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  • ramblingreader3

For the love of the Job

She was a blue 1997 Heritage style Western Star and he loved her deeply. His hand glided down her hood as the cloth soaked up the warm water from the bath he just gave her. Of course, there were newer, more luxury models coming out of the new plant in Portland Oregon, but he believed his old girl was far better with age and miles under her hood than any of those babies the new truckers drove. His girl was solid, reliable, and there was love between them. She’d been with him through three marriages and four yorki shih tzu rescues. He chuckled, it amused him that his canine companions could illicit a sniffle of emotion but none of his ex-wives had the same effect. The dogs and the truck had all been loyal, trustworthy companions. He couldn’t say the same for any of the wives he’d chosen, but hey, he always did have bad luck in that department. Probably something to do with the amount he worked away from home, he was never really sure. They accepted his job in the beginning and then, eventually they left, always the same, he gave up hope on finding someone to stick around. It’s not like he could just quit, this job chose you because you were worthy, you were special since the moment you were conceived, this was your destiny, and he was grateful for every moment of it.

It was a good day, the sun was warm and the Montana sky, always beautiful. One of his favourite places, the nights in the countryside showing off brilliant twinkling stars. Though he hadn’t the chance to notice them last night. It had been a particularly difficult case. A newborn had been particularly unruly. Luckily, it didn’t happen as often as you would think. I mean monsters were born fairly regularly but surprisingly most children were scared of a similar closet monster and instead of a new one being born they would only manifest that monster. Since the Accords had been signed they hadn’t had any incidences. The monster would calmly wait until morning and then peacefully send themselves home. Last night had been a bit different. He had never in his years of monster hunting seen anything quite like the one he had dealt with last night. She was ugly, with tentacles and slime, oddly messy and angry with vines growing faster than he’d ever seen before on that class of monster. It took him hours to talk the child into closing his eyes and controlling it so it could be dealt with. In the early hours of the morning, he managed to send it to the Accord council so they could explain the rules of engagement and find the creature a better placement.

Today he felt a bit off, he couldn’t put his fingers on it. He shook his head trying to shake the deep-seeded feelings but they refused to come loose. He jumped off the sparkling chrome grill of his truck and took a look at his girl. She gleamed brightly. He nodded smiling, looking at her shining chrome and brilliant blue colour calming him. He picked up the hose and began wrapping it back up and putting the things away carefully. He stayed at this bed and breakfast regularly and he had the utmost respect for the owners. They didn’t have to be nice to a trucker but they always were, always making him dinner when he came into town and sharing their wine, and more importantly, their beer with him. There were a few owners of establishments that he’d met along the way who had made this life worth living and he appreciated those few beautiful people.

Sasha stepped out of the kitchen as he placed the bucket back on the shelf in the loading bay. “You just ain’t never goin to settle down are ya?” Sasha leaned in the doorway shaking her head at him. “Such a shame, such a waste, ya seem like such a good man. I have a nack for knowing this sorta thing ya know, found me a good one, my sis didn’t do too bad either, ya know.”

“I know Sasha. You know I tried. I just don’t have the sight like you do, I guess.” Ben took his baseball cap off to enter the kitchen.

“Such a shame, so respectful, ya just don’t see that shyte anymore.” She complained continuing to shake her head.

“My grandfather would be rolling in his grave if I were disrespectful, no one wants that kinda karma.” Ben winked at her as he walked in. He took a seat at the dining room table as she grabbed him a cup and poured some coffee for him.

“Where you heading now?”

“Ah, you know I never know till the last minute. I imagine they will have me here for another night just to make sure nothing went wrong with that last trailer. Probably be outta your hair by next evening.”

“Benjamin Brin, You are not a problem ever. You just make sure you come down for dinner tonight. Micheal would be pretty upset if you left without saying goodbye.”

“Yes, ma’am. You have my word. How is that kid of yours sleeping lately?”

“Jiminy crickets! I dunno what you said to him the last time you came through but those night terrors of his stopped completely! It’s a damn right miracle.”

“I am glad to hear it. Hopefully, it stays that way.”

“I’m gonna go wrestle you up some sandwiches and some soup.”

“I would be eternally grateful for it, thank you kindly, Sasha Rae, you are quite the cook.”

“I bet you say that to all the B&B owners you stay with.” Sasha wiggled her finger at him as he chuckled and she ducked into the kitchen. Ben placed his hat in his lap and looked out the window as he sipped his coffee. That off feeling was claiming some extra real-estate in his gut and he wasn’t liking it.

Ben went about his day in a bit of a fog busying himself by finishing up his paperwork and getting ready for dinner. He was looking forward to seeing Sasha’s boy Micheal. Micheal just turned sixteen and Ben had acquired a present for him a while ago. It was a model of the truck Ben drove, a miniature Western Star to sit and protect him. Micheal wouldn’t remember what he went through last year, but, Ben helped him deal with a particularly nasty monster under his bed. It was alright, it was part of the job. All Micheal would feel is a connection to Ben as a protector. He also wouldn’t know that this little model would give Ben insight into his dreams and continue to keep him safe. Ben smiled at the thought. He loved his job and loved the children he protected as if they were his own flesh and blood, a fitting job for someone who never had any children of his own. He lovingly placed the truck in a box and wrapped it. He tucked it under his arm and headed for the door. Micheal had always seemed a bit different than the rest. Kids his age very rarely peeled themselves from technology and social media, but Micheal had always been a curious kid, taking things apart and putting them back together. He was a veracious reader and always polite and courteous.

Clouds had rolled in across the sky and Ben sighed. He thought he might get a day or two of a clean truck but the weather was saying otherwise. He stepped up into the cab and placed the present onto the passenger seat, he settled in and started up the truck. Looking out over the parking lot a shadow caught his eye. He squinted trying to see the far end of the parking lot as the rain began to hit his windshield. He shook his head not giving it another thought as he turned on the lights and the wipers came to life. He rolled out of the parking lot and headed up the road. Sasha didn’t live all that far from the B&B and he found himself heading up the driveway within minutes. Parking in his usual spot he caught a glimpse of Micheals face looking out the window and smiled. He placed his jacket over the wrapped present and hopped out of the truck jogging up to the house. The door opened before he could knock and he stepped into Micheals arms giving him a big hug. He’d grown a good couple inches since he’d seen him last. Micheal released him and gave him a big smile. “It’s good to see you Kid.” He took his jacket off the present and handed it to him. “It’s nothing much but I thought you’d like it.” Micheal took it and sat down on the couch, Ben sat across from him as he tore the wrapping paper off and opened the box. His eyes grew wide as he saw the miniature truck. “I love it!” He exclaimed taking it lovingly out of the box. “I’m going to put it on my bedside table. Thanks, Ben!” He smiled giving him a hug and running down the hall to his room.

“You didn’t have to do that.” Sasha said standing at the kitchen doorway.

“I know, I wanted to, I seen it awhile back and thought of him. He always likes sitting in the truck.”

“Well, come in here and have a beer. Jack will be back soon. He’s looking forward to seeing you as well.”

“Yes ma’am.” Ben stood up and headed into the kitchen taking a seat at the table as Sasha handed him a beer.

“You know where you’re heading yet.”

“Got dispatched earlier, heading to Alabama with a load tomorrow afternoon.”

“We’ll be missing you, as we always do. Things seem safer when you're around, I dunno what that’s all about, but it’s always been that way.”

“Why thank you, guess I’m doing a good job then.” Ben smiled as Sasha chuckled.

“Yeah, I guess so.” She shook her head as she headed to the stove to stir her famous chili.

Ben sat looking out the window as the feeling in his gut suddenly began to grow. He took a good pull from his beer when the scream from the bedroom had him up and running, he made it to the hallway before the smash of the bottle of beer hit the floor. He opened Micheal's door and froze.

“Good to see you Benjamin Brin.” The thing was at least seven feet tall looking a bit more like a squid than a spider. It held Micheals father Jack against the wall with his throat. Jacks eyes pleading for help as his hands tried desperately to release the thing that wrapped like a snake around him.

“Dad!” Micheal tried to go after it taking Ben by surprise. Ben grabbed him just in time to see a tentacle fly out.

“Your beef is with me, not them.”

“Ah, but I wanted to meet my creator before I moved forward. She was just down the street, pretty little thing. Then I seen you. I hear you had an interesting night last night. I’ve been waiting for another, she is more magnificent then I. It was pure luck that I happened to be near the Councils and come across her". Ben noticed a vine begin to roll out from under and behind the monster.

“You are in direct violation of the Accords. You should head back before it’s too late.” Ben stood tall looking at Jack, trying to reassure him with his eyes. He sensed Sasha behind him holding Micheal as they both looked on in horror. Ben shifted, trying to take up a majority of their view in the hopes that he would be able to erase these memories later if they didn’t take in too much information. He had never seen anyone the same after such events. The human world would call them schizophrenic and he could only hope they would eventually be okay. He wavered from wanting to send them away to needing to save Jack.

“I no longer want to live in hiding. I believe we are stronger and smarter than you humans…we should be the ones ruling this world. We would treat it better, and you all created us, and then tossed us away like garbage.” His grip tightened on Jack.

“That is not the agreement, you need to take this up with the Accord.”

“Really? I seem to have noticed that you are the most powerful of the protectors, I think I just need to take you out of the equation. Let monsters know that we're more powerful than our creators.”

“Another would rise. I am not the only one chosen.”

“Maybe, but you've made quit the name for yourself haven't you?”

Ben pulled a pen from his shirt pocket and quickly extended his arm down, the pen grew in shape and began to glow. By the time he jumped and raised it up over his head, it had become a full sword slicing into the tentacle that held Jack. Jack fell to the floor with a thud tearing at the dead tentacle wrapped around his neck as he gasped, air beginning to flow back into his lungs.

“RUN! TAKE THEM AND HIDE! I WILL FIND YOU!!” Ben yelled as he ducked at vines and arms and legs attempting to knock him down. Jack nodded and jumped up running into the hallway. He grabbed his wife and son and dragged them through the house, colliding out the door only to stop suddenly in shock. Shadows danced everywhere. Pieces of nightmares ran towards them letting out a manic laughter as they played tricks on their eyes. Micheal grabbed his parents and ran for the Western Star. He jumped up opening the door and shoved them inside. They looked out as monsters in all shapes and sizes spread out across the front yard. They sat in disbelief as the side of their house blew out in an explosion of fire, their friend Ben summersaulted across the lawn. He was badly beaten, an eye swollen shut with cuts and gouges out of his arms and legs. He managed to get to his feet, using his sword to steady himself.

Micheal looked around the cab of the truck noticing a glow under some papers and tossed them off picking up a clipboard looking at it curiously, it softly glowed in his hands, he looked up at Ben standing in disbelief at the chaos surrounding him.

“Open the door dad!”

“I don’t think that’s such a great idea son.” Jack looked back at his boy and noticed the glow from the clipboard, he nodded in understanding. “I’ll do it.”

“No, I will, I can run faster than you.” Jack looked down at his son, pleading and slowly shaking his head. “I can do this dad. I’m not scared. I think Ben helped make me that way.” He stood up, his mother wrapped her arms around him before he could get to the door.

“Micheal Anthony Montvey! You come back to me!”

“Yes mom.” He smiled at her as he moved across her to open the door. He jumped down to the ground looking at the scenery that was unfolding. A small fuzzy ball stood two feet from him. He stared at it as it turned to meet his face its mouth covering a majority of its face with razor sharp teeth. It’s red eyes took up the rest of its ugly green furry face. Its short arms ended in three talons. It looked at Micheal and hissed, spittle flying into the air. Micheal stood straight and took a step forward, stomping his foot hard into the ground “You don’t scare me anymore!” he screamed at it as he pulled his other foot forward into a kick making direct contact and sending the monster flying into the sky. He began to run to Ben as the monster that once held his father came crawling from his house.

“Ben! Ben!” Micheal screamed as he ran towards him. Ben turned slashing and kicking at smaller monsters that kept running to attack him. “No! Micheal go! Run!” He pleaded. As Micheal got closer Ben could see the slight glow growing in his hand. Ben’s eyes grew large as he got close. “It’s glowing!” Ben looked in disbelief. “That’s why I had to bring it to you.” Micheal smiled as he began to hand the clipboard over, but before it reached Ben’s hand it had already gotten brighter and began to widen out turning into a shield. Micheals eyes widened as Ben took it. “You are one of the chosen, I knew you were special!” Ben winked at him with his good eye. Micheal smiled. “Shit, does this mean I have to be a truck driver?” They both broke out into laughter as Bens sword cut through the night and Micheal covered Ben’s back making use of his years in martial arts.

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