Requiem for Rudy
When the Price You Pay is Your Happiness
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 Category:  Mystery and Crime Fiction
  Posted: January 13, 2021      Views: 21

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You are enjoying another piece of writing penned by the NUMBER 5 RANKED SCRIPT WRITER OF THE YEAR FOR 2019!!!

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Can Cody Return Home After Storming Out 6 Years Earlier
"Astatula Awakening - Chapter One" by Brett Matthew West



Cody Schroder - 24 year old main character

Sheriff Brock Daniels - long time sheriff of the small West Texas town of Astatula and Cody's adopted father

Unnamed Salesclerk at Miller's convenience store

Earl Anthony Schroder - Cody's biological sperm donor, as he refers to him. For the first ten years of Cody's life, Earl Anthony Schroder put him through constant physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse. Died in a drunken head-on car crash at 93 miles per hour into a guardrail

The Astatula hamlet squatted on the southern bank of the mighty Brazos River. The convoluted snake could be observed as I crossed the J. W. Wright Memorial Expansion Bridge. I noticed the high water. Canoeing, fly fishing, largemouth bass, and sandbar camping are main attractions of the "River of the Arms of God" as early Spanish explorers named the waterway. I lived in this area for eight years, from the time I was ten years old until I left home to strike out on my own, and have fond experiences of each.

Man-made, the recreational Sullivan Lake could be found two miles east of town. Unless you have been to West Texas, this geography probably will not excite you or mean a hill of lima beans. Many flashbacks ran through my mind as I sped my powder-blue F150 down the middle of I-40.

I had driven through the Llano Estacado, its arroyos, and the Palo Duro Canyon. Magnificent multi-colored mesa walls, caves, and hoodoos greeted me. Off to my right, I passed Lighthouse Rock, the canyon's signature geological feature. Suddenly, it dawned on me, who could have had better raising?

Almost by instinct, I pulled up to a gas pump at Miller's convenience store for a quick fill up. I had fifty bucks to my name. I exited the truck and noticed the rusted out bed and how the tailgate sagged. My truck needed a tank of fuel and I could use an ice cold brewski. I never worried about food. Substance happened whenever the opportunity came along. When you flipped burgers in a greasy spoon for a living greenbacks seldom lined your pockets. Though some time had passed, I did manage to pick up a ten spot now and then on a football bet.

I walked inside the unembellished establishment. Past the shelves of motor oils and potato chips, I decided on a Yellow Rose, a very popular locally crafted beer. I paid the silver-haired hag behind the counter with a twenty. She rang up the sale. I noticed the horse imprinted on her purple pullover. The broad forehead, and wide muzzle, screamed Clydesdale. Hesitant, her shaky hand counted out my change and handed me the money. I stuffed the legal tender deep into my jeans pocket, then went outside and pumped the petrol, which I placed on a pre-paid credit card. The high afternoon sun sweltered.

I removed the Stetson Diamante Sheriff Daniels had given me in better days and wiped the sweat off my forehead with the back of my hand. The cowboy hat was the one possession from my teen years I still clung to. Long blond bangs fell over my aqua eyes. To say the least, I needed a good high and tight buzz cut. Afterwards, I climbed into the air conditioned cab and left tire tracks in my wake as I pulled out onto Highway 27. I know. I know. Typical wanton behavior for an out-of-control twenty-four year old like me who never allowed the consequences of his actions to impede his better judgement.

Why had I come here? The real question remained of what gave me the unmitigated gall to think I had a home to go back to? I hadn't departed under the best of terms. I barely even said goodbye. I just grabbed my few meager belongings in the middle of another meaningless argument, now long forgotten, and blew out the door in a rage. Funny how time slipped away. I hadn't been home since, not even a phone call to let them know I still breathed air. That'd been six unfathomable years ago.

Desperate, with nowhere else to turn, welcomed or not, I had to go home, to whatever the situation presented. Somehow, I felt the fiddler rosining up his bow. Maybe I should have gone skydiving instead. At five feet-seven inches tall, and 148 pounds, I have nailed eighteen freefall jumps. As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing more scintillating than the freedom of an eagle when it soared brilliant on the wind.

I stopped my truck in front of the weathered Astatula city limit sign that struggled to stand in the same place it had stood so many years. I remembered climbing all over this sign when I first relocated from my life of abuse at the hands of Earl Anthony Schroder in Palo Pinto. Gold lettering on camel tan mesquite stared back at me. Come what may, there was no turning back.

Author Notes
This is Evan, by Lilibug6, selected to complement all my Cody Schroder stories.

So, thanks Lilibug6, for the use of your magnificent picture.
Pays one point and 2 member cents. Artwork by Lilibug6 at

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