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The Sword by Bud Smith

A young man walked down to the lake beside his house. He stood on the pier and looked out over the water, thinking about his problem. He wanted to marry his girl but he didn’t have enough money to give her a proper wedding. She deserved a beautiful wedding, she deserved a nice honeymoon. He wanted to buy her a house, too. He walked to the very end of the pier and let out a sigh of frustration. He’d never be able to afford it all. Not on his salary at the auto parts store. So, wished he could find some way to raise this money.

Just then there was a bubbling in the center of the lake. The man crooked his head. Some big fish? To his absolute surprise, a sword rose up out of the water. A woman’s delicate hand held the handle of the sword. The man’s mouth dropped open. The blade began to glow with an ethereal pink fire.

The hand opened and the sword began to float towards the young man. The hand slid back down into the water. As the sword got closer he panicked and began to move away from it. The sword flew to the pier, as the young man ran towards his car. He shut the door, but the sword was right at his window. It tapped gently on the window. He thought about driving away, but he worried that the sword would chase him out into traffic.

He rolled the window down. The sword came in through the window and laid itself down in the back seat of the car, buckled it’s own safety belt.

It was a magic sword, that much was certain. The young man studied it. It was obvious how unique and powerful it was, but what use did he have for a magic sword? After all, he wasn’t a swordsman of any kind. He worked in an auto parts store, where he wasn’t even very good at finding the correct oil filter on the shelf.

He put the sword up on EBay as a seven day auction. This was his ad:

Magic Sword, flies and glows an ethereal pink fire. Very sharp. Very light. Must see to believe!

Check my other listing for more great bargains.  I have nice set of used all weather tires, a hydraulic floor jack and a pristine metric socket set-  NO RESERVE!

He made no mention of this to his fiancee. He hoped to get a thousand dollars for the sword. It would help with the DJ and some of the photographer’s fees. Weddings are expensive. Every dollar counts.

On the third day, when the man checked the computer, he was stunned. The sword was going for double what he’d expected. A fierce bidding war was underway. By the end of the auction, the sword went for an astronomical sum. The young man was in tears of joy. The amount would nearly pay for the entire ceremony and the honeymoon and I don’t mean some Myrtle Beach honeymoon. We’re talking deluxe Fiji honeymoon money.

The man packaged the sword up, shipped it off in extra thick bubble wrap, and forgot all about it. Some months later, he got married. Then he went off to the tropics with his new bride. All was well in his life. He was in love. She loved him back. They were ready for whatever the future held.

One day, the man was reading the paper when he came across a strange news story with the headline, “Thug Robs Bank With Sword.” He read the article twice, very carefully going over the facts in his mind. A large man had walked into the bank with a sword that witnesses said was glowing. The robber cut up a few of the tellers and then killed two guards with the sword–this of course, after they had shot him several times. The bullets had no effect.

The young man closed the paper and tried to put it out of his mind. A magic sword being used in a bank robbery that sounded just like the one he’d found. What a coincidence. Days passed. The man and his wife started to try for a baby. Whenever he thought about the robber with the sword he had a horrible sour feeling in his stomach. Would his child be safe in a world where that was possible?

There were more and more news stories involving a seemingly invincible criminal and the magic sword. Every time the young man saw one of these stories he felt a twinge of regret. Another robbery, more innocent people without heads. More bullets bouncing off the bank robber. That was the other thing, it wasn’t just banks anymore. The latest report said that the man with the sword had the Governor’s daughter and was holding her hostage. Special Forces had him surrounded in his lair, but whatever they did had no effect. Their guns and gasses were useless. So was almost everything else.

The young man knew what he had to do.

He went back down to the lake and he stood out in the pier and looked over the water. There was a bubbling and the delicate hand came up out of the water. It was flipping him the bird.

“Come on!”

The hand went down into the water. It came back up with another sword. This one floated out of the hand towards the young man, but he didn’t run. He opened his own hand and took it out of the air. It began to glow in a neon blue fire. He knew exactly what to do with it.

Bud Smith is a writer from Washington Heights, NYC. He’s written a book of collected short stories calledOr Something Like That and has a car that’s on the verge of catching on fire, so that is all he dreams about–putting the car out before it explodes.

© 2012 Bud Smith