Author Robert Koger -

Envelope of Death

      Harry awoke with a start. He was lying flat on his back and his shirt felt sticky; he knew it was blood. He could smell the distinctive copper odor, and could hear his own shallow breathes accompanied by the gurgle of bubbles in his chest. His sight seemed to fade in and out in time with his breathing.
      He hadn’t made it.
      Harry didn’t understand. He was leaning over his tackle box, putting away his hook and bobber. Jake was farther down the shore…and then, he wasn’t.
      He felt the barrel of a gun resting against the back of his head as Jake spoke softly and calmly, “Harry, I got the envelope.”
      But that wasn’t right; that’s not how it was supposed to happen. He was a patriot.
      Against the odds, he’d escaped. He’d knocked the gun out of Jake’s hand, and ran for cover in the tall water reeds scattered along the edge of the lake. He’d just entered the cover, when he felt two sharp punches in his back.
     The force knocked him down. He tumbled face first into the mud and shallow water at the base of the reeds. He didn’t know how long he’d laid there. Everything after that was a blur. He’d been passing in and out of consciousness.
     Harry didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. It was a kaleidoscope of images. He saw flashes of himself up and running again, scrambling frantically through the tall water reeds, and then again falling face down into the shallow water.
     Using all of his remaining strength, Harry forced himself onto his hands and knees. He staggered out of the water trying to move toward a house he’d seen earlier in one of his short runs through the muck and gloom. It was a light from a window, gleaming like a beacon.
     It was not to be.
     He fell forward onto his knees, wobbled for an instant, then tumbled face first into the dirt. His strength was leaving him like fine threads, floating away from his body.
     Across the backdrop of the star lit sky, the last thing Harry saw was a fleeting vision of his life; an image that was familiar, but at the same time confusing. He was two separate people. How could he have memories of two different people?

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