This is the 121st in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.
The Repayment, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 31st March 2013
Word count: 1,000
“This is what a gold bar looks like,” young Joshua Heseltine said admiring the shiney yellow brick in his hands.
“Yes, it’s extremely valuable, so do not drop it, or lose it,” his father Joshua Heseltine senior said.
“I won’t father,” the young man, barely fifteen years old said placing the brick in his bag.
“Okay, take this letter, and the gold to this address. Don’t be put off by anyone in your way, tell them you’re there on my behalf. You must be very clear, and forceful on that, do you understand?” Joshua senior said.
“Yes father,” the young Joshua said accepting the letter solemnly.
“Good, go to it,” the senior said, “And son,” he said added as the boy headed for the door, “You’re a good boy. I love you dearly.”
“Love you too father,” the boy said, and then cheerily went on his way.
An hour later he had crossed the sandstone walled ancient city and saw that his destination was close. He stopped for a drink, and to freshen himself up, his father had told him he must be at his best for this meeting. It was very important he had said, that Mister Guillion understood that Joshu Junior was seen as important and much loved.
“I’m here to see Mister Guillion,” Joshua said at the ornate door of a rich house.
“Go away scruff,” the burly doorman said.
“It’s very important, my Father has urgent business with Mister Guillion, he is expecting me,” the boy half lied.
The doorman looked at the boy properly, and stood aside, “If you’re a thief after the silverware, I should warn you, Mr Guillion kills all those that steal from him and don’t make restitution.”
“I’m not a thief Mister,” Joshua said, and went on by. Inside, the corridor was cavernous.
“Yes?” a snivelling man asked.
“I’m here to see Mister Guillion,” Joshua said, “My name is Joshua Heseltine.”
“Ah yes,” the snivelling man said, “He’s expecting a Joshua Heseltine. I must admit I thought you’d be older, but no matter. Go up the stairs, and to the third door on the right. Please make sure you knock, and await an invitation.”
“Yes sir,” the boy said.
At the door he knocked, and waited. After a few minutes, he was tempted to knock again, but before he could someone beckoned him in.
“And what do we have here?” an old man asked from a grand chair.
“My name is Joshua Heseltine,” the boy said, “And I’m here to see Mister Guillion.”
“Well you’ve seen him, are you to go?” the man asked.
“No, sir,” the boy said with a quick bow of his head, “My father, also Joshua Heseltine sends you this message, and a gift.”
“Ah yes, I know your father, or know of him. We’ve not had the pleasure of actually meeting. Let me see this message and gift,” the old man beckoned the boy on with a wave of his hand.
The boy presented the letter and the gold brick to the old man.
“My,” the old man felt the weight of the brick, “He has indeed kept his word. I bet this is the very sum he promised.”
“My father is a man of honour, if he promised you something, he would keep that promise,” Joshua said proudly.
“Quite so, it appears,” Guillion said, “Though I wonder if you would think so if you knew your father was a thief and a murderer.”
Joshua felt on shaky ground here, he knew his father had done things in the past, but he was a legitimate businessman, as diligent and frugal as the rest of them. “I find that hard to believe,” Joshua said finally, “But I’m sure he has paid for anything in his past.”
“Oh yes,” the man said, “This letter explains just what he’s paying back. The very gold he stole from me, and the life of his son, in exchange for the life of my son whom he killed twenty years ago. Do you think him quite so honourable now.”
“I,” Joshua was at a loss for words, he decided to run, get away from the madness. Before he got five paces towards the door, from out of no where he was grabbed. Another burly man, with dark skin and dressed in leathers carried him bodily back to the old man.
“Don’t worry,” the old man said, “My taste for killing is long ago. You have not stole from me.”
“Then what?” the boy asked, still restrained.
“You will come with me, I find myself in need of a son, and clearly you are in need of a father,” the old man said, “If you are as smart as you seem, you can go far in this world.”
“I don’t want to,” the boy protested.
“Clearly,” the old man said, “But regardless, that is my decision, and your father has given you to me. Try not cause a nuiscance and no harm will come to you.”
Ten years later a young man crossed the city from the port he headed inland. He found the offices of Joshua Heseltine. He went in, unannounced.
“Can I help you?” the old man behind a desk asked, “I should warn you I see lenders on Tuesday and Thursdays. If you are after money go elsewhere.”
“I am amply endowed with money,” the young man said. “Do you not recognise me?”
The old man scutinised the younger one. “You seem familiar,” he said.
“I should, my name is, or was Joshua Heseltine Junior,” the young man said.
“No, it cannot be,” the man looked aghast.
“What? That I’m here? That I’m alive?” the young man said, his words puncuated by anger. “After you sent me to die at the hands of a man you gravely wronged?”
“It’s a miracle,” the man said rising to his feet his arms held open.
“No, not like that. I’m here to kill you father,” the young man said as he drew his sword.