SHORTS FROM THE SHELF features short serialized fiction by author Shannon Muir, administrator of SHANNON MUIR’S THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF, that may be later released as part of e-book or print collections. The story line featured currently is “Darque Into Light,” the seventh and final installment of the Myanna Moore serial, which will run over the next several weekends. This is Part Seven.
As a group, they followed the path they’d seen Donnell run down and eventually came to the room where Darque held Donnell hostage at gunpoint.
“Where’s Edana?” Duana demanded. “Surely she must be manipulating your strings.”
“Now, supposed mother, Edana let me down as much as anyone else. I’ve not assisted her from breaking out of her cell. I’d happily leave her there to rot. Turns out she was dishonest with me as everyone else, including you. Do you not know why I ran away from you? I found out you really aren’t my mother but my aunt.”
“Who told you that?”
Myanna stood paralyzed, unsure what to do next. Just like Darque found himself lied to, she had been by Donnell. Yet Donnell never did anything to her or anyone else of the magnitude Darque did for others.
“My drunkard of a father came to visit me one day when you weren’t home. Apparently you’d forbade him ever contact me again. I told that useless waste of a scumbag to go away. He had to be lying. But then I did the research on him, and he not only was real, but a war veteran.”
“Dudley Quinn Sr. was one of the best men I ever knew,” J.B. explained. “We were in the same unit in wartime, and he was one of the best we had. Your father went through some tough experiences I’m not at liberty to divulge, and continued to struggle even after we returned. Your mother – your birth mother’s – death in childbirth pushed him over the edge, and he was declared an unfit father. Duana stepped in to raise you. But Dudley Quinn Sr., the name you echo in your own, never stopped loving you.”
Myanna saw Darque’s hold on Donnell weaken, and the gun drop.
“You speak in the past tense, Sir, whoever you are.”
“Many call me J.B. But for you, I will give my full name, because if you truly did your research you will know it. I am Jeremiah Bronson.”
Now the gun fell to the floor, and Darque let his hold go on Donnell, who ran to Myanna’s side. Myanna and the others watched on as the exchange between J.B. and Darque continued.
“You’re the man who saved my father’s life during the war.”
“Yes, I am, in hopes he would see a bright and promising future. Dudley Quinn Sr. drank himself to death not long after you came of age. He knew you’d run away from home, and what you’d become. Dudley Quinn Sr. had to reason to live. Now, I owe my buddy one for all the agony I left him to live through.”
With that, J.B. moved with his military trained reflexes and shot Darque straight in the heart.