Short Story Sunday #6

Prompt — First Sentence: “He had to learn, and learn quickly.”
Goal: 200-500 Words

He had to learn, and learn quickly. This was going to be the biggest test of his life. There was no way that he was going to allow himself to fail it…there was no way that his parents were ever going to let him live it down if he failed it. This was his make or break moment; the one and only thing that will decide his fate for the rest of his life. If he passed this test, then he would be free. If he failed this test, then he would have no choice but to carry on the family business.

“Leo, will you set the table for dinner?” his mother called almost immediately after.

“After dinner, do you mind mowing the lawn? It’s beginning to look like a jungle out there!” his father added.

Leo buried his face in his hands. His bedroom was dark except for the dim lamp that sat on top of his desk. A few textbooks lay wide open with notes and scribbles in the margins were before him and on his lap was an old notebook with ripped pages, spilled ink, and crumbled corners. He had never studied so hard in his entire life and his parents only made studying more difficult.

His mother and father constantly bothered him when they knew he was in his bedroom studying. They did not want him to pass this test as they wanted him to carry on the family business when they were gone.

The “family business” started with Leo’s great, great, great grandfather. Leo came from a long line of bounty hunters. Being in his late 20s, Leo was small for his age. He had no muscles and no back bone. He didn’t like the idea of spending the rest of his life chasing down robbers and murderers just so he could pay the bills. He was not willing to put his own life on the line every single day—not when he wanted to get married and have kids.

Leo wanted to do something great with his life. Sure, getting criminals off of the street was a good deed, but only if you did it in the right way; for example, becoming a police officer or something. No, Leo wanted to do something that he was interested in. He wanted to do something he was great at. Being a doctor was just that thing. But it also happened to be the thing that his parents didn’t approve of—something that they didn’t understand. And probably never will.

“Leo, can you take out the trash?”

“The table still needs to be set, sweetie!”

Leo put in his headphones and turned the volume on his MP3 player all the way up to the maximum. He couldn’t concentrate with noise, but music was better than listening to his parents’ disapprovals of his life decisions. Was he going to pass this test? Was he going to save lives?

Only time would tell.

Words: 494

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