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 Category:  General Script
  Posted: May 22, 2020      Views: 4

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 ABOUT
JAKE P. 
Husband, father, grandfather, retired middle school counselor, and beginning writer. One self-published middle grade novel on Amazon titled "Cat Through the Wormhole". Member of CyFair Writers group. Interested in joining NaNoWriMo in November.

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Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
Always honor a contract.
"The Contract" by Jake P.



The hairs on his neck prickles as he neared the gate. He was being watched from the shadows in the darkness, and his mind envisioned six rifles pointed at his head from every angle. But there was no sound of people lurking nearby. Only the soft wind blowing across the fields like whispering ghosts warning this was a bad idea.

He knew it was a trap. The picture that came with the text was proof of that. It showed his brother, Burke, tied to a chair in the barn, blood running down his face from a beating.

"Don't keep us waiting. He dies at midnight if you don't show. He dies if you don't bring the cash. He dies if you're not alone. He dies if you just piss me off."

The note wasn't signed, but he knew it was from Arturo Castellano. The head of a drug cartel headquartered just across the river in Mexico.

The old wooden gate sagged on its hinges, requiring him to lift it out of the dirt and tug it aside. He didn't worry about the loud squeak of protest as he moved it. They knew he was here.

Turk Slade didn't bother closing the gate. The ranch that he and his brother had inherited from his great aunt had long since sold off all the cattle.

Three weeks ago he and Burke were excited to explore the 300 acre ranch on the banks of the Rio Grande River their grate aunt Hattie had left them. Hattie had always been a mystery to them. At just over five feet tall, she was a crusty, outspoken woman who had the foul vocabulary of a sailor. They used to cover their mouths and snigger at the cuss words she used while their parents cringed.

They hadn't visited the old woman very often. Their parents didn't want to expose the boys to the language, and the children were afraid of her. Not that she didn't smile and hug them tightly. Or proffer candy or sweet breads to them whenever they walked by. It was more the fact that she looked like a witch... pointed and missing teeth, long nose, bony fingers. Tangled and knotted hair. And again the profanity she used regardless of the audience.

They were laughing and joking three weeks ago when they first entered the gate to the ranch.

"I can feel her presence even now," Burke said.

Turk lowered and shook his head smiling at her memory. "I hated for her to kiss me. Was sure it'd leave a wart on my cheek."

They both laughed, and Burke commented, "Bet she could brew a potion to remove it."

"Yeah. Liver of toad, hair of ox..."

"Fang of vampire bat..." Burke added.

Turk grew serious.

"Wonder why she left the property to us. She hardly knew us."

"She didn't have anyone else I guess. I'm surprised there were no back taxes on the place. How'd she keep the place up?"

They walked on in silence until they reached the old house. They studied the structure for a moment before Turk said, "Needs paint, but the lumber looks solid enough. No visible rot. No sagging."

"We can rehabilitate the place and make it more presentable. Think we should sell it?"

"It's not really ours until we fulfill the one condition of the will. We have to chop down that old oak tree that's rotting out near her gravesite and plant a weeping willow in its place."

"We can do that today," Burke said.

They bought the willow from the nursery, found a shovel and axe in the barn, and began by chopping down the old oak. They planted the willow several yards from the roots of the oak in soft soil. Both were sweating, and blisters were forming on their hands when they struck something with a clang.

"Damn wouldn't you know? We've hit a metal pipe of something," Burke said.

They shoveled more dirt from around the object.

"Looks like a metal trunk," Turk observed.

They dug with more enthusiasm and finally were able to lift it from the hole. There was no lock, and they opened the lid. Inside was a huge black plastic bag closed tightly, and on the top lay a plastic freezer bag with papers inside. The first was a note addressed to them, and the second was a contract of some sort signed by Aunt Hattie and Arturo Castellano. They read the note.

Burke and Turk,
The 250 million dollars inside the bag is for you... my precious nephews and only heirs .I earned it for my assistance in drug smuggling, so don't spend it blatantly.
You'll find a contract I signed with the head of the Castellano cartel that specifies that our partnership ends with my death and he will no longer use my property as a route for his drugs. He has agreed to find other routes never to trespass here again.
KEEP THE CONTRACT HANDY. You may need it to remind him of his promise.
Love, Hattie

****

He held the contract in his hand as he entered the barn. His brother, Burke, sat tied to the chair in the middle of the floor with one eye swollen shut and blood dripping from cuts on his bruised cheeks.

A deep voice speaking with a Spanish accent broke the silence.

"I don't see any money in your hands."

Turk waved the paper in his hand with cold fear burning his insides and feeling like a fool for brandishing such a feeble document.

"The money's here. Hidden. But I'm holding the contract you signed promising to leave us alone and never trespass again."

Arturo Castellano laughed loudly and the other men in the barn laughed with him.

"The contract Mad Hattie made me sign? We all know it is worthless. Even if she wished to take it to court... which she could never do because it proves her guilt as well as mine... no judge would ever honor it. She was a fool, and you are a fool to think I would stand by what it says."

As Turk stood with his brother a coolness blossomed around them. Not as a breeze. It was just suddenly there. The men pointing their guns at the two of them seemed not to feel it.

Arturo walked over and took the contract from his hand and turned back to his men still laughing. He prepared to rip the paper when it suddenly burst into flames. Not the yellow and red flames of burning paper, but blue flames instantly consuming the paper into ash. The conflagration continued up his arms, and no matter how hard he beat at them they continued to engulf his body. Screaming and thrashing, he could not extinguish the fire. His screams died away as his body turned to ash hovering as a cloud in midair.

The others shrieked at the sight and swung their guns in the brothers' direction. Guns and rifles melted in their hands and blue flames consumed their bodies. Their ashes joined with the cloud and crept out the barn door as if floating in a breeze.

Turk untied his brother and they followed out the door. The willow they had planted just days ago was now thirty feet tall. As the cloud neared, a light appeared in the trunk. The light grew larger and swirled in magnificent colors. As if being sucked by a vacuum, the floating ash entered the hole.

Before the hole closed, it flattened into a smile... with pointed and missing teeth.
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