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TWO-FINGERS FINNIGAN “What are you looking at me? I guess you want to see if I’ve been dealt a full hand?” Two-Fingers Finnigan spat blood, warm and salty on the snow as he pulled off his heavy gloves. Young Tom didn’t get too close. Old Two-Fingers may be hurt and pinned under a rock-fall, but he came with a fearsome reputation for evil doing. “See, I’ve still got my ten fingers, handy that,” said Two-Fingers waving a large hand at the boy. He reached deep inside his winter furs to pull out a stub of a pencil and a cigarette pack to draw a map on. “And lucky you came along, with me like this and you lost and going round in circles in the wilderness.” “I wasn’t very lost. So where did you get the name then?” said Tom, pulling his scarf tighter against the sting of wind-driven snow. “Cos I’m not afraid to do this to the whole world.” The old man grinned and held up two fingers to the world, to his injured legs, to everything. “Take this, it’s all I’ve got,” said Tom. But he bit off half the chocolate bar for himself first. After all, even with scribbled directions he would still need his own strength to get all the way back down through the winter weather. “Don’t go away,” said Tom. He laughed rather too loudly as he set off down the valley. Two-Fingers shouted after him through the wind. “Don’t get lost, you got a map now. Just get back on the trail and stay on it this time. And remember boy, you’ve got to come back for me.” Young Tom stumbled off. Soon the daylight was gone but a little of the light of a full moon was now pushing through the swirling snow. He cursed the cold. He cursed the snow but most of all he cursed himself for coming out here on his own and getting lost. He thought of finding old Two-Fingers, alone in the wilderness, injured and helpless and depending on a young lad not yet finished school to bring help. This ought to make him famous on Facebook, the local papers, even the TV. The boy saw the lights of the logging camp first. Then there was the smell of wood-smoke carried along in the wind. He quickened his pace throwing up a flurry of cold drift-snow with every forced step. And then there was shouting and he know he was safe and warm. “Tom, don’t talk, just rest. Thank Goodness you’re safe. We’ve just heard about the prison break-out on the radio.” The voice of the logger sounded far-away and dreamlike to the exhausted boy. “Escape?” said Tom. “Yes, Two-Fingers Finnigan escaped. He used to live around here before he got locked up, so the word is he might be heading back to familiar territory.” “But ...,” Young Tom started to speak and what a story to tell. He was interrupted. “But nothing. He’s dangerous. By the way, you don’t suppose they ever told you it was him about that thing with your mother all these years ago?” said the logger. Tom didn’t reply. He paused for a while at the warm stove and then went over to the window and held up two fingers in the general direction of the winter wilderness. “Two-Fingers?” said Tom. “Didn’t see nothing. Just snow, lots of snow.” end
Two Fingers Finnigan was published in Twisted Endings Sept 2014.
TWO-FINGERS FINNIGAN “What are you looking at me? I guess you want to see if I’ve been dealt a full hand?” Two-Fingers Finnigan spat blood, warm and salty on the snow as he pulled off his heavy gloves. Young Tom didn’t get too close. Old Two-Fingers may be hurt and pinned under a rock-fall, but he came with a fearsome reputation for evil doing. “See, I’ve still got my ten fingers, handy that,” said Two-Fingers waving a large hand at the boy. He reached deep inside his winter furs to pull out a stub of a pencil and a cigarette pack to draw a map on. “And lucky you came along, with me like this and you lost and going round in circles in the wilderness.” “I wasn’t very lost. So where did you get the name then?” said Tom, pulling his scarf tighter against the sting of wind-driven snow. “Cos I’m not afraid to do this to the whole world.” The old man grinned and held up two fingers to the world, to his injured legs, to everything. “Take this, it’s all I’ve got,” said Tom. But he bit off half the chocolate bar for himself first. After all, even with scribbled directions he would still need his own strength to get all the way back down through the winter weather. “Don’t go away,” said Tom. He laughed rather too loudly as he set off down the valley. Two-Fingers shouted after him through the wind. “Don’t get lost, you got a map now. Just get back on the trail and stay on it this time. And remember boy, you’ve got to come back for me.” Young Tom stumbled off. Soon the daylight was gone but a little of the light of a full moon was now pushing through the swirling snow. He cursed the cold. He cursed the snow but most of all he cursed himself for coming out here on his own and getting lost. He thought of finding old Two- Fingers, alone in the wilderness, injured and helpless and depending on a young lad not yet finished school to bring help. This ought to make him famous on Facebook, the local papers, even the TV. The boy saw the lights of the logging camp first. Then there was the smell of wood-smoke carried along in the wind. He quickened his pace throwing up a flurry of cold drift-snow with every forced step. And then there was shouting and he know he was safe and warm. “Tom, don’t talk, just rest. Thank Goodness you’re safe. We’ve just heard about the prison break-out on the radio.” The voice of the logger sounded far-away and dreamlike to the exhausted boy. “Escape?” said Tom. “Yes, Two-Fingers Finnigan escaped. He used to live around here before he got locked up, so the word is he might be heading back to familiar territory.” “But ...,” Young Tom started to speak and what a story to tell. He was interrupted. “But nothing. He’s dangerous. By the way, you don’t suppose they ever told you it was him about that thing with your mother all these years ago?” said the logger. Tom didn’t reply. He paused for a while at the warm stove and then went over to the window and held up two fingers in the general direction of the winter wildernes “Two-Fingers?” said Tom. “Didn’t see nothing. Just snow, lots of snow.” end Two Fingers Finnigan was published in Twisted Endings, Sept 2014.
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