It’s Time To Step Up
Dion rode his black Harley along Valley Road with the Yakima River winding beside him. For the first time in his life, he was unaware of the beauty and contrasts of Washington State. The clear water racing between the rocky shores lined with trees were a blur today. Percy’s misdeeds filled his mind with dread, loathing and sorrow. He shook his head and thought, How could I have allowed myself to become a murderer. I killed a cop for a woman who has too many loose screws to be sane. Loving her was the biggest mistake of my life, but I seem unable to stop loving her.
Tears threatened as he careened around the curves, pushing the limits of speed and his skill. He understood why Percy was doing what she was doing, but it was too much. The price was too high for what she wanted. Too much drama, too much killing, too much self-centered angst. Like I’m one to talk. A man with a law degree, a member of the bar, a great prosecutor and I’ve thrown it all away for beer, a woman, and my Harley. I’ve only two weeks left of leave before I have to give up my career or turn my back on Percy. Who am I kidding? My career and my life are over.
He forced himself to look at the beauty surrounding him. The crystal clear water flowed over rocks and grazed the banks close to the road he drove upon. The breeze was warm but soft. Smells of water, grass, wild flowers and the earth helped him settle a bit. His drive became the communion he yearned for and needed nearly as much as he needed to help Percy.
When he neared Yakima he slowed, not feeling better exactly, but feeling a calm resolve to end the nightmare. His distress about how he’d handled things so far, increased. There was no way to turn back and undo the mess he’d made of his life. He knew killing the cop was a step too far, and he had to pay for the horrible wrong he’d committed. His actions doomed him. No matter what choices he made from here on out, his life was over.
He went to the Chevron station by Interstate 82, filled up his tank, went to the bathroom, then was back on his bike heading home to Easton.
The beauty of his home state surrounded him. As he thought of the reality of his life, all he could see was the bloody, bruised body of his brother and the burning car of an innocent man he’d killed. He said, “I can’t forgive you for this, Percy. I can’t forgive myself for all I’ve allowed you to do and all I’ve done to protect you. If Ned dies, so do you.” His soul knew when he’d embarked with Percy on paths of death and destruction his own life would end on this planet. But he yearned to not take his brother with him. Ned was innocent.
He looked up at the clear blue sky and said, “Okay God, it’s time to prove whether you’re real. My brother is a good and honorable man. He deserves to return to his loving wife and child. Take me if you must have a sacrifice. I deserve your retribution.” Dion shuddered a little and then settled into the ride. It was decision time. It was time for him to step up and be a man.
Audio Version of story narrated by David Clemens: