This is the first page of 'the Judas Goat' now available on Amazon ISBN 978-1-4809-3797-0, eISBN 978-1-4809-3774-1
The world of mankind was over and he was alone. Although it was early morn, Red’s mind had never been clearer than it was at that moment. He recognized every diverse sound he heard and knew the origin of each distinct scent he smelled. The need to empty his bladder and fill in his stomach brought to mind an old poem Red had memorized in his youth, titled “Morning” by B. Valsavage:
Through the softness of the morning’s glow,
inhaling deeply of early air.
One’s mind may start up fairly slow,
leaden flesh is gently aware.
When the din and buzz flood calm ears,
cold senses flick on, one by one.
Muscles protest the effects of years,
while the eyes focus on strands of sun.
Needs of the body make harsh demands,
haggling with rushing thoughts of work.
With one motion we prepare to stand,
the past evening’s healing sleep…forsook!
When the man stood, all the animals turned their eyes upon him and prepared to grant him passage without protest or affront. Red never abused this respect and sought no conflict. As vibrantly healthy as he was, if startled many of these creatures could unintentionally extinguish his life. Red’s conflict was internal; his battle was with knowledge. Knowledge he possessed with near perfect recall. The respect accorded by his great menagerie was a manifestation of what Red was and, more importantly, why he was.
People throughout history had sought the answer to this very question: “Why are we here?” Or, more personally, “What is the reason I am here?” Red knew why he was here, and deep down he knew he had asked for it. Oh, maybe not directly, but if he thought it through, this was the outcome he should have foreseen.
Red Gravell lost count of the passing years, not because he could not remember, but because it was no longer relevant. He loved his work; it was the wages he found harsh. Telling the story, he reasoned, would be cathartic.
Red tried to write the last great novel, but he lost focus when he came to the last chapter. All great novels become great because of the way the last chapter ties the whole endeavor of writing, and then reading that book together in some compelling way. With this story, that was not possible; there could be no last chapter.
Maybe that sums up the human experience: no last chapter.
How many years had passed? Red wondered. Surely it was too many years to matter any longer. He remembered the first time he heard the term “Earth Kit” and the campaign to find the perfect man or woman to promote it.