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 Epilogue Part 2

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Mjolnir

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Posts : 2467
Join date : 2010-10-09
Location : London, England

PostSubject: Epilogue Part 2   Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:32 am





My-ron had rarely been so pleased that a car had come equipped with sat-nav. Ever the fan of new technology, without this little bit of kit The Cyberstar really wouldn’t have had the first idea where the hell he was right now. For the last 20 minutes he’d diligently followed a series of roads of increasing twistyness and ever-decreasing width, passing through whitened villages which seemed to have only a fleeting connection with the 20th century, let alone the 21st. His elf prince nature may enjoy camping trips and walks in the wild but there were times when his more urbanite nature took over and this was one of those occasions!

He’d landed in Inverness a bit under 3 hours ago, hastily making calls to various publicity agents and PR people to reorganise his diary for the next forty-eight hours. He’d concocted a story about a throat bug which meant he couldn’t do media interviews. Most had bought it, but he’d had to promise an extra sit down interview with Shortlist magazine to make up for the second time in a row that he’d cancelled on them.

Once the calls had been made, My-ron had headed to the car rental desk and hired whatever they had available. He suspected the girl behind the desk had recognised him, because 20 minutes later he was sitting behind the wheel of a silver Range Rover, and heading out towards the city centre. The car didn’t really matter to him - he liked the style of certain machines, but they were just a means to an end - however, even with his limited knowledge he knew that it was the right sort of vehicle for winter weather in Scotland. It was decidedly colder here than it had been in London, and there was a much thicker and denser layer of snow on the ground already than there had been in the South; the hills outside Inverness were thick with an unending see of white. 

As the name suggests, Inverness is a small city which sits at the end of the river Ness where it flows into the Moray Firth. My-ron had been here before a couple of times, a couple of weekend breaks when he was young, and a memorable trip in his student days to see an American band who were only doing one UK date and for some reason had chosen to do it there. For the most part it was a fairly quiet place. Most people came through Inverness in order to visit the enormous stretch of water to the South of the city. They took a ride on the loch, and maybe they kept an eye out just in case the famous monster surfaced. 

Well, today as he had driven towards the centre of town, My-ron had realised that he might just come face to face with a real  monster, instead of one concocted to fleece tourists out of their money. On the way up he’d had plenty of time to think about what he was doing and what might happen, and the simple truth was that in no scenario he had run through this mind did this whole thing end well. If Shand was here, then he was hardly going to be pleased to see My-ron, and for his own part there was no real love lost for David either anymore. He couldn’t be clear in his own mind what they even had to say to each other. This was a bad idea from the start.

And yet he couldn’t bring himself to turn the car around, because he knew there were things he had to know, questions that had to be asked.

So as he’d neared the centre of the City, My-ron had pulled over, switched on the sat-nav, and punched in Silbermann Street. The Sat-nav had directed him along the banks of the river, across the bridge into the older part of town, and down a narrow street to a premises which acted as an international courier and parcel service, money transfer, and of course post-office box rental. The outside gave him no real clues, so he’d parked up and ventured inside.

The guy behind the counter had given My-ron the sort of up and down surprised look which he’d grown accustomed to many years before. With the dyed silver hair, painted lips and nails, pin-stripe trousers and elfin boots, he stood out in most places. In a backstreet in Inverness, he looked like he’d beamed down from Mars. To his credit though, the shop-owner had recovered well, shot My-ron a cheerful smile, and asked if he could help.

Novaar had considered spinning some elaborate tale about wanting to rent a box himself, and then turning the conversation to Shand, but he decided that the direct approach was likely to be more fruitful. He’d simply smiled back and said he was looking for information about someone who rented one of the boxes.

Naturally, the man had stiffened and politely said that he couldn’t possibly divulge any information about one of their clients. He’d said the entire point of these PO Boxes was that they were anonymous, and he couldn’t possibly compromise that. My-ron had nodded that of course he understood. That was when he’d produced his wallet. Sometimes you just had to appeal to the baser desires in people.

20 minutes later, after promising no information would be attributable; My-ron had left the shop with new information. A place name, somewhere he’d never even heard of - Archiestown. Back in the Range Rover he’d discovered it was a tiny village about an hour away from Inverness.

And that was what had lead him to be where he was now, on this twisting back road in a rural part of the Scottish highlands. Snow was falling in wet clumps onto the bonnet and windscreen of the car and making a wet sloshing noise under the tyres where the roads hadn’t been cleared fully. According to the nav, he was about 3 miles away from what passed for a centre to Archiestown, but he still appeared to be in the middle of nowhere.

As he rounded a bend, the road sign suggested Archiestown was up a fairly steep slope off to the right, so he gunned the Range Rover for momentum and began the climb up. A couple of minutes down the road he was surprised at the sight which greeted him. Four large green industrial warehouses and several large white buildings announced the Macallan whisky distillery.  Now My-ron thought about it, he’d passed another distillery on the way over, and he was sure that the other place advertised on that sign back there, Aberlour, was also a brand of whisky. My-ron wasn’t a particular fan of this most traditional of Scottish drinks, but he knew David was, and now in some way at least it made sense that he might have settled up here.

Now he started to pass some outcrops of houses and buildings, and realised he was coming into the village of Archiestown. It really was a very small place. There were perhaps 4 or 5 shops, a collection of squat houses built of the thick grey granite which was in abundance in these parts, and in the middle there sat a square, a war monument, and a handsome three storey stone building which announced itself to be the Archiestown Hotel. It looked warm and inviting, and the car-park outside sported the sort of vehicles used by local deer stalkers and shooters. If anywhere was going to be the place to get information on a recent addition to the locals, it was going to be there.

However, he was conscious that his look might also work against him here, and in any case his information had included something else, an instruction to look for a place called Lawford cottage. Archiestown wasn’t that big a place, so he figured he could find that without scaring the locals.

Lawford Cottage wasn’t in the main residential part of Archiestown. Rather it sat maybe a mile outside the main village, further down the road he came in on. He’d almost missed the entrance to the place, as it lay back behind a wall covered in thick ivy, the sign for the cottage half obscured. Beyond the wall, the grounds of the cottage opened up to reveal a black wooden barn on the left, stark against the white snow on its roof, and on the right, in front of the barn, a large two storey granite cottage, its front wall covered in similar ivy to the perimeter wall of the place.

Cottage didn’t begin to do the place justice. It was a lovely home, a place which was obviously well cared for and yet still rustic enough to carry a certain charm. But what it didn’t immediately scream to him was “David Shand”. My-ron had been to David’s homes all over the world and they all fit a certain type. They all had a certain grandness about them, a certain imposing nature to the architecture. In fact, David had even owned a property in the Western isles of Scotland for a few years, and even that was nothing short of a turreted castle overlooking a loch. 

As nice as this place way, it just didn’t fit the profile at all.

Still, it was the information he’d been given. So he pulled the car to a halt and got out slowly. As he did so, the senses started kicking in, putting him on alert for any danger; His whole body tuning in to any sudden noise or movement. My-ron knew he was taking an enormous risk here.

The starkness and silence was almost a shock to the system. Muffled by the blanket of snow it was alarmingly quiet and still. On a better day, it would have been peaceful. Today it was slightly unnerving. He trudged slowly through the layer of snow to the front of the house and looked for obvious signs of the place being occupied. There were none, and neither were there signs of the identity of the owner. He walked to the front door and raised his hand to the large silver knocker hanging on the front door.

His hand paused, the angel – or was it a demon – on his shoulder whispering in his ear.

“Are you sure you want to do this?”

Before he could consider the question, he found his hand moving and striking the knocker against the door. Well, it was too late now!

But no answer came. The door didn’t open, and he could hear no noise of movement inside. My-ron decided to try around the back of the house, reasoning that if anyone was here but at the back of the house or in the barn, they wouldn’t have heard the knock at the door. Elfin boots weren’t ideal for snow, and he had to be careful to maintain his balance as it continued to fall, but he worked his way along to the barn, which appeared to likewise be locked and in darkness.

My-ron was beginning to think that all of this might have been a wild goose chase. David might have been having correspondence sent to the Inverness address, but that was no guarantee that he was anywhere near there. After all, it wouldn’t be unknown for him to lay a false trail about his whereabouts, and it just seemed unlikely that someone of his personality would have settled into such a mundane – though he had to admit it, beautiful – part of the world. He suspected that as soon as he’d left the shop in Inverness, the proprietor had been on the phone to some contact number to tip them off. Clearly he was wasting his time.

My-ron sighed and thrust his hands pack into the pockets of his jacket. He turned back the way he had come and began to walk back down the length of the barn toward where the car was parked. If he left now he might just make the evening flight back to London, and he could get this schedule back on course for tomorrow. He cursed himself – it was naïve and stupid to have come here. Something he should have just let go.

However, as he came near to the end of the barn, a noise surprised him. There was a scuffle, and then a low growl of a dog, wary of being surprised by the noise and scent of someone it didn’t expect to be there. My-ron stiffened – he didn’t need that sort of complication.

Another growl, and then an exploratory bark. Novaar was at least relieved to hear that the bark had more of the higher-tone yap of a small dog than the base of a large hound, but he took nothing for granted – the little one might have friends. He took a step forward, and ahead of him heard the scrabble of paws on gravel. Then, around the corner in a flurry of disturbed snow and fur came the source of the noise. An alert Jack Russell terrier, its hackles raised and its teeth bared.

My-ron’s eyes squinted. There was something familiar about that dog. It took him a second….

“Giznap?”

The dog paused a second, its teeth no longer showing. It cocked its head to one side, and licked its lips, the tail starting to wag.

“Giznap, boy, that is you isn’t it?”

It was. David’s Jack Russell terrier. Named by Luke after the Canadian CWA wrestler David first aligned himself with when he joined the company. The dog had always been around when he’d visited Asterson House.

Sure enough, at the sound of his name, the dog’s tail started to wage enthusiastically and he scampered forward toward My-ron, leaping about his feet and trying to lick any part of him he could get to. My-ron squatted down to pet the animal, and looked at the name tag hanging around his neck. The phone number was local. If Giznap was here, then David was too. The question was, where?

“Giznap!”

The call wasn’t especially loud, and nor was it said with any particular venom, and yet the one simple word shocked and stiffened both animal and human in equal measure. The terrier immediately struggled out of My-ron’s grasp, and retreated behind him out of his sight in the direction of the caller. For a moment, My-ron felt the air sucked out his body. Damn, this wasn’t the way he saw this going down. He closed his eyes for a moment to rebalance himself, and didn’t move. But then slowly, still on his haunches, he spun in the direction of the voice.

To once again face David Shand.

Shand was dressed every inch like the Scottish landowning gentleman. Cords tucked into his green wellington boots, a waxed Barbour jacket, scarf, and a tweed flat cap. His hair was shorter, his beard closely cropped, and he had lost maybe 25-30lbs in the past year from what Novaar could make out through the clothes. But those ice blue eyes were every bit as penetrating and inescapable as they had always been, staring holes in him as David’s breath curled in steam from his nostrils, making him seem like some brooding dragon. However, it wasn’t David’s dress or eyes that caught My-ron’s attention immediately. It was the thing he was carrying in his hands – a rather ornately decorated shotgun.

My-ron’s mind flashed to the last time they had seen each other, and the promise David had made at Asterson House.

“I’ll kill you for this, My-ron. You know that, don’t you – that’ll you’ll die for what you did here tonight”.

My-ron felt a lump come to his throat but forced it away. No, he wouldn’t show David any emotion because of the gun.

Even as the snow fell on his shoulders, Shand wasn’t moving, and his expression gave nothing away, but for a moment it occurred to My-ron that he was on the property uninvited. A good lawyer could probably make the case that David had shot what he thought was an intruder. If he chose to fire, My-ron knew he wouldn’t have a chance at this range. What an ending to this storied history that would be, tasting the copper of his own blood staining the snow pink as he breathed his last in some windswept corner of Scotland. He wondered how the media would spin that one.

All this flashed through his head in less than a second, and he brought himself back to the present moment. He forced words from his mouth.

“Hello, David”

Shand still didn’t move, and his expression didn’t change. Slowly My-ron raised his hands in front of him in a pacifying gesture, and rose back up to a standing position. If there was a perceptible change in David’s face, it perhaps shaded into a slight scowl, but that was only noticeable because Novaar knew him so well. To anyone else, Shand remained a blank canvas. At least he didn’t raise the gun, which was one thing.

My-ron spoke again.

“David, I want to talk to you”

For a second, the giant didn’t move, and then slowly he nodded his head, but not in agreement, rather back toward the entrance to the house where the car was parked. And now he spoke, his words crisp and precise, but detached and without a trace of emotion.

“Get off my property”

“David, I…”

My-ron’s eyes once again flashed to the gun. This time he swallowed hard but there was a difference. He’d come for a reason. He would see this through…

“…..No, I’m not going anywhere. We need to talk”

David’s expression hardened. He moved toward My-ron and for a moment Novaar feared things would become physical. However, Shand simply drew up beside him, and without looking at him, spoke again, softer this time.

“I said leave, now, while I choose to still extend you some modest amount of courtesy”

The giant then walked straight past him toward the house. He paused a few steps ahead, and without turning called over his shoulder.

“You’ll still make the evening flight if you hurry. Goodbye”

With that, he walked away toward the house. For a second or two My-ron didn’t move. The snow continued to fall but Novaar didn’t feel the growing cold. Finally, slowly, he got to his feet. With his face set in what he hoped was a look of defiance Novaar followed David inside.

Through the door My-ron found himself in the hallway of the cottage. Like the rest of the house it didn’t immediately scream David Shand to him. Sparse, minimal, it lacked much in the way of decoration. None of the old wrestling pictures that had lined the walls of David’s other homes. And, My-ron noted, no pictures of David’s family.

The whistle of a kettle gave My-ron a clue to David’s location and he followed into the country kitchen. As My-ron entered, David had his back to the door, pouring what smelled like a cup of a particular black tea he liked to drink. More a Jasmine drinker My-ron had never developed a taste for it after trying some as a student. It didn’t matter, though, as David had only poured one cup.

A couple of second passed and My-ron waited for David to react. Instead Shand simply stayed where he was, looking out of the window although his posture somehow told My-ron that David knew he was there.

“You didn’t expect me to leave then?”

Novaar threw the question out there, Shand simply took a drink from his cup. Finally though, he replied.

“No, you never were good at following instructions. But I don’t think we have anything left to talk about. Why are you here My-ron, what do you want?”

Here we go, My-ron told himself. He shook the snow from his jacket, realising for the first time that he was damp. No sense in rushing this. That had happened too many times in the past.

“I couldn’t leave things the way we left them.”

David slowly turned, a look of fury beginning to show on his face. Shand had always been one for controlled anger but there was a hint that he might be about to lose it. My-ron braced himself.

“Why not? You already got what you wanted didn’t you? You won. How dare you come here…now! How dare you seek me out! What the hell gives you the right, what gives you the right to do this after all this time?”

My-ron had expected this part of the conversation. The anger. The resentment. Deep down, part him knew that if the tables had turned My-Ron would be doing the same. But that didn’t change what had happened, what David had done or how My-ron had gained his revenge. My-ron held his arms out wide.

“David, I…”

David took a step forward, planting the cup of the table with a little less control than it looked like he hoped. Tea sloshed out of the cup and onto his sleeve. For a second it looked as if David would reach for one of the cloths but, instead, he fixed his eyes firmly on Novaar again, his finger pointing.

“Wait, don’t you dare climb on some moral high horse and tell me that this is all continued payback for the past. You got more than enough payback a year ago. Isn’t that what that night was all about, gaining some ultimate victory and proving you were right?”

My-ron could feel his cheeks begin to flush and saw the same in David’s face. They had often been a dark mirror for one another. Now more than ever. My-ron tried to force the anger inside down. He kept his tone neutral.

“No, it wasn’t. It was…”

David finally picked up a cloth and started drying his arm. As he did Shand turned away, looking out of the window again. His back firmly turned on My-ron. A symbolic gesture. There was a bitter tone to his voice.

“Save it! I’m not interested anymore. The fact is that I’m not interested in fighting with you further, or with whatever else you have to say. I’m not sure what more blood you want to squeeze from this stone, or what you hope to achieve by coming here? But whatever it is, I’m not interested”

The anger inside My-ron finally forced its way to the top.

“Will you just give me a chance to speak? How do you know what I’m going to say?!?”

My-ron closed his eyes, took a breath and then opened them again. David was at least facing him but the look on Shand’s face still gave little hope. My-ron continued, a more even tone to his voice.

“Look, its not about any of that. The last year has allowed me to do a lot of thinking David, and the truth is that I’m not comfortable anymore with the way things were left…”

David laughed but it was a cold, bitter laugh that didn’t light up his face. His stare bit into My-ron.

“And what? You’ve come here to ease your conscience? Well I’m sorry My-ron, but I’m not about to provide you with any sort of absolution. We’ve been there with the shoe on the other foot and it’s a pointless exercise. And even if you wanted to – and I don’t suspect you do – you couldn’t undo the damage you’ve done, just as I couldn’t. So again, I don’t see the point in you being here. In the past, there was something between us. Friend or enemy, good or bad, there was something that kept us coming back to each other. But you must see its not there anymore, its an empty void.”

Novaar took a step towards David, wanting to close the distance.

“Its not empty David, take another look. Your son is still in there…”

It was David’s turn to take a step again. Two, in fact. Steps that brought him almost face to face with Novaar. The latter didn’t flinch, knowing that shot would land but also that it was a necessary part. Shand again raised his hand to point directly at Novaar.

“Don’t you dare! Don’t you dare hold Luke over me! Does he even know you’re here?”

My-ron folded his arms behind his back, wanting to keep his posture open. It also left him in the firing line if David did decide to take a swing at him and, at this range, even Novaar’s Neo-like reflexes might not save him. My-ron hoped this gesture wasn’t lost on David.

“No, he doesn’t know about any of this…”

My-ron kept his eyes fixed on David’s. They’d stared each over down in the ring before but this was different. It wasn’t about dominance. It was about maintaining the equilibrium. David’ posture relaxed a little.

“I thought not. I can’t imagine he’d be pleased.”

My-ron took another breath. Time to explain why he was here.

“We need to talk about him.”

David laughed, again with hints of bitterness but also…was that sadness? Tiredness even ?

“No, we don’t. I don’t have any role in his life.”

“And that’s how you want it?”

That hit the mark. Having controlled his anger, for the most part, so far Shand’s hand shot out, grabbing Novaar’s jacket collar. Its companion quickly followed.

“You despicable bastard! You don’t dare to ask that question! You don’t get to say that. You NEVER get to say that! Do you understand? Never. You know its not what I want…”

It was Shand’s turn to close his eyes. He appeared to regret the outburst. Letting go off Novaar’s jacket, he turned away again and went back to the window. David took a long deep breath, re-centering himself. When he spoke now, he was calmer

“The simply fact is, as you well know, that it doesn’t matter - what I want. It’s the way it is and I’ve learned to accept it. My son doesn’t want me in his life and I’ve at least been able to respect his wishes. You obviously can’t do the same, or you wouldn’t be here.”

My-ron straightened his collar, partly reflex but partly to buy a few seconds before he responded.

“Its because I do respect Luke’s wishes that I am here – its because, even if he doesn’t, I need.....I need to know.”

David’s eyebrows raised. My-ron could see that, for all the anger a small part of Shand was also curious about what he had to say.

“Know what? Where I am and what I’m doing? You think its some duty you have to spy on me for him?”

Novaar rubbed his eyes, breaking the contact for a second. This was the difficult bit. Looking back at Shand the anger in David’s face had now been replaced with a questioning look.

“No, its not what I meant….There’s something... I, need to know if I can ask…look I don’t know I suppose. I just….”

Damn, stumbling like a idiot! My-ron cursed himself, internally. The ultimate showman was lost for words! David’s eyebrows raised again.

“You aren’t just here for Luke, are you?”

Novaar held his arms out wide again. His shoulders shrugged.

“The truth? I don’t know - that’s why we need to talk.”

David considered the reply, taking a few seconds to respond, even move. Finally he took a seat at the table. He gestured for My-ron to join him.

“Sit down.”

My-ron remained on his feet, a look of uncertainty playing on his face. David simply waited.

“Is that a welcome?”

A rueful smile played on David’s lips.

“I wouldn’t go that far, [sigh] but I meant what I said, I don’t want to fight you anymore. So, I suppose, just sit down.”

My-ron took a seat. David took another drink of tea and then continued.

“Since you’re here, you may as well listen. My-ron, you say you’ve done a lot of thinking in the past year? Well you aren’t the only one. Thinking is about all I’ve done for the past year, and most of it has been about Luke. I came to a realisation that as much as I hated to admit it, Luke was right about a few things – one of which was that history does repeat itself. I play that night back in my head now and I see myself, but standing on the other side of that desk, in Luke’s shoes, rounding on my own father and throwing the same accusations of over burdensome control at him.”

My-ron shook his head.

“I think your situation was different.”

“Was it? I’m not so sure. I know you may find this hard to believe, but where Luke was concerned I still like to think my intentions were good. I’ll hold my hands up to what I did to you and to Matthew, but where Luke was concerned? No, I wanted what I thought was best. My motives were genuine.”

My-ron didn’t comment at this, and David went on

“But in turn, that leads me to consider something else. Something I never really thought about before - that perhaps so were my father’s? Or perhaps in the great scheme of things it really doesn’t matter? The road to hell is paved with good intentions – as they say – and one lot of good intentions doesn’t make up for everything he did, or I did. Perhaps I can see that now, perhaps I can see that my son is better off without my influence.”

My-ron sat back in his seat, curiosity playing on his painted features.

“In the way you were from your father?”

“Perhaps, before I did my best to ruin it. I wonder if my uncle Henry wasn’t right about things. Perhaps in all my efforts to escape him, the irony is that I became my father after all.”

My-ron sat up again.

“Is that was all this is about, the move up here? You’e giving Luke the space you tried to create between you and your father? Trying to get away, to give Luke room the way you needed it?”

David seemed to consider his reply, draining the last of the quickly cooling tea.

“Only partially. It was a means to an end if anything. But I suppose the important thing is that I’ve stayed away, I’ve stayed distant. I’ve done my part, until you showed up. Look around you My-ron – no phones, no internet connection, no television. No temptation to get back into his life, to interfere. Do you realise how easy it would have been? Even with you watching over him, I could have done so much this past year. Called in favours, opened doors, I could have sat back and guided from the wings like some malevolent Phantom of the Opera. But that would have been to repeat the mistakes of history once more – mistakes I made with Matthew, and with you. I couldn’t do that – I couldn’t take from him the things I took from you or Matt. So doing it this way was just…..”

My-ron finished the sentence.

“..easier?”

David slowly shook his head, a hint of sadness playing on his face. For the first time My-ron noticed something else about him: Shand looked older, worn around the edges. David continued.

“No, no not easier. Nothing about this has been easy. But it was right, and that was what was important. I finally realised too late what was genuinely important.”

A rueful look passed across My-ron’s face and he rubbed his chin.

“It’s a shame you didn’t realise it a lot earlier…Look, that wasn’t a dig. I know it can’t have been easy, this last year.”

David looked out of the window again. There was no trace now of the posturing persona he showed the world. This was the real him, a person few people knew.

“Truthfully, its been a hard lesson, and its killed me. Not being able to see what he was doing. Wondering every night where he was. Only being able to guess what he was doing. He was the only good that I ever did, My-ron. I cam to realise that. Everything else in my life has become tainted. And I couldn’t hold on to that one thing. I squandered it.”

He turned back toward Novaar, an almost confused look on his face

“And you want to know the really pathetic and perverse thing about it all – the really twisted and messed up part of the thoughts that ran through my head?”

David laughed to himself

“This is so twisted it actually makes me laugh, but through it all, the only comfort I could gain from any of this, the only thing that could put my mind at rest about my son’s future, was you. Can you believe that?”

That wasn’t what My-ron was expecting to hear and it took him a second or two to realise that his face had followed suit.

“Me?”

Shand slowly nodded.

“Yes, despite everything. Despite the fact that on one level I would have called on all the fires of heaven and hell to destroy you, despite the hatred I felt for you – and rest assured for a time I hated you like I’ve never hated anyone in my life - on some ridiculous level it was some measure of comfort to know that at least you were looking out for him.”

Novaar broke the eye contact again. This really wasn’t what he’d expected to hear, not at all. Even in his more positive moments of thought about this meeting he’d not expect this response. My-ron raised his head and looked David in the yes again.

“Honestly, I don’t know what to say to that.”

David let out another small laugh, the most genuine one since My-ron had arrived.

“Good, I’d almost be offended if you did because it beat the hell out of me.”

“I have been, you should know that. I’ve done everything I could for him.”

It was David’s turn to sit back in his chair, which creaked under his large frame.

“That’s just it. You don’t need to tell me that. Even at the worst times between us, you never held the sins of the father against the son. Even though I despised you for taking my son away from me, wanted to believe that you did it out of spite, and tried to convince myself that once the novelty wore off you’d walk away, I always knew you wouldn’t.

It burnt me up for the first couple of months, what you’d done. I’ll admit to you now that several times I came close to moving against you. Professionally, personally. I wrote letters and dialled phone numbers that could have had some very dire consequences for you had I not burnt them or hung up the phone.”

A conditioned reflex from their years of hostility, Novaar bristled, arms folding across his chest. A defensive move but David had made it so.

“I was pretty well protected.”

David’s stare intensified, and a slight smile spread across his face.

“You were, but not well enough.”

Novaar bristled again, sitting forward in his chair, a defiant look in his own eyes.

“Am I supposed to be scared by that?”

David’s posture didn’t relax but it didn’t give any more hint at aggression than his words had, moments before.

“No, not at all. I don’t expect you to be scared of me. But you wanted to talk so its important that I put all my cards on the table. You have to understand the anger I felt at the idea of you taking my son from me. You have to appreciate that in order to understand how perverse it then also felt to be glad that if anyone was guiding him, it was you. Now that, that was a struggle. But as time went on I came to realise – you didn’t take Luke. He left because I never did the things I should have done as a father to make him stay.”

My-ron nodded his head, silently agreeing with the assessment. Time to play his own cards. It was his turn for a deep breath.

“You should know. I’m……..I’m sorry.”

David’s face registered genuine shock. At first he shook his head, unconsciously, as if he couldn’t quite believe what he had just heard.

“What?”

My-ron unfolded his arms, holding them open again.

“I’m sorry David. That things had to be the way they were, that it ended like that. I’m not apologising for that night really, you needed to hear every word of it, and on the night I’ll freely admit that I wanted you to go down. But like you said, time brings you an opportunity to think on things and I’m not comfortable with it all. I’m sorry for the consequences.”

David got up and walked over to the window again. Shand was clearly trying to gather his thoughts. Finally, he turned back to Novaar.

“You’re sorry? You sit there and you tell me you’re SORRY? Tell me My-ron, what does that mean? Now, to me, here, what does it achieve? I’ve said sorry to you a million times and where did I get us, we still ended up hating and destroying each other.”

Novaar remained seated.

“So you don’t regret any of it?”

Shand slumped back a little, resting against the sink, shoulders sagging slightly.

“Of course I do, but genuine regret is a very different thing from simply saying you are sorry. I regret a great many things My-ron. Professional regrets, business regrets, friendship regrets, and not least is the loss of my family.”

Novaar’s brow furrowed.

“Your family?”

“Yes. It wasn’t just Luke. You don’t think Matthew and I have had too many cosy family reunions since that night, do you?”

Novaar shrugged his own shoulders.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t know. I’ve only spoken to him a couple of times. He’s seen Luke once or twice. But what about Rachel?”

Shand looked at the floor, his huge frame now seeming smaller…more…mortal. This wasn’t the mighty Soul Reaper. This was the man.

“Its over. A marriage in name now only because its presentationally better. We live separate lives and I can’t blame her really – I hardly made it easy for her.”

The look of deep thought played on Novaar’s features a little more.

“It can’t be saved?”

“Who knows? I’m not sure its fair on her to try. In some way I think she still cares, but so much changed. Oh I don’t know, is complicated, isn’t that the way its phrased?”

My-ron could tell this wasn’t an area David wanted to talk about. He thought for a moment, and made a decision.

“If you want, I can fill you in on what Luke’s been doing?”

David thought for a moment. Finally he shook his head

“My-ron…I’m not sure that’s a good idea. Look, Luke made it clear that he didn’t want me involved in his life. So the less I know, the easier it is for me to resist the temptation to become involved”

My-ron nodded

“I can see that, but I can also see that sometimes we don’t always know what’s best for us, and…..”

Novaar paused, and David could sense there was something he wasn’t sure he wanted to admit.

“Yes?”

“Now that I’m here, and we’ve spoken. Now that I’ve seen for myself. I think you need to know some things”

It was obvious from David’s body language that he didn’t like the sound of that, but My-ron could see that he was struggling with the conflict of the situation. David grabbed his mug, and walked over to the kitchen cupboards. He opened one and extracted a second mug.

“Are you still drinking that awful Jasmine stuff? I think there’s some here in a selection box one of the locals bought me for my birthday”

Novaar couldn’t help the smile. He nodded and waited while David made the tea. He knew it was a distraction tactic to buy some time, but he didn’t rush things. Giznap wandered into the kitchen, and My-ron stroked the dog for a couple of minutes until it wandered off again just as David sat back down with the two cups. He appeared to have made up his mind.

“Tell me”

“Well, first things first. You’ll be glad to know that Luke is still studying. At first he wanted to stop, and certainly wanted to dismiss the additional tutors you hired. I let him have his way on the second point, but pressed him to keep studying and actually suggested he hire his own tutors. Its worked well and he’s doing fine”

David seemed pleased with this. Novaar went on

“He’s now living…”

Now David cut him off .

“My-ron, don’t tell me that. If I don’t know….”

“I understand, easier to resist temptations”

Shand nodded, My-ron went on.

“Despite everything, he’s very much your son. You can tell it in the way he judges situations, the way he controls conversations and bends things to his way of thinking. He’s very intelligent, and he uses that. Like you, he’s rarely stuck for an answer and always ready to offer an argument – sometimes too ready”

David half-smiled

“You’ve argued?”

“Not seriously, but there have been moments when we haven’t seen eye-to-eye on something – usually when I’m encouraging him to think seriously about some issue, and he’s consumed with some great fantasy”.

My-ron could see the grin spreading across David’s face. The irony of his last statement wasn’t lost on either of them. My-ron nodded.

“Yes, I know what you’re going to say. Pot – kettle – black. Touché Mr Shand, touché. But I’ll admit, its certainly been a learning curve this year. I guess that’s part of why I needed to come here as well – the last year has made me appreciate a bit more what its like to have that responsibility for someone else, and how it throws your judgement around and makes you look at things differently. That hasn’t been an easy thing to deal with and I’ll admit I struggled on occasion.”

Both of them took a sip from their tea cups. David accepting the sentiment of My-ron’s words, but not quite willing to offer sympathy, and My-ron not wishing to force the issue, and buying time to move on. Finally, he put his cup down.

“OK, you told me what you had been up to, so let me fill in some background. I’ve actually been doing more wrestling myself over this past year. Mainly back in Japan, but also in Mexico and a few independent federations in the US and Europe. Guest spots, short high-profile runs, you know the drill”.

David sipped his tea.

“I’m a little surprised. I thought you’d always planned to wind the ring stuff down by now favour of the music and other things”

“In truth I was never decided. After the last few runs I’d almost come to the idea that it was time for another of my disappearing acts. At least from the ring. It’s one of the reasons I’m still able to do the things I do while the likes of Duffett and Court are carrying a history of knocks with them. So yes, I was, but to be honest, Luke sort of changed my mind about that.”

“Luke, how so?”

Novaar took a deep breath

“Well, I think you should know, and I suppose it was predictable, even inevitable in some way, but Luke has started in the business”

Novaar had expected that this news might get a reaction, and he was right. For a moment, he saw a flash of the anger of old in David’s eye. The mug was put down with just a little too much force, and there was a tension in his posture. Nevertheless, he kept his voice level.

“What?”

My-ron didn’t miss the accusation in that single word, as well as the question. No matter. Now was the time to hold his point.

“Hold on, before you go jumping to any conclusions, it wasn’t my idea or even my suggestion”

David slammed a fist down on the table, causing the mugs of tea to jump.

“But dammit My-ron you didn’t stop him? You know, better than anyone, the damage this business does to people! It takes normal, rational, reasonable men and it slowly burns them up. Look what its cost both of us.”

“Oh, you make it sound so simple! David, you know as well as I do that the business might have had something to do with how things have turned out but it’s much, much more than that. We were victims of things much larger and of (Novaar paused)..our own making – you have said as much yourself. And you need to appreciate that Luke was going to do this with or without me and regardless of what I said to him. It was better I was at least there to guide him along the way. Would you rather he was out there on his own?”

“I’d rather he wasn’t out there at all!”

Novaar took a bullish posture, his tea forgotten for the moment.

“He’s the son of David Shand – The Reaper - we both know that was never going to happen. He was always going to wrestle. But the fact is, he needs your help to do it.”

“My help? My-ron I’ve already told you, Luke doesn’t want….”

Novaar held up his hand and cut David off.

“And I’ve already told you that sometimes we don’ know what’s best for us. Luke needs you. Not just as his father…but also as his teacher.”

“But you’re coaching him?”

Now it was My-ron’s turn to grin, a false look of pain crossed his face.

“Yes, I am, but – Hmm, I know how you felt earlier now, this is painful – the fact is that where his training is concerned you….. bring….. things to the table as a coach that I don’t have. Putting everything else to one side, David Shand has a phenomenal head for the business.”

Shand actually grinned

“Wow, that must have hurt”

“Like you wouldn’t believe…”

“So tell me, how’s he doing in the ring?”

“Physically, he’s got all the gifts. He’s not quite your size, obviously – few people outside of a Marvel comic book are – but he’s a big guy and he packs some power into his frame. I can tell that when he trained with you he worked on his power and explosiveness”

“Useful on the rugby field”

Novaar nodded and continued.

“I thought as much. He uses it well. I’ve tried to work on the speed and flexibility, make him more rounded in a similar way to Matt’s style when he wrestled”

Novaar could see Shand was interested. The body language had changed. Behind the eyes My-ron could see the mind working.

“I’d expect that from you – is it working?”

“I think so. He’s impressively agile, and his youth helps his flexibility. He doesn’t quite have my own willow-the-wisp moves but he’s got more than enough for it to work. The area I think he needs to work on now is striking and technical wrestling”.

Shand sat back in his seat, confused

“I don’t see your point. You might have a reputation for a flash high-flyer but we both know that’s not the whole picture. I didn’t spend those hours drilling the locks and the drags into you for nothing. And while you don’t hit as hard as I do and use your feet more than your arms, you are no slouch at the strike game. So you can cover both of those adequately, why do you need me?”

Novaar paused again.

“It’s the mental side, that’s where he has a problem.”

David didn’t say anything, and so Novaar went on.

“It’s the aggression, David. Luke has so much aggression when he’s inside the ring. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy focus and a level of aggression is a good thing if you can channel and control it, but he’s wild. Its like there’s some deep rooted anger in him which he’s trying to release, and it worries me that it leads him to be reckless – to take risks, to injure opponents.”

Novaar took a sip of tea.

“I know it sounds strange coming from me – the explosive emotional supernova of professional wrestling. Hell, I’m sure that John1 Gibson still has chair prints on various body parts from that match, back in the day. But I’m worried about where it might lead. Luke lacks that element of self control which you showed me and which you brought to the ring. That was what made you special, that ability to compartmentalise your anger and release it in a controlled way. And your son needs to find that within him. Or else I’m worried that if he doesn’t…..”

Novaar trailed off, but David finished the thought for him

“Or else it might run in the family and it might not just be in the ring that he can’t control that anger?”

My-ron raised his hands in front of him.

“Look, I don’t want to get the dogs barking just yet”

“No, but you obviously have concerns.”

My-ron looked genuinely remorseful

“I’m sorry, but how can I not?”

David raised his own hands and ran them over his face and through his hair

“Jeez.” He sighed “Have you thought it might just be the situation, with me? Something he’ll work out?”

Novaar nodded “It could be, it could be youthful exuberance. But if its not, then David you are the only one who really knows what he is going through – and the only who can help him. So I need to ask. If I could fix it, speak to Luke for you, would you want me to? Tell him I’ve seen you, and try to fix up a meeting?”

David lowered his head and seemed to be thinking. Finally, after a few seconds, he let out a long breath.

“My-ron…I can’t push for that, I just can’t. I’ll think about what you’ve said, maybe contact you and give you some ideas of how to handle the situation with Luke. But that’s it. As much as I want to see Luke, I need more to be the father he wants me to be, and that means I have to want to respect my son’s wishes. I can’t ask you to speak to Luke for me, and if you decide that no-one should ever know we have met, that would be that. I can’t make any other decision or request – as much as I may want to”.

My-ron nodded. He climbed to his feet.

“I understand. Look, I won’t take up any more of your time. I’ll be going”

David didn’t resist. Both of them knew the conversation had gone as far as it could that day. They walked back to the front door, and stepped outside into the snow. My-ron pulled his coat on and both walked over to the Range Rover, where Shand stepped forward and held out a hand. Novaar shook it as Shand spoke

“Thank you. For what you’re doing for Luke, and for coming here.”

Novaar smiled. Not the warm smile of a friend but the respectful one of somebody who understood.

“I got the answer I needed David. I can see you’ve changed”

Shand shrugged

“Maybe we all change, given enough time?”

Novaar considered that for a second.

“Do you believe that - that everyone changes in time, whatever they were before?”

Shand nodded “Given my situation, I have to”

“Well, in that vein, can I just say something else?”

“Of course”

“With all you have said about your father, and with how you realise now how a father can feel the loss of his son, maybe he’s changed? Maybe its time? Maybe you could think about contacting your own father?”

There it was. Shand’s defences going straight up. Novaar could see it in his face, his eyes.

“My-ron, I….”

“David, just think about it, that’s all?”

Novaar didn’t wait for a response. He simply climbed into the car, started the engine, and backed out of the drive. Shand watched him for a while, and then as the car pulled away, turned and walked back inside the house.

Ten minutes later, on a back road between Archiestown and Inverness, Novaar brought the Range Rover to a stop. From his pocket he produced the sleek shape of an iPhone. Flicking through the contacts, he found the name

LUKE SHAND

My-ronThe father had a right to see his son, didn’t he? He started typing the message…

At the same moment, a hand reached out to a desk drawer in a study in a cottage in Archiestown. It opened the desk drawer and pulled out a sheet of paper. Unfolding it, David Shand read the address

Mr P Shand
Villa de los Prados Verdes
Alpujarra, Almeria
Espana
329201

The father had a right to see his son, didn’t he?






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Julius Seizure

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PostSubject: Re: Epilogue Part 2   Tue May 01, 2012 6:16 am

Magnifico! Well done guys, the saga continues!
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PostSubject: Re: Epilogue Part 2   Tue May 01, 2012 11:35 am

Cheers. I wanted to do it to basically bridge the gap from the reunion show to the storylines I've had going on WWE12. In the game I reset my original plan and had Myron, David, Luke, and Matt run roughshod over the WWE.

Course, as ever, can't do any of this without Myron's input.

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