The Ones Left Behind


“They couldn’t recover after word got out. Folks were sickened to their core.” Rusty shook his greying hair. “I don’t know why you wanna bring it back up.” His heavy work boot scuffed back and forth in the dust, hands shoved deep into his dungarees.

“You chose to live here though, right? You continue to cut the grass, walk the grounds, check the doors. You never left, right? I just wonder why. Why didn’t you leave? What keeps you here?” She said her name was Simone. 

Why was it always like this? He kept himself to himself. Kept to his responsibilities no matter what. He protected them, all the ones left behind. But every now and again some storyteller or investigator would try to dig up the past. Normally he’d send them on their way with no more information then when they arrived. But this one, this Simone, she was asking about him. No one had done that before.

He smiled, turning on a sparkle in his pale, blue eyes that few people knew existed. She smiled back hoping this was the beginning of her best seller.
Seeing her smile, his heart skipped a beat. With her lean figure and athletic wear, he figured she might be a bit feisty. Extreme measures may be needed. She wasn’t the first to stir his need for companionship. Meeting the ones left behind could be dramatic and chaotic. It was usually the breaking point. Literally broken he’d leave them off some distant place, vulnerable and confused, like an unwanted puppy.

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