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He knew people were worried, the camp was restless. Roger was their savior, had kept them alive while the rest of the world sought to destroy them. Out of fear and respect, people kept their tongues locked behind yellowing teeth.
"I want to talk to you, son," Roger said, guiding Jamie through the underbrush. They had been travelling through the forest for days, setting up camps.
Jamie wondered what his father had planned. They were backtracking, carelessly, through the wilderness. They were bound to stumble upon a hoard. He knew people were worried, the camp was restless. Roger was their savior, had kept them alive while the rest of the world sought to destroy them. Out of fear and respect, people kept their tongues locked behind yellowing teeth.
Roger led his son through the forest, to what was once called the Langley Gorge. He had gone there as a boy, to hunt with his father. They spent days in the forest. At night they would stand inches from death and watch the sun drop behind the mountains. He wanted Jamie to see it. It was a good place, untouched.
"Dad?" Jamie asked. They stood with their toes on the edge of a large ravine. "What are we doing here?"
"I wanted to talk to you about something very important," Roger said. "Since your mother..." Roger looked away.
"Mom is in a better place," Jamie said. He put his hand on his father's arm
Roger nodded. "You're brave, this is why I want you to be able to see…” Roger said. "I want you to know the truth."
Roger pointed down, 500 feet down, to where the sharply pointed rocks jutted up from the brown earth. "There is no safety, there is no cure," Roger said. "We are all going to die."
"But you said..." Jamie whispered.
"I lied," Roger admitted, 'To make everyone happy."
Roger moved so he was behind Jamie, the gun in his pocket now in his hand. He pulled the safety back. Jamie turned, shocked. "Dad..."
"I want you to jump, son," Roger said. "I want you to jump now."
Jamie shook his head. "Dad there has to be a way, a cure," Jamie said. He looked up at his hero and saw a stranger instead. “You said there were people in France…”
“I lied. I wanted to believe they would find a cure for this whole damn plague… but it won’t happen, son,” Roger said. “Please, do it. Your mother is dead. I cannot stand here waiting for you to die, to become one of them.”
"What about the..." Jamie said, looking back towards the woods. "What about the rest of the group."
Roger shook his head, tears running down his cheeks. "I took care of them," Roger said. "The thing about being in law is that you learn how to make things look like an accident... and how to be silent about it."
"I don't want to die."
"I didn't want the fucking world to end," Roger said. "But shit happens and now... I am doing you a favor."
Jamie felt the warm press of his father's hand. Then he was falling, down, down. He didn't scream. He closed his eyes and waited for death to take him.
The last sound he heard, before his bones became puzzle pieces, was the lone shot of his father's gun.
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