A New Life

He took one step at a time. Carefully placing one foot above the other, he hoisted himself up the steps. They were uneven and covered in grass, but he did not seem to notice. His thoughts were elsewhere; the steps a lifetime away.

He kept seeing the shocked face, inches from his. First the happiness, then the shock, then the twisted expression of hatred and pain. He hadn’t wanted to end it this way. He had wanted to take her with him. Lock her up and keep her close. But the order to remove her had come and he had to obey.

Without realising, he had reached the top of the steps. He stopped walking and shook his head, trying to remove the veil of images that covered his view.

He looked down at the village and took a deep breath. He would start his new life here, he thought. They would never find him.

He started down the steps when all of a sudden, he was wrenched backward and thrown to the ground.

The man above him sneered at him, his gun inches from his face. He felt a sense of déjà vu, then the fatal gunshot sounded.

© 2017

FFfAW, Week of July 18, 2017

Photo prompt provided by J.S. Brand

Remember

He stared at the photograph. The colours were already starting to fade and the corners had been folded by accident when it had slipped behind the desk.

He remembered the spot exactly. It had been his favourite place as a child. Sitting on the rocks, listening to the wind rustle through the leaves of the trees and the water flowing somewhere in the distance down the slope. It had been a tranquil place, where he had always been at peace.

After a while he had stopped going to the place. He had started socializing more, had a girlfriend. He had almost forgotten all about the place, until their one-year anniversary as a couple.

She wanted to go somewhere romantic, so in the spur of the moment, he had packed a picnic basket and taken her to his special place.

Looking back, he couldn’t quite piece together what had happened. It had all been wrong.

Trying to reconnect his new self with his past had ended in a disaster. Somehow, in a rage of sudden aggression, he channelled his anger towards her. Then she stumbled backwards.

As though in slow motion, he could still see her tumble backwards over the stones, hitting her head hard and her body bouncing down the slope of the hill until it came to a rest.

Snapping out of his dream, he ripped the photograph into tiny pieces. He couldn’t let the memories rip apart his carefully constructed perfect life.

© 2017

FFfAW, Week of June 6, 2017

Photo prompt provided by Pamela S. Canepa

Sting by Sandra Brown

I have just finished reading Sting by Sandra Brown. I think I may just have found a new favourite author. Absolutely loved the book!

When Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard lock eyes across a disreputable backwater bar, something definitely sparks. Shaw gives off a dangerous vibe that makes men wary and inspires women to sit up and take notice. None feel that undercurrent more strongly than savvy businesswoman Jordie, who doesn’t belong in a seedy dive on the banks of a bayou. But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her.

As Shaw and his partner take aim, Jordie is certain her time has come. But Shaw has other plans and abducts Jordie, hoping to get his hands on the $30 million her brother has stolen and, presumably, hidden. However, Shaw is not the only one looking for the fortune. Her brother’s ruthless boss and the FBI are after it as well. Now on the run from the feds and a notorious criminal, Jordie and Shaw must rely on their wits-and each other-to stay alive.

Miles away from civilization and surrounded by swampland, the two play each other against their common enemies. Jordie’s only chance of survival is to outwit Shaw, but it soon becomes clear to Shaw that Jordie isn’t entirely trustworthy, either. Was she in on her brother’s scam, or is she an innocent pawn in a deadly vendetta? And just how valuable is her life to Shaw, her remorseless and manipulative captor? Burning for answers-and for each other-this unlikely pair ultimately make a desperate move that could be their last.

Goodreads

Grey Skies

He stared up at the grey building. Some of the windows were lit, but they did nothing to cheer him up. Craning his neck, he could see the sky above, an even darker shade of grey than the building. His fingers gripped the umbrella tighter. He hoped he wouldn’t be needing it later. He didn’t want his new suit to be ruined.

Taking a deep breath, he stepped into the building. The receptionist took his name with a blank nod, then gave him directions to the room.

It was only on the first floor, but he preferred to take the elevator.

Minutes later, he knocked on the door, then took a step back. He heard a faint “come in” and carefully pushed down the door handle.

Without looking at the man at the desk, he swiftly closed the door again, grabbed one of the chairs and pushed it under the handle.

The man at the desk stared at him as he wordlessly pulled out his gun.

“It wasn’t us,” he said, his eyes locked on the muzzle. “None of us snitched.”

The man took a step closer to him, keeping the gun firmly trained on the other man’s head.

“Don’t lie to me,” he said in a cold voice. “We have the videotapes.”

Sweat broke out on the other man’s forehead, but he did not reply.

The man with the gun nodded slowly. “I thought so.”

Then he pulled the trigger.

When he left the building, it was pouring down with rain, but he kept the umbrella uselessly by his side.

© 2017

Image from free photo stock pixabay.com

“First comes an idea. Then, characters begin to evolve out of the landscape of that idea. And then, finally, characters dominate: plot is simply a function of what these people might do or be. Everything has to flow from their personalities; otherwise it will not be emotionally engaging, or plausible.”

-Robert Harris

Swamped

She stopped the car and looked around.

“Shit,” she said, hitting the steering wheel. How had she landed in the middle of nowhere? This was literally a swamp.

“Where are we going, mommy?” her four-year-old chirped from the back seat. She sighed.

“It’s a surprise,” she said, trying not to let a despairing laugh take hold of her.

It was his birthday and here they were, camped out in the middle of a swamp. She started the engine again and hit the accelerator. Only the sound of the wheels spinning up mud was heard.

“Mommy, we’re not moving,” her son said, straining to look out the window. “Why are we not moving?”

“I don’t know!” she said desperately. “Why are we not moving? Oh god. Oh no. Please don’t do this.” She kept pushing the accelerator, but nothing happened. “Shit,” she said again, this time it was a scream.

“Is everything okay, mommy?”

She shook her head.

“Don’t worry, mommy. I’m not mad. We can have a party here.”

She smiled at her son through her tears. She wished she could be as young and naïve as him again.

© 2017

Image from free photo stock pixabay.com

Appreciating the Wine

She looked down at the food and wine, and suddenly felt sick. He had wanted to talk to her, that’s all he had said. Excited, she had gone grocery shopping, twirling through the room as though she was getting married. Well, that’s exactly what she was hoping was going to happen. She thought he wanted to finally – finally – ask her to marry him. She had gotten the wine ready, the red one he had always loved so much.

Now she sat opposite him, staring at the cheese, willing him to laugh at what he had just said. There was silence, then she looked up. “What?”

He watched her for a second, sipping his wine, then he replied. “We’re over.” He set the wine down. “I know you dream about marrying me,” he grinned lopsidedly, looping his hand around the wine glass again. “And I appreciate the wine, but I’m sick of you. I know,” he held up his hand to stop her from protesting, while his other slid beneath the table. “I know you would never let me go, so I brought you a little present.”

Grinning again, his hand reappeared with a gun in his hand. She turned white, her words stuck in her throat.

“You’ve never meant anything for me. Except for the money you so kindly gave me, and the wine of course.” He smiled widely. “Goodbye,” he whispered, then he pulled the trigger.

© 2016

Image from free photo stock pixabay.com