himself can break his chains.
Fallen Stardust
A boy, an outcast and an alien must find salvation in a world of ruin. Samuel must find a medicine to cure the fever ravaging his village. Markus must find the motive that murdered those he loved. And an angel must find a future in a city crumbled into debris. But something lurks beneath the wasted world, and waking it may doom what little of humanity survives.
The Light Floats Slowly
Hugh Simms looks to find hope amid the stars when he fails to find any on Earth. Heartbroken by the loss of his only love, Hugh loads his great spaceship with ash and glass before launching his Starchaser into the cosmos. Miraculously, that spaceship finds an alien civilization in the vast dark, and Hugh might deliver that civilization the salvation he failed to deliver to the Earth.
Vanity and Stars
Rise to grasp new worlds, and fall with the tragedy of human and alien frailty. These ten stories underline the potential seeded throughout the galaxy, while never denying that humankind’s flaws will surely tarnish the stars. With the vain and the foolish, buckle into the rocket seat and hold a breath while the cosmos unfolds.
Contents
Chapter 1 – Pain Management
Chapter 2 – Making the Young Strong
Chapter 3 – Only the Deserving Receive Medicine
Chapter 4 – Surviving, Special Things
Chapter 5 – The Cure Arrived Too Late
Chapter 6 – Mercy
About the Writer
Other Stories at Flatland Fiction
Grandchildren Returning Their Spoils

Chapter 1 – Pain Management…

“It hurts, Butch. Listen to me. It hurts.”

Ben Cane grunted as his orderly pushed the chemical drip into the port implanted within his chest. He winced at the touch, releasing his breath only when Butch finally took a step away from him.

“You should give me a little of the pain medicine today. The pain isn’t any good for my heart.”

Butch shook his head. “The doctors know your heart better than you do. They know how much hurt your heart can suffer. They’ll tell me when you need any pain medicine.”

“Then I wish you wouldn’t give me any medicine at all.”

Butch chuckled. “And just let that cancer festering in your blood and bones run wild? I don’t think your family would like that, Ben. They trust us to take care of you. They trust us to keep you ticking long enough to give them a chance to repay you for all you’ve given them.”

“It’s a waste of resources to keep a man as old and sick as myself alive.”

Butch shrugged before twisting and poking at the dials and buttons on the little, gray box designed to pump chemicals into sick, aging bodies. The machine hissed. Butch peered into Ben’s pale face, watching how the wrinkles deepened, how the eyes dilated, to recognize the moment when all those administered chemicals chilled Ben Cane’s blood. The world wheezed upon its deathbed. Neither the work of an orderly nor of a doctor afforded much luxury. Yet Butch felt he had reason to give thanks. His work as an orderly provided him the satisfaction of witnessing hurt spread over the bald and age-spotted faces of those responsible for ruining the world, and that was much when compared to what most survivors yet possessed.

“You’re some piece of work, Ben Cane. First, you ask for more medicine. Then you don’t want any medicine at all. Your kind always wanted the best of everything without ever having to taste any of the bad. It’s how the world got to be as it is. And it’s why spending so much treasure to keep you old folks alive is worth the trouble.”

Ben opened his eyes, and he shivered as the small box made its tick-tock noise. “Show me a little mercy, son.”

“You don’t deserve any mercy.”

“Perhaps,” Ben wheezed, “but, Butch, don’t you believe you deserve the grace that comes from forgiveness?”

“The world isn’t coming back no matter what I believe.”

“Then at least tell me when my granddaughter is coming to visit.”

Butch sneered. “It’s not my job to know a thing like that.”

“That doesn’t mean you can’t find out for me.”

“She’ll come whenever she comes, Ben. And then you can beg her to show you whatever mercy you still think you’re owed. Maybe she has some to give you, but I have none.”

Butch tapped the ticking box, and Ben took a sharp breath as the chilling medicine surged more quickly into his marrow. The old man groaned and reclined back into his cot. Sweat beaded on Ben’s forehead. His skin turned paler. The day would force more medicine down his throat. Another session in the radiation tube still waited for Ben, and all those x-rays would elevate his suffering. The world once held such splendid dreams before Ben’s generation overwhelmed the planet’s natural systems. Now, the world clutched to a single ambition. Now, the world strove to keep the old breathing long enough to give the young an opportunity to return a sliver of what their ancestors left to them. Ben might moan. He might cry and shiver. But his orderly Butch, the last companion Ben would know, would never listen. None of the doctors would ever empathize with Ben’s hurt. They cared little about managing the pain. They only cared to keep the cancer, the disease and the age under control until the young could scream. No one questioned the cost.

Butch pushed Ben’s cot into the hall, and the orderly paid little attention to how he bumped his patient’s bed against the walls as he pushed Ben towards the room that hummed with radiation.

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