New Dawn

10/26/23

EDITOR’S NOTE: “New Dawn” was first published May 4, 2023. This Flash Fiction Rewind is in celebration of Beau Johnson’s new bestselling release The Abrum Files: A Bishop Rider Book. Follow along this week to read bits of Bishop Rider from the Shotgun Honey archives.

I tell him I was a child when my father is ripped apart. Nine going on ten, in fact. I explain how it went down but admit the pieces of information I’d been given throughout the years can at best only recreate my father’s demise as a facsimile and nothing more.

“I do imagine he screamed, though, Chuck.” I say, and getting up from my chair, reposition my grip upon the axe. Chuck whimpers, pulls back, but only as far as the chains from which he hung would allow. “I also imagine he begged.” 

I don’t know these things for certain but have always assumed the threshold of probability sat somewhere between a sure thing and the type of food worms build their lives upon. What I absolutely do know for certain is that he ends up resting within the same rusted wheelbarrow as the one that held what remained of my mother. 

Makes me ask Chuck if he now saw how the two of us might be similar due to that unfortunate regard.

How he might have gone and poked a bear he never knew existed.

He shakes his head like the question mattered, the caterpillars above his eyes as matted as the hair stuck to the sides of his neck. There’s ink there, running up the one side, a snake’s head peppered by acne and veins. This didn’t matter much either, but I’d been shown by the best that retribution could be served in a myriad of ways.

“It took me awhile to find the men responsible. For dear old dad’s death, I mean. That part I lived through and can attest to, Chuck. That part being what’s called a first-hand account.” The gag is sopping, dripping, full of saliva and snot and every vile thing this man had ever done. It brought back different memories, better times, and as I look around a basement I’d spent many a night in I realize I’ve missed this part of my life more than I thought I would. Not the piss and shit that hammers at me like a wall, but the smell of older blood, past kills, and the oil of the weapons around me that made every one of those things possible.

I continue: “Not that you care, but a good couple decades is what it took. To find these men, I mean. And you know what, Chuck? I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Bishop Rider is one of the men I’m referring to. You bet, my man. The one and only.” 

I can envision my father standing over Rider after getting the drop on him in his strip club. Bishop, decked in Kevlar, now upon the floor, watching as my father raises his shotgun in an attempt at emptying two things at once. I then look to the shadow where in my mind John Batista is purported to enter the fray, his own shotgun up and barking before my father is able to unleash his. Knees become nonexistent in the blink of an eye I’m told, and that Marcel Abrum writhed in pain as the removal of said bone sends him howling to the ground.

After this comes the wheelbarrow, where Batista and Rider in time add pieces of my father to the pieces of my mother already at home within.

I pause. I breathe. And it’s not that I’m angry. It’s because I wish I’d been given the opportunity to take him apart as they took him apart—to stack as they stacked. For my father to see the end result of what his actions put into play.

“So when I come upon your story, a known sex offender who may or may not chop up his victims in an attempt to destroy evidence and realize you’ve been given a walk due to some very hinky lawyer shit, well, it got me feeling nostalgic. Why? Chuck, have you been paying attention at all?”

I’m not Bishop Rider. There was and could only ever be one Bishop Rider. I had the privilege of knowing him. I hold the honor of burying him. My name is Jeramiah Abrum. The son of the man who quite literally created not justice by taking a man’s family from him, but rage personified. 

For the ones Bishop Rider could not get, I have chosen to continue on. For the ones I find along the way, I’d say it’s best they begin to prepare.

Like the man bound before me was about to find out, a storm, it wasn’t just coming. 

I was already here.

~ fin ~

beaujohnson2017

Beau Johnson is the author of the Bishop Rider Books.  A Better Kind Of Hate, The Big Machine Eats, All Of Them To Burn, Brand New Dark, and coming this October from Down and Out Books, Old Man Rider, Beau’s last published book.  He lives in Canada with his wife and three boys and wants you to know it’s been an honor as much as it’s been a blast.  Long live crime fiction.  Long live the dark stuff.