Brad rushed ran around the second level then up again, and again, finding the level he needed. Like the rest of the centre, it’s door remained open. Apparently the gas had struck during working hours. On entering, he looked over the display cases filled with knives.
“They’re what I want,” he said, tapping at the glass.
It had an encoded keypad. Looking around the shop, he sought out something to break the glass. Beside rows of hiking boots on the floor, a line of hatchets; their heads wrapped in newspaper, leant against the wall. Brad took up one and covered his eyes with his other hand as he smashed the top panes of the display cases. Clearing away all of the jagged edges, he leaned over, appraising his choices. Not knowing what to look for, he began to lift varied knives and feel them for weight and balance.
“Are these claws?” asked Teyata, taking one up.
“Yeah, like the men of the old world used to use,” Brad confirmed.
He wanted to find an all purpose knife; one suited for the new world. One he could hunt, eat with, and defend himself with if necessary.
What else do I need? he queried himself. What makes a good throwing knife?
It gave him a sense of deja vu. He had asked the question once before a few years ago. Mr Robinson used to be SAS. Brad only knew that, because his father attempted to bully the middle aged man and came unstuck. Seconds later, the old man stood over his dazed father, not that Brad resented him doing so. He laughed to himself. Even to this day, his father claimed the incident never happened.
Brad became curious of Mr Robinson’s military history, even though Mrs Robinson warned him to never do so. One summer’s day, he caught Mr Robinson watering the roses in his front yard.
“Excuse me, Mr Robinson?”
He looked up with a smile. “Yes, Bradly.”
The use of his full name made him cringe.
“Can you show me how to throw a knife?”
Mr Robinson’s smile instantly fell from his face as he turned back to watering his roses. For several seconds, Brad hovered, realising the conversation had ended. He turned, about to walk away.
“The blade’s got to be heavier than the handle,” Mr Robinson said impassively.
When Brad looked back, Mr Robinson continued to water without looking at him.
“Thank you, Mr Robinson.”
The old man didn’t acknowledge him in any way, telling him the lesson had ended.
Brad’s world returned to the present and the interior of the shop. He began making a quick test of the knives by resting the hilts on his finger. If they fell away by the handle, that made them unserviceable for throwing. He discovered seven possible varieties, putting the rest to one side. In another display case, he came across sets of boxed English Commando daggers. The little card underneath said the English had used them since 1941.
They’ve been using these for 190 years!