Two months later, Snyder sat in bed in his hospital room. Bandages covered his face other than his eyes and mouth. He opened the letter Father Goodwin had sent to him and removed a print out of a newsreader screen.
Father Goodwin had written across the top in bold red type, â€œI HOPE YOUâ€™RE HAPPY!!!!â€
The story read:
Local Priest Commits Suicide
Las Vegas, NV: At the Circus Circus casino, guests found Father Jude Bernardâ€™s body at the bottom of the swimming pool. Bernard had jumped into the pool with a hundred pound barbell tied to his neck.
Police found a cryptic suicide note in a waterproof compartment of the priestâ€™s cassock. The note read, â€œBut he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. â€œ
Snyder sneered. â€œNow, not only am I res-ponsible for your sin, but your note makes me responsible for your death, Padre.â€
A sneak preview story caught his eye:
Prosecutor Found Dead
Las Vegas, NV: A noted military prosecutor, Major Bryce Hollerman, died last night when he lost control of his car and went off the road.
Snyder hesitated. Hollerman wasnâ€™t a bad guy. He just had some bad ideas.
It was bound to happen. Thatâ€™s life. Couldâ€™ve been Dread or that ever-lovinâ€™ kiss-up, Merle. Â
Snyder laughed. Merle, successfully stage a murder?
A third item caught Snyderâ€™s eye.
Â Â Â Â Â
Las Vegas, NV: Major Charlie Merle has said Colonel Paul Dread lied about an incident under oath, but has apologized will not be prosecuted.
Dread, apologize? He was incapable of it. â€œMajor Charlie Merle, what a sap. Unless Dread killed the major so Merle could get promoted and Prosecutor Merle agreed to drop the case to return the favor.â€
But who cares if a guy who was only trying to do his job was killed so a dolt could replace him? Not my concern.
Snyder put down the letter from Goodwin and filed it way along with his other reasons for being irreligious.
He picked up the half-drank shot glass of scotch on the bedstead. Nick Verducciâ€™s friends could drink in Verducciâ€™s hospital. But Snyder would stick with one drink this time.
Snyder grinned like the Cheshire cat, left the Scotch, and walked out, ignoring the insult-ing courtesy. The big day heâ€™d been waiting for had finally arrived
The nurse and Snyder into Dr. Abraham Arturoâ€™s plush office. Dr. Arturo said, â€œItâ€™s at last time to see my latest masterpiece.â€
Arturo unwound the bandages. With each layer gone, Snyder felt a little more human. The process had begun when the doctor removed the bandages on his eyes and mouth, areas where healing balm had not been administered. The rest of his face was a matter of moving bones and cartilage back where they belonged, a task beyond the nanitesâ€™ capabilities.
Arturo washed Snyderâ€™s face with a wipe and pulled out a small mirror. â€œBehold.â€
Snyder stared in the mirror and touched his cheek. â€œItâ€™s me.â€
But it was different than it had been before the beatings and the betrayals. Something was different about this man staring back at him that hadnâ€™t been there three months before.
The doctor sighed. â€œI know whatâ€™s wrong.Â Thereâ€™s a very small scar on your forehead.â€
Snyder frowned. â€œThere is?â€
â€œOnly the trained eye can see it. A couple more days of healing balm should correct it.â€
Snyder glanced away. â€œDoc, you know, some scars never heal.â€
This concludes the story. Further adventures of A.L. Snyder are available in the Laser and Sword issues.
Tales of the Dim Knight is available in Paperback form, in the Kindle StoreÂ as well as on Smashwords in a variety of formats. At both sites, you can get extensive free excerpts on your computer, or sent directly to your Kindle device from the Kindle store.