Saturday, October 24, 2020

WEP: Grave Mistake

As usual, I'm a day late for this posting. I missed the deadline to add my entry to the WEP/IWSG flash fiction linky. Oh well; at least I finally finished a story. Wasn't sure I had it in me any more. The last Windows 10 update practically wiped my computer, and I've had a rough time getting my Word program re-installed. I almost had to purchase it again. Long story I don't have time to relate just now.

Lets get to the fun stuff.

I wrote a flash fiction! Yay! I started this a week ago, but had computer problems, and work, and family issues. Wow, who knew writing 1,000 words could take so long? But here it is. I don't have a creative title so you're stuck with the blogfest title. And I'm too tired to give proper introduction to this month's WEP Flash Fiction event: Grave Mistake.

Feel free to browse the WEP website for full posting criteria, as well as visit other participants.


943 words

Full critique acceptable

Hump’s feet ran faster than his thoughts. Not unusual; at 28 he still retained his long, gangly limbs and the slim runners body that made him Coach’s pride all the way through high school. Too bad his brain was a bit slower than his distance runners feet or he may have attained a scholarship.

A cacophony of sirens and shouts followed behind him. Ahead, the general populace hadn’t yet caught on that the clammer of the next block was approaching. Quickly, relentlessly, noisily.

God! Why can’t they just give up? Its been 10 blocks already.

The satchel of money cleared the confused market crowd before him. His eyes darted everywhere, not registering anything he saw until –

A darkly clad shape bending into the rear seat of a car. A kid screaming a protest from within.

Escape! Finally. If he could just get in before the cops caught up.

He pounded to the parked car, shoved the being aside, slid into the back seat, and placed the .45 against the screaming kid’s chest. The grounded figure screeched curses and seemed to levitate to its feet. Her feet, he realized, as long nailed fingers clawed at his shoulder in an attempt to pull him out.

Hump ignored her ranting and yelled, “get in the car and drive. I swear, I’ll shoot you both and boost the car if you don’t hurry.”

“Mommy?” the said in a quiet rasp

Mom stared at him for a half a second, and he felt his head filling with a rush of blood and dizziness. Suddenly he felt caught, exposed. Like a deer waiting for the car to swerve into him. Then she slammed the car door on his foot. He groaned, blinked in pain and surprise, pulled his foot all the way into the car, and forcefully latched the door. They were moving almost before he’d realized Mom was in the drivers seat.

Traffic was starting to back up the intersection as the sirens grew more intense. Still, they were three blocks away from the hijacking point before he thought to ask where she was taking him.

“Where do you want to go?”

“Uhm,” he said, trying to think past the sudden headache. Adrenaline, he thought. The crash after the runners high. It happened frequently after after a long, grueling competition. The race is over, he thought. Just need to eat and get settled somewhere.

“Home,” he said, the wondered why he would want to go there. “Your home. Where do you live?”

“OK,” Mom said, not taking her eyes off the traffic.

The kid seemed to nod agreement. Hump looked at the child closely, a girl. Like the mom, she wore a dark hoodie pulled over her head, patched jeans shorts, and nothing but dirt on her tiny feet. Dark eyes drooped in a pale, nearly luminescent face. 

He looked up to see that same creepy looking face gazing at him in the rear-view mirror.

“Hey, eyes on the road,” he yelled, and lifted his hands to massage his temples.

Headaches after competition had kept him out of classes too often, but he had never experienced one this intense, or this sudden. Migraines his doctor had called them. He sat back in the seat to rest his throbbing eyes.

The gun! Was his first thought when the sound of the car door woke him. And then “Where are we?

“Home,” Mom said. She turned her back on him and followed the kid to the front door of a run=down mobile home.

Hump blinked to clear his eyes and head. He was dreaming about his family, his home. The memories were so vivid he was disoriented for a moment. Then he remembered. He looked frantically for the gun, found it on the floor, then scrambled out of the car to catch up with his hostages as they entered the dark home.

He wondered how it got so late; it was late morning when he’d robbed the Loomis van, surely they could not have driven through the afternoon, into evening. He checked his cell phone for the time but it was dead.

Loomis van! He turned suddenly to the car, a wave of dizziness nearly knocking him off his feet. But there it was, the money satchel, in the front seat. He grabbed it, held the gun out in front of himself and raced for the house.

Glowing orbs of movement made his eyes and head throb. “Got any food? Juice?”

“We were out food shopping when you interrupted us,” one of the glows said. It sounded like Mom.

Hump shielded his eyes with his gun hand. “Turn on the lights.”

“No power,” Mom replied.

The smaller glow glided to a back door and opened it. There was still enough daylight to dampen her glow, and Hump realized one of his hostages was making a break for it.

“Hey, get back here,” he called, pointing the gun at her back.

“Grandpa needs fed too,” the girl replied.

She kept moving, so Hump followed. IF there was another person on the property he needed to know.

“Yes,” Mom said, gesturing for Hump to follow them out the door.

They hadn’t gone far into the woods, Hump struggling to keep up, before they entered a mausoleum like cave. The two glows nearly merged, blinding him with their brilliance.

An explosive pain knocked him to his knees. Hump felt himself passing out. Another light appeared behind him as he was passing out.

“Thanks,” nearly echoed through his skull.

“Can we go home now Grandpa?”

“Not for a while Little One. We need more power.”

“He has people, family, nearby,” Mom said.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Donna - a cleverly thought out tale of a grave mistake ... the mausoleum seems a good resting place in the circumstances. Well done - and great you made it ... and I hope the challenges sort themselves out. Take care - Hilary

Pat Garcia said...

Wow! I thought he was running from the police. What I like is your description of him. You played on his athletic ability but his brain was slow. That's why he couldn't get a scholarship to get into college.

I thought of the many athletes that end up like him because they don't have the intellectual ability for college. They are used by coaches everywhere to get a trophy for the team.
Nice job.
Shalom aleichem

Sanhita Mukherjee said...

WHat an escape! Enjoyed reading.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

He got what he deserved for robbery and kidnapping. Although that might've been bit much.

Yolanda Renée said...

Oh dear, he picked the wrong victim this time! Great entry, so glad to see you made it in. We always love reading your entries!

Botanist said...

The tables are turned nicely here!

Yeah, I hate upgrades too. Luckily the Mac tends to be less painful than Windows, and last time around I ditched MS Word for Open Office because I was not prepared to move to an annual subscription.

L.G. Keltner said...

He got what he had coming to him. Little did he know, he didn't have hostages. He was the hostage. A nice little twist. I'm glad you wrote this and shared it with us!

Denise Covey said...

Who’s the hostage here? Nice tale, well told. Didn’t turn out well for Hump.
Thanks for the trouble you went to to post this Donna. Those Windows 10 upgrades are something to be wary of.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Great flash! Crime and punishment :) whether the punishment fits the crime is another matter. Hump made a grave mistake and that has consequences.

Your flashes are always a treat to read and this one is no exception. So glad you shared this at WEP. Hope the other offline challenges resolve soon. Stay safe and well.

dolorah said...

Hilary; thanks. Life is life, and it all works out in the end :)

Pat: I have a few of those athletes in my family.

Sanhita: Who was the escapee: Hump or his hostages?

Alex: true, I doubt the punishment fit the crime.

Yolanda: thanks for stopping by. I hope you are feeling better.

Ian: I've used Open Office before, it has glitches also. Still, I'm not willing to pay for a monthly subscription either.

LG: thank you. There is always a bigger shark in the ocean :)

Denise: this is the first time I've had a real problem. Maybe my 12 year old computer is to blame. I really enjoyed writing for this prompt. Brings back memories of my serious writing days.

Nila: I really enjoyed your post too. I miss WEP when I'm too busy to post. I need to do some serious time management to consistently write for this site.

Sally said...

I enjoyed reading your story - I actually felt sorry for Hump.

Roland Clarke said...

Hump made a grave mistake indeed. Clever take on the prompt, Dolorah. I'm glad you managed to post despite what the last Windows 10 update did to your computer. Afraid Windows updates have been creating problems for a while - my wife and I both have bugs from Win - read about others like you. I'm sorry it caused so much trouble.

Donna Hanton said...

Ah, things are not always what they seem. I wasn't sure where this was going at first, but loved the twisty details as it went along.