Deadly purpose cloaked Jacob Eugene O'Carol.
Scaly Jake, as he was professionally known, was no stranger to having his back against the wall. He was a survivor of the last stand at Matamorosa, and seemingly a thousand other battles in the last great war. Death itself was an old friend of Jake's. When came for him this time, he would look it in the eye and say, “Long time, no see.” But he would say that while holding his old service flamethrower and fighting for the life he had made for himself.
Jake's service station was known to those who traveled the waste as the best garage in the north, and Jake's wife served up some damn good pie.
The old flamethrower that Jake had carried through Hell and back was in a neglected corner of his shop, near an even older refrigerator that held a six pack of cheap beer. Both the brews and the weapon had seemingly been waiting for a day like this and Jake had touched neither since he came home from the war. He needed both of them now.
He and his wife had been walking through their cold morning ritual, eating breakfast and watching the morning news to combat the pregnant silence. They were lizard people, and made lifemates through culture and biology, but any love that they had once felt for each other had faded through the years. What the news anchor had to say that morning made both of them stop in the middle of the motions that replaced their intimacy, and begin to tremble.
“...a massive creature has virtually destroyed Kurgisburg and is making its way south.”
A projected path of the creature displayed on a map put Scaly Jake's Filling Station and Garage squarely in its path. Shaky, grainy, video showed a massive shape making its way across the wastes. It was impossibly large and death strode with it.
An hour later, he and his wife had just finished packing their old station wagon. Their work completed, the pair stood facing each other, neither one moving.
“Get in the car, Jake.”
Jake paused, “No, I don't think I will.”
“What do you mean, Jake? We've got to get out of here!”
“No, we don't. You do. I'm gonna stay.”
His wife's jaw hung open.
“Woman, we've been here twenty years, and you've been hating it for at least fifteen. You don't love this life, but I do. I love this service station, I love my work. Hell, I even love those damn dirty dwarves who come through once a year. And working on that fancy car them boys brought in last week, well, I'd rather be dead in the desert than stand by and let some random leviathan step all over my dreams. I'll stay, and I'll fight, and I might die. Most likely I will. But I'm glad to die for that which I love, even if it's only a run-down gas station in the middle of nowhere that ain't worth a damn.”
Tears were in his wife's eyes. They began to stream down her cheeks as she spoke.
“There you are. Here's the lizard I love. You've found your fire. I'm so happy I could see you again before I die.”
“I'm staying, Jake. I'm staying.”
They made love then and there. On the hood of the station wagon, on the cement floor, and in the dust out front by the full service pumps.
When their passions were finally spent, Jake unpacked the flamethrower, minigun, and grenade launcher and stacked them neatly against the station wagon. When the shadow of the colossus finally darkened his property, he met the beast on the land that he loved, with the woman that he loved.