Fiction: "Jake Brake," part five

by Mike Woodson

1 February 2005

The rifle butt from the Remington 870 caught Jake square in the face and knocked him over. He rolled in the dry Mojave sand and tried to line up the Colt King Cobra .357 magnum that never left his side. A boot to the head from Thompson and everything went black. Jake lay face down, his nose bleeding a crimson stain onto the dry sandy desert.

The fight had not been fair, but that was of little concern to Glenn Thompson. He instinctively knew you didn't fight fair with a man like Jake. That was suicide, especially when there was a woman involved and Jake had his blood up.

Jake awoke with pain flooding his brain. He made no sound, but opened his eyes and focused on the large Saguaro cactus in front of him. Thompson sat on a rock nearby, smoking a cigarette, the faint glow of red on the horizon signaling the sun's rise and illuminating the smiling face of the 6'2", grey-eyed, dark-haired, scraggly, unkempt 60-year-old ghost that Jake knew as his uncle.

"Ah, you've come to, good," Glenn nodded.

Jake sat up and with a coldness in his voice that matched the iciness in his eyes said, "Uncle, I don't know what the fuck you think you're up to but right now you don't want to be within a hundred miles of me." Jake's eyes locked into the other man's eyes and they stared at each other for what seemed like minutes but was only seconds. In those few seconds, communications were made between the two men and Glenn glanced over at the shotgun that was perched next to him. Even though the old man hadn't seen Jake in 25 years, he'd heard stories over the years about the younger man from his sister -- about her hell-raising first-born son and knew that he had made the right decision about bringing Jake to Aldúlfr.

"C'mon, son, let's head back to the settlement, we'll get you fixed up and fed and all your questions will be answered," Glenn said.

As they walked back, Jake saw the glowing white orb in the sky again and in the daylight saw it was a tower surrounded by a circular array of mirrors that was focusing the sun's rays onto a holding tank at the top. It looked like a miniature version of Barstow's Solar 2 power plant that Jake had seen as he trucked the Interstate highway I-140. Well now he knew where these desert rats got their electrical power from, and glowing things in the sky wasn't another Frankenstein monster nightmare of Jake's.

The Aldúlfr Ranch was a sprawling range of lemon groves, assorted fruit trees and rock-sprinkled gullies. It was well watered in spite of the dry, harsh Mojave desert enviroment. There were two streams, one on the north end and the other near the middle, which were fed by a large pond of water with a pump in the center. To the west was a large meadow covered with grass with about 20 head of cattle grazing, shaded from the desert heat by large Mojave Yucca.

"What do you call this place, and where is all the water coming from to wet this shithole of a place, uncle?", asked Jake.

Glenn grinned to himself and ignored the sarcastic emphasis Jake had used when calling him uncle and replied, "this place is called the Aldúlfr Ranch. It's a Norse name that means old wolf. The water comes from an ancient aquifer which contains about 650 billion gallons of water and we're standing right on top of it. All it takes to get it out is a drilling rig and a pump. If you want any other questions answered you're going to have to talk to Alexander, he built and runs this place."

"Yeah, I'm going to talk to Alexander, rest assured, uncle" Jake said menacingly.

To be continued...


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