She was walking down the street, whistling to herself. Night had fallen quickly, but she was almost home. She threw her head back and stared at the sky. Stars were sprinkled across it randomly, but it was as though a thousand eyes were watching her, smiling down at her. She smiled back.
She turned off the street and entered the woods. She didn’t usually like the forest much, but it was only a short walk and faster than taking the long way around. Today, however, she felt strong and confident.
Suddenly, she felt something curl around her wrist, then she was yanked backwards. Her mouth opened in shock. This was not how the night was supposed to end.
It was so dark; she only saw the silhouette of a tall man. Then she felt the shove right before she tumbled backwards onto the ground. The twigs snapped beneath her and her hands hurt as she caught herself. She tried to push herself up.
All of a sudden something hurtled through the air and she felt the force of the blow right before she blacked out.
The sounds were the first to return. She thought she heard soft scuttling and was reminded of the time her little sister kept a pet mouse and hid it in her room. The same panic as back then shot through her now. She hated small animals, as her sister had perfectly well known.
As feeling returned to her limbs, she realized the ground beneath her was hard and uneven. It reminded her of the few times she’d gone camping with her family. The smell of dirt filled the air. Normally, she would have inhaled this and thought summer was almost here, but all she felt now was dread. Where was she?
When her eyes finally opened, everything was black.
“Pain is very useful. It warns you of danger, teaches you of hazards and provides consequences for your actions.”
-Lisa Gardner, Fear Nothing
He turned on the lights and squinted in surprise. Cob webs covered the place from head to toe, but the light bulbs must have been replaced recently. He shivered. This was where they were meeting? He could only imagine: Dark writers had a strange fondness of odd places.
Carefully, he worked his way inside, making sure not to get the thin threads glued to his hair.
The chair creaked as he moved it…Or was that a different sound? He cocked his head.
Suddenly, the light flicked off and his head was jerked backwards. A terrified scream escaped his lips.
©2018, Friday Fictioneers 12 January 2018
“Hope for the best, plan for the worst.”
Lee Child’s latest thriller, The Midnight Line, was a terrific read! Check it out:
Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. Why not?
So begins a harrowing journey that takes Reacher through the upper Midwest, from a lowlife bar on the sad side of small town to a dirt-blown crossroads in the middle of nowhere, encountering bikers, cops, crooks, muscle, and a missing persons PI who wears a suit and a tie in the Wyoming wilderness.
The deeper Reacher digs, and the more he learns, the more dangerous the terrain becomes. Turns out the ring was just a small link in a far darker chain. Powerful forces are guarding a vast criminal enterprise. Some lines should never be crossed. But then, neither should Reacher.
“Sometimes, all you have to do is shift your perspective to see someone else’s truth.”
-Dan Brown, Origin
She rounded the corner and held her nose, trying to escape the smell. They’d have to clear this place out, she thought, sighing. A grimy toilet was inside the tiny shed.
She rolled up her sleeves, then paused. Maybe she’d ask her husband to do it. She hated cleaning out things and with her allergies, it was even worse.
She was about to turn back, when something caught her eye. She stepped inside the shed, looking into the dark space behind the toilet. She sucked in a breath.
There, lying in the corner, was the corpse of her long-lost son.
© 2017 *edited version*
Friday Fictioneers, 1 December 2017
“The minute we look, we cease being afraid.”
The bench he decided to sit on was wet with rain, but he didn’t really care. It had stopped raining an hour ago, but even that didn’t really register with him. He felt totally isolated, as though cut off from the world. Staring at the puddles on the ground, he felt the world keep spinning around him. Men and women rushed past him. Everyone had a place to go. Needed and wanted. For years he thought he belonged to them. He was a part of this wave of people, moving from place to place, always in motion.
Now he didn’t know where to go. Didn’t know what to do, didn’t know how to act. His world had come crashing down on top of him, everything he had so carefully built fell apart like a house of cards.
Something had changed, his mind registered. It took him a few seconds to realise what it was. He found himself locking eyes with a man through the puddle. Staring him straight in the eye, the man seemed to stand right before him.
When he slowly lifted up his head, he felt the bullet tear through his body a second before his eyes found the gun.
They had stripped him bare of everything. Now, finally, they had taken his life too.
Image from free photo stock pixabay.com
“Doubt is poison. It leads to a loss of faith in yourself, and in all that’s good and true.”