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Short Story
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Writer The Yobanashi Girouette
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
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What does it truly mean to be alone?
The Yobanashi Girouette
Oct 7, 2017
6 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!x7sqau5bXkZdsoBR9qhIposted on PENANA

Richard Jaeger stood back and took a deep breath of the crisp autumn air.  Only a few weeks later would find these North Albertan mountains treacherous and filled with snow, but for now at least, he could afford to take his time and enjoy the vivid fall colours.  75Please respect copyright.PENANAEC0EWXKJS0
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After a short break, he hefted his pack back onto his shoulder and carried on his way, whistling a simple ditty.  He had done well this season, even managing to gain a fisher-cat pelt in addition to his usual trappings of fox, mink, and marten, and he walked a little faster at the prospect of an extra-large serving of pancakes and back-bacon waiting for him at the town.  Without fail, at the end of every month he made the two-day long trek down the mountain and through the forests to reach the little hamlet of Lodgepole to stock up on supplies, sell his furs, and tell stories.  75Please respect copyright.PENANAg7MXB5jI4O
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He had made such of a habit of being punctual that Mrs. Finch, owner of the Old Stag bar, had gotten in the habit of making his meal in advance, so it was always ready for him by the time he arrived.  Not only that, but all the children in the town would always sit outside and wait for him the entire time he ate, knowing that as soon as he pushed his plate back, he would be ready to launch into a good story about his adventures in the mountains.  Smiling in anticipation, Richard pushed onward through the silent forest with a spring in his step.copyright protection71PENANAM32frE6B4o

Eleven-thirty found Jaeger within sight of Lodgepole.  As he approached, he couldn’t help but smile at the tiny, yet proud town he called home.  Lodgepole was mainly inhabited by other trappers such as himself and their families (Richard purposely went further into the mountains than any of them to avoid any territorial conflicts with them), but houses aside, the town boasted of a bar, which also functioned as a restaurant and a hotel, and the general store which doubled as a post office, and held the one television in the town.  It was the first of the two that Richard made for, as his stomach reminded him he hadn’t eaten yet that day.  75Please respect copyright.PENANABra0yM7L0Y
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Richard couldn’t help but grin as he walked through the old town, which almost looked like something from a previous century.  Elsewhere in the world, people were traveling in space and colonizing planets, but here everything was undisturbed by the passage of time.  As he passed the town sign, the familiar sound of a creaky rocking chair fell upon his ears, signalling that Grandpa Jacob was out getting some fresh air as usual.  75Please respect copyright.PENANAPFAQjxN4gG
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The better part of ninety, Grampa Jacob was as tough as flint, and equally sharp, maintaining what could be considered a mayoral position in the town, and vigilantly watching over it from his front porch.  Town legend stated that Grandpa Jacob’s wife was a cleaning maniac, and always shooed him outside while she cleaned the house.  Eventually, he grew to spend more time outside the house than in, as the story goes, and to this day he feels most at home on his front porch. copyright protection71PENANAwuEzJ6dQHi

“Good Morning, Grandpa!”  Richard yelled as he walked by.  “Getting chilly, aint it?”copyright protection71PENANAf1LxMornOZ

Approaching the bar, Jaeger smiled nostalgically.  Actually, the bar had originally been named the Gold Stag bar, or so he had been told, but the “G” fell off some time in the distant past, and was never re-attached.  As soon as Jaeger arrived, the town children would always be lined up, beaming expectantly at him, as they waiting for him to tell them a story.  He would never admit it, but he looked forward to it all month.  copyright protection71PENANAmNshuiy20g

“You guys wait until I’ve finished my pancakes, you hear?”  Richard said, pretending to be gruff.  “They’ll be plenty of time for stories after.”copyright protection71PENANAEwLi6vokm6

Jaeger opened the bar door, the small bell above tinkling softly as he stepped into the establishment. copyright protection71PENANADB8p8UNAiB

“Morning Mrs. Finch!”  He called out, walking in.  “Breakfast ready?”copyright protection71PENANAAEp3VTmuVm

Soon, he was sitting down to a hearty meal of pancakes and maple syrup, with a healthy plate of bacon on the side.  As he ate, he couldn’t help but chuckle to himself.  Even with his back turned, he could almost feel the expectant eyes of the town children on him, waiting for him to tell them another of his yarns.  75Please respect copyright.PENANA4xNRupXO71
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A stack of pancakes and a plate of bacon later, Jaeger pushed back his plate and stretched, the unwritten symbol that signaled he was about to launch into a story, which would always have kids piling inside the small restaurant, as they waiting with baited breath for his tale. copyright protection71PENANAoXZwm8r9JK

A tale and a coke later found Richard strolling down the main street to buy some supplies from the convenience store.  Pulling out an old pipe, he laughed at the sound of a radio playing loudly in the distance.  “Ha!  That’s old Chip for you.”  Richard grinned, lighting his pipe.  "Chip" Wilkins was a fellow trapper who was known for his quirk of always listening to the radio.  As he was the only one in town (besides the General Store owner) to possess a radio, it was a privilege he indulged in greatly.copyright protection71PENANALkoank3JOZ

Puffing out a ring and walking into the General store, he paused for a couple minutes to scan the shop for anything new.  The General Store owner had a bad habit of buying anything that caught his eye online under the excuse that it was for the store, much to the chagrin of his wife.  75Please respect copyright.PENANACJtNJ1zQNA
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“Hey Harry, what’s new?”  Jaeger said amiably, receiving no answer from the owner.  75Please respect copyright.PENANAPCfqtzXgDd
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Noting that there appeared nothing new, he assumed it to be the cause for the owner’s sullen mood, not that Harry was known for talking much anyway.  After buying the supplies he would need, he walked out and sat on the front step, smoking his pipe and gazing at the town nostalgically.  75Please respect copyright.PENANAWILJzg9x5g
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Lodgepole was truly home to him, an oasis he could visit every month.  The sights, the sounds, the smells, even the people, everything was ingrained in his heart and a part of him.  Taking another draw at his pipe, he blew another ring and watched it disappear in the wind, slowly drifting off to sleep. copyright protection71PENANAKW0kW6NVfx

Far off in the distance, a newspaper dated last month fluttered along like a tumbleweed in the breeze, blowing past an empty rocking chair, creaking in the wind on a porch.  Flying further on, it hit the window of an abandoned restaurant filled with dust, before getting picked up again by the fickle current, flying past a lonely radio playing nothing but static.  Fluttering further on, it finally came to rest on the front porch of a convenience store, devoid of merchandise and merchant alike, next to the unshaven, gaunt man asleep there.  75Please respect copyright.PENANAzI02vJ45AR
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Rustling in the breeze, the front page of the paper was partially legible.  “Ragnarök Plan reaching completion, with 7 Billion successfully evacuated from Earth.  Any persons still on earth are encouraged to make their way to the nearest evacuation rocket before the end of the week, or risk being left behind.”copyright protection71PENANAnmp6C6deR3

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