-XVIII-

Listen to the Guns n’ Graves theme song while reading!

The Keeper of Minds stood and looked around the bloody, beat up bar room.  The bodies lay in heaps, unmoving.
               This is remarkable…
               John smiled and looked at Athan.  Athan was smiling too.
               Did he hear that too? John thought.
               “I hate the stench of dead corpses,” the Keeper of Souls said.  “Plus… it hurts.”
               She looked away quick and John thought for a second he could see a tear glistening in her eye.  He looked at the Keeper of Minds.  John wanted to ask about it but the Keeper of Minds went wide eyed.
               Some things are better off left unknown for the moment…
               John nodded and then slapped Athan on the arm.
               “I guess we did good,” John said in a cowboy voice.  “I’m thinkin’ we deserve us a break.”
               “There is no break!” the Keeper of Souls bellowed.  “A break will the last moment existence is given.”
               John felt his face turn three shades of red.  Shock.  Anger.  Shame.
               “I’m sorry,” John fumbled on his words, “I didn’t mean… anything…”
               “Let’s not worry over said words,” the Keeper of Minds said.  “How about we reconvene in the back.  There is much to talk about with no time to do so.”
               The Keeper of Souls rushed by John and Athan, letting out a small growl as she moved by.  The Keeper of Minds went next and he tapped John and Athan’s shoulders.
               No worries.  In time all answers will be revealed.
               “What about my body back there?” John asked.  “I’m not going to stand around and look at myself…”
               “John,” Athan whispered, “you must trust all around you.  Just follow.”
               John looked at Athan and there was so much honesty in the big man’s eyes he couldn’t help but walk.  John moved towards the door and we he looked past it, he couldn’t believe it.  The backroom was different.  It still wasn’t the kitchen full of food he hoped for, but it also wasn’t the muddy pit where he found his own body.
               “What is this?” he asked.
               The Keeper of Minds moved and John saw a long table with four chairs.
               “Where we talk,” Athan said.
               John stepped through the doorway and then paused.  “What about our friends out there?   Are there more?  Can they get through?”
               “Let time and the mind work, not stupidity,” the Keeper of Souls said.  She pointed towards the bar and then looked away in a snotty way.
               John turned around and saw the bar was empty.  Not a single zombie anywhere.  Not a table was unturned.  Not a spatter of blood.  It looked just as when John walked in…
               “I don’t understand,” John said.
               “You will,” Athan said.  He walked by John and took a seat at the table.  John noted how robotic the movements looked.
               “Can you please sit or would you like to stand in a moment of time forever?” the Keeper of Souls asked.  “Hmm?  Tell me.  Is that your dying wish?”
               “Not really,” John said.
               “Then move dammit!” the Keeper of Souls shouted.  She slammed her hand on the table.  It shattered to pieces and shards of it flew at John like shrapnel.
               John ducked and covered his head as the table zoomed by.
               John thought about it and realized the table was metal…
               How did she do that? he thought.
               When John uncovered his face, he found that the table was back in its place, untouched.
               His face must have been flush because the Keeper of Souls smiled.
               “John, just join us please,” the Keeper of Minds said.
               John sat in the last chair putting himself across from Athan and in between the Keeper of Minds and the Keeper of Souls.
               The Keeper of Minds reached into his long coat and pulled out a pocket watch.  It was silver with brilliant inlays around it.  John figured it had to be worth a fortune.
               The Keeper of Minds slid it towards John.  “Open it.”
               John picked up the watch and noted how heavy it was.  It was real, not some cheap watch made overseas with fake metals.  John pressed the top and the watch flipped open.
               The minute and hour hands were dangling, loose.
               “It’s broken,” John said.
               “Use less of your mind and more of your soul,” the Keeper of Souls said.
               John looked to the watch again… then he heard it.
               Tick-tock.  Tick-tock.  Tick…tick…tick…tick-tock.
               “It’s working,” John said.
               “He’s playing with time already,” the Keeper of Minds said.
               “What do you mean?” John asked.

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About Jim Bronyaur

Jim Bronyaur writes mystery, thriller, and horror books. Grab a book at www.JimBronyaur.com Tweet him @JimBronyaur And for those who have Kindles and Prime, you may be able to get some of Jim's books for FREE!
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