Great Expectations – Part One

It’s interesting how it goes. One day it feels like you’re making progress only for the next day to come along and stump you.

He hadn’t been back long when the calls began. All he had wanted was a small break. But the expectations were too high. What would happen to the people if he ‘disappeared’?

Catastrophe most likely. And he’d be to blame. After all, it was him, and him alone, that could stop them.

He was commended upon his return by the officials, as always. It was nice, but he never felt comfortable when heaped with praise. He didn’t feel worthy. He was only doing what anyone in his position with his abilities would do. To him, it was like the celebrating a birthday. What for? The child had not contributed to his birth. Apart from being the lucky by-product of the whole messy event.

He attended the ceremonies nevertheless. He wore the medals. He made the speech. They told him to take a well-deserved break and that he would not be bothered unless absolutely necessary.

Two days is better than none, he thought as he organised his gear. Much of his first choice equipment was in the shop for repairs. He’d be forced to use what he had lying around.

His wounds were still ripe, he noticed, as he changed his dressings. He was unable to fully bear weight on his left leg and was relying on a cane to make his way around the apartment.

He stood in front of the mirror wearing nothing but his briefs and he pondered his situation. The reflection cast was of a man somewhere in his middle thirties. Faded scars painted his body, though rather than looking ungainly they added to his aura. One scar, in particular, marked his left thigh. It was deeper than the rest and was dead straight spanning almost the entire length from hip to knee.

Apart from the scars, he struck a handsome figure. His skin was fair and his hair a dark brown, though at times appeared almost burgundy when struck by the light. It was neatly cropped, requiring little maintenance.

He had a beard, which reflected his mood. It was wild and thick. His fingers battled to make their way through the follicular jungle.

He had an athletic and unassuming physique. But this was merely a guise. Hard and sinewy, the man was well balanced. He was not burdened by muscle, which would make his movements slow and cumbersome, nor was he too skinny. He was lithe and powerful; a potent combination.

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