Gideon hated his name. Always had, always would.
If asked a direct question about why he hated it, he wouldn’t be able to answer, he just did.
Of course, it didn’t help that he had to give his name often during the course of his work. Each time he did, he mentally cringed because the memories of derisive laughter from school mates rang loud and long in his mind’s ear.
The bullying he suffered at the hands and mouths of those classmates compounded his misery but as he grew taller and more muscular, the bullying tended to subside. The friendships, however, didn’t balance out and increase as the bullying waned.
Gideon appeared to take it all in his stride. He left school with reasonable grades. He had offers of college but dismissed further education as a waste of yet more of his years and he took a job.
His parents didn’t ask what job he had, nor whether there was potential for promotion or a career. As long as he kept from under their feet, and ‘tipped up’ his board for the week, on Friday, right after he got home with his pay packet, they were happy enough.
He never asked what went through their heads to name him Gideon. He decided he wasn’t interested in knowing anything about the name.
As years went by, he kept his head down at work and progressed. He never missed a day and even went in on overtime. His parents still never asked what he did for a living, showing less interest in him than they had when he was a child.
One day, Gideon’s father had a heart attack at the wheel of his car. His foot stomped hard on the accelerator and the car ploughed into an oncoming truck.
The truck driver miraculously survived.
Gideon’s mother, crushed from the front by part of the car’s engine bay and part of the truck from the side, looked up to see Gideon’s face looking in at his father, through the driver’s side window.
She couldn’t decipher his expression. It wasn’t hate, it wasn’t love. He looked at his father with… curiosity.
Gideon looked up and saw her. He nodded once and she was surprised by a huge swell of gore bubbling from her mouth.
Gideon nodded again and his father said, “Son?”
“My name is Gideon. I will be your escort to the afterlife. I can’t answer any questions so please don’t ask,” he said and took one each of their hands and pulled their spirits from the wreckage. He led them to a black coach drawn by four jet black horses.
Gideon helped his parents into the coach and as he was about to close the door, he hesitated.
“I’ve always hated my name, you know.” Without waiting for their response, he closed the door and the coach moved on.
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