Short Story Fiction
The Eraser

If you wanted to disappear, there was once a man who could do it for you.

pawn shop imageMike Salvucci / Wikimedia Commons

It was one of the most interesting business cards he had ever seen.

THE ERASER

I can make you disappear

There was no contact information on the front. On the back was a cryptic message of sorts. A few letters and numbers that didn’t make any sense to the man who held the card.

Quinton Gram had gotten the card at an out of the way storefront that sold survival gear. He had been talking with another patron in the shop. The subject of disappearing came up. Quinton happened to mention how he had been thinking about bugging out and hiding deep in the woods where no one would find him.

That brought up the subject of how it’s almost impossible to disappear. If someone really wanted to find you there were ways. Hiding from the Government was a virtual impossibility in this day and age. If they want to find you, they can and will. It didn’t matter where in this world you tried to hide.

The guy slipped Quinton his card as he walked out the door.

Once Quinton was home for the evening he pulled out the card and had a closer look. He showed it to his roommate. “Have any ideas what these letters and numbers are?”

His roommate took a look and replied immediately. “Ya, those are coordinates. Punch them into your phone and see where they take you.”

“I don’t own a phone. You know that.”

“Only too well. You should really think about getting one.”

“They can track you if you have one of those. No thank you.”

“You’re paranoid,” replied the roommate as he pulled out his phone and punched in the coordinates.

“Here you go. This is where they take you.”

Quinton took a look and wrote down the address.

“Are you going to check it out?”

“I think I might, just out of curiosity mind you. Who knows what it means by I can make you disappear. A bullet and a shovel can achieve that. I’m not looking for someone to bury me in a shallow grave. That’s not what I’m after.”

“Well don’t ask me to go with you. That’s not what I’m after either,” replied the roommate.

~~~~~

The following day Quinton was on a bus to the location he had written down the night before. He didn’t have a license. He was all about keeping a low profile. He didn’t like the idea of being known by the state any more than necessary. A drivers license was out of the question.

Once off the bus he walked the last couple of blocks to the address. It was a pawn shop. He walked in and was greeted by an elderly man who stood behind the counter. “Buying or selling?” He asked.

“I’m looking for some information,” replied Quinton as he handed the old man the card. “What can you tell me about this?”

“Are you wanting to disappear?”

“Maybe.”

“Well, you put out the effort to find this place. It must be more than a maybe.”

“Okay then yes, but I need more information first.”

“What would you like to know?”

“How much? Can I choose where I go? What do I need to do?…”

The old man stopped him. “Hang on a second. I think you need to talk to my partner.” He called toward the back room. “Alec, come out here for a minute.”

Alec stepped out from the back room. It was the young man Quinton had met at the survival store the other day. “Well hey there. I see you figured out how to get here.”

“Alec. This guy had some questions for you.”

Alec motioned to Quinton. “Let’s go to the back room to talk.”

Alec and Quinton talked for close to an hour. “Do you have any more questions?” Asked Alec.

“No, I don’t think so. Let me see if I have this straight now. All I need to do is show up here with a thousand dollars and you’ll ‘Disappear’ me into any type of environment I want to go.”

“That’s correct.”

“And you do this by setting me up with a new identity and sending me through some sort of portal to an off world location??? Even a tropical location?”

“That’s our most popular destination. We send several people there every month.”

“Sounds too good to be true if you ask me. Maybe even impossible.”

“Ya, we get that but I guarantee you it’s legit. I’ll give you the name of a contact person. They’ll have your new identity paperwork and get you set up once you get there.”

Quinton thought for a minute. “Oh what the hell. I’ll do it. But mark my words, if you screw me on this you’ll regret it.”

“Like I said, this is legit. Be back here ready to go with cash in hand before we close the shop for the day?”

“Today? That soon? I’ll need to pack.”

“One suitcase is all you’ll need. We’re on a timeline. It has to be today.”

“Okay. I’ll be back in two hours.”

“Good. Remember, the less people who know about this the better.”

~~~~~

Two hours later Quinton returned with a suitcase and a thousand dollars. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. He handed the money to Alec.

Alec took Quinton to another room. On the far wall he saw what reminded him of elevator doors. “Go ahead and step up to the door.”

Quinton stepped up to the door as told.

“Now when the door opens step inside. The doors will close behind you. You can’t hesitate. Got it?”

Quinton gave Alec the thumbs up. The door opened and Quinton stepped inside. The doors closed behind him.

A minute later the doors reopened. Quinton was gone and a small stack of gold coins sat on the floor where Quinton once stood. Alec picked up the coins and went out front. “We’re doing well this month,” he commented as he handed the old man five hundred bucks and half the coins. “I hope Quinton enjoys his new life in the tropics.”

The old man knew sarcasm when he heard it.

~~~~~

After the doors closed behind Quinton he stood motionless. Nothing seemed to be happening. Suddenly another set of doors in front of him opened. Quinton was looking out at a very barren landscape. “This isn’t tropical,” he thought out loud.

Before he had a chance to orient himself he was grabbed by two men. They drug him out of the box and slapped ankle cuffs on him. They walked him over to a tunnel or shaft of some sort. They took him inside where several others were working. They handed him a pick and told to start digging.

“Dig for what? What the hell is going on here,” he demanded.

There was no reply from his captors as they walked away.

The man next to him spoke up. “I see you’ve dressed for the occasion. Welcome to paradise,” he said sarcastically. “You’re digging for gold. Better start swinging that pick. You don’t want to find out what they do to the ones who refuse to work.”

“I didn’t sign up for this,” replied Quinton.

“None of us did. You’ve been screwed over in case you haven’t figured it out by now. My name is Doug by the way.”

“How long have you been here?”

Doug thought about it. “Not sure. Maybe two years.”

“Well I’m not going to be here two days. I’m not going to put up with this.”

“Is that so. Did you see those two? I’ve seen them kill several men who didn’t want to work. They’re ruthless.”

“I don’t give a shit. I’ve been learning survival skills all my life. I’ll take them both down and I’ll be on my way. Want to come along?”

“You take them down and I’m right behind you.”

About an hour had passed when the guard came by. Quinton hadn’t started working yet. The guard took notice and walked up to Quinton. Without a moments hesitation Quinton swung his pick and planted it directly into the heart of the guard. He dropped without so much as a whimper.

“Damn,” was all Doug could say.

Quinton grabbed the guards keys and unlocked his shackles. Besides him there were nine others in the shaft and Quinton released them all. They each carried their pick as they headed toward the mouth of the mine shaft. Not knowing what to expect they went slow and quiet.

When they got close to the opening Quinton crept ahead and peered out. He scanned the area. One guard was about one hundred feet away on the far side of a patch of barren red dirt. The guard stood in front of the door he had came through earlier as if waiting for it to open. His back was toward them. There was no one else to be seen.

It was decided that Doug and Quinton would sneak up on him. That decision was short lived. Before the two of them were even half way to the guard the others were moving forward. No one wanted to chance being left behind should the doors open. The guard didn’t know what hit him as a sharp pick caught him between the shoulder blades just below his neck.

Just as the guard hit the ground the doors opened. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Ten men rushed the door pushing its lone occupant to the back. They were all inside when the door closed. There was silence. No one dared speak a word as they waited for what seemed like an eternity.

~~~~~

Alec had just erased another victim. He waited for the door to reopen to collect his stack of gold coins. When it opened eleven men piled out. Quinton grabbed Alec and threw him inside just before the doors closed. They all took up their picks and destroyed the box beyond repair. It would never work again.

As for Alec. He spent the rest of his life as a slave in an off world location swinging a pick. Quinton had kept his word. Alec had been erased.

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.


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