Great Expectations – Part Four

He was scrambling around the apartment now. What he was trying to orchestrate would take all his nous. How could he leave without a trace while letting his loved ones know he was safe?

His phone began to ring. The authorities were unscrupulous with their time management and he had missed the first checkpoint. They wouldn’t be worried just yet. He had missed checkpoints in the past. Their worry would begin when he missed two in a row. Something he’d never done.

So he couldn’t be swayed, he switched his phone to silent to disengage from the guilt.

As he packed necessities into a small rucksack he thought of ways to contact his friends and family. Nothing came to mind. The establishment would be clinical with their search and would stop at nothing to find him. Their hunt would be amplified by desperation.

He would have to leave now. It wouldn’t be long before they sent people to check on his whereabouts. There was only one thing he could do.

In order to make a clean break, he couldn’t leave any hints. This isn’t some fairytale, he realised. Yes, they’d be distressed. Angry too. But he had spent the entirety of his life helping and pleasing others. Now was the time he did something for himself. Besides, he could try and make contact with them once the dust had settled. Lord knows how long that would be.

He left the apartment. He had played around with the circuitry of the keycard slot making it difficult to open the door without a battering ram.

As he limped down the steps, he was overcome with excitement. This was it. He was breaking away. He pushed away thoughts of, “What would they think?” and enjoyed the euphoria of the situation.

He opened the door and pulled a cap firmly over his head. He glanced back at the apartment block one last time, smiled and walked away.

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Great Expectations – Part Three

He would have to leave soon. He had an hour at most. He hated these awkward lengths of time. Long enough to do something significant. But short enough to waste.

He talked himself into watching TV and found himself searching for comic relief.

Despite his best intentions, he couldn’t drift off into the mindless drivel that occupied his screen. His mind was busy thinking and planning. How could he ‘go missing’? Would it be so wrong to follow his heart for once? He was such a logical man. Always calculating probabilities and approaching scenarios methodically.

He found himself creating a pros and cons list in his head, even now. He shook his head vigorously, attempting to disarm his systematic brain to no avail. He could convince himself either way.

He was leading a selfless life. He was using his God-given gifts for the betterment of society. The corporate adage, ‘everyone is replaceable’ didn’t apply to him. He was, quite literally, the only person who could do what he could do.

But he wasn’t fulfilled. He would falter eventually. The life he was leading wasn’t sustainable.

His rational mind was in overdrive now. Despite all the things he was,  he wasn’t immortal. Earth would have to learn to survive without him at some stage; the question was: when?

Perhaps it was in the best interests of the globe if he stepped away now. The people would be forced to step up. To adapt. He could oversee proceedings from afar and interject if things became a little too dire.

The idea of taking a step back was gaining traction. Would they look for him? Would they beg or ridicule him?

Ten minutes to make a decision.

Great Expectations – Part Two

With his bags packed and his stomach grumbling, he began to prepare breakfast. Knowing it might be some time before he got to cook a good meal for himself, he savoured the experience.

He thought it ironic that he enjoyed cooking and other simple things, given what he was capable of. He prepared his scrambled eggs with precision. He didn’t overbeat the mixture making sure it was a marbled yellow colour.

He knew cereal wasn’t the healthiest option but he helped himself to a large bowl anyway. He poured the milk carefully and switched on his laptop. He savoured the crunch of the cereal as the old laptop came to life. He had picked up the computer second hand years ago and somehow it continued to run.

He left the computer to load, not wanting his cereal to turn to mush. You see, cereal eating is an art. The first few spoonfuls are about enjoying the crunch with the freshness of the milk. Then there’s the golden period where the cereal starts to absorb the milk though retains its shape. Once past this, you’re left with an amorphous mass and this is best scooped into the nearest bin.

He checked his emails having finished his cereal. The eggs continued to cook away on the stove. The amount of junk that filled his inbox flummoxed him. He would like to meet the people who spent their time making and sending spam mail. He’d punch them in their collective noses.

His eggs were ready by the time his inbox was clear of trash. He could never seem to eat slowly despite his best intentions. Maybe it was because he had lived alone for so long. Without company, he had no one to talk with.

He pushed his now egg-less dish to one side and dragged the laptop forward. Damn. Still no reply. He had spent hours crafting clever emails in hope he would get some kind of lead.

Even if had received a response of two, would he act on it? Would he have the balls to move away from what he was born to do and instead pursue something he was less adept at but more passionate about?

He wouldn’t have to worry about that quandary as he stared at an empty inbox.

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.