Halt

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

This is a continuation from Motion which was from another WOE prompt. I have no idea where this story is going or even where it came from. I will….

As the sirens call started in the distance and the feel of chaos was taking over around her, she walked three blocks over and two down to a Starbucks. The tendrils of terror from Twitter had not had quite enough time to make the damage known.

She took her book back out as she waited in the lengthy line. Along with the paperback came a pink highlighter. Using her teeth to pull the cap, she marked two sentences on the page. When it was her turn to order her grande vanilla latte, she place the open book on the counter.

She turned away, blowing into the opening of her cup and watched a police car, ambulance and fire engine drive by the window. The cacaphony of sirenes, horns, and squealing tires were enough to bring the patrons out of their small worlds of computer screens, books and newspapers. She saw several of them turn to their phones, looking for news. It wouldn’t be thirty more seconds before they knew what was happening. It would be less than a minute before they were tweeting that they were mere blocks away.

She slipped into the seat of a table in the corner, letting her book fall open yet again. As she lifted the cup to her lips, she felt along the bottom. She pulled off the small strip of paper secured there with a tiny doughnut of masking tape.

2     5     7     10    3

The 5, 7, and 10 were circled.

Again the noise of emergency response could be heard getting louder. She saw one man take a picture as another ambulance went by.

“Your tiny paper is missing a number.”

She almost dropped her cup. Looking up she realized a man has sat down across from her. Annoyed with herself for not being more aware, she shifted slightly in case she needed to leave in a hurry. Her eyes became slits as she gauged whether she could easily overpower him.

“Relax,” he said. “You are more than capable of overpowering me.” He was sitting casually with his legs crossed, slowly sipping from the white and green cardboard. “As I said, your paper is missing a number.”

Quietly, she replied, “Excuse me?”

He leaned forward. “The number is 47.”

She glanced down. Then looked at him in disbelief. Tentatively, she said, “No way. There have never been that many taken out at once.”

“I wasn’t referring to them, you naive, programmed soldier. I was referring to the people who were killed. 47.” He drew the word out as if it was painful. “And 24 injured.”

He leaned closer and the intensity of his blue eyes bore down on her so that she could not look away. “That is 71 lives you have ruined.” His voice dropped to a hiss. “For. Nothing. Nothing is worth that.” He shoved from his seat and though he did not rush or push, people got out of his way as he left the building.

She looked down at her table. On her book was a card. All it said was, I will be in touch.

 

6 thoughts on “Halt

  1. Wow! Great prompt. My favorite part was “The cacaphony of sirenes, horns, and squealing tires were enough to bring the patrons out of their small worlds of computer screens, books and newspapers. ” Cacphony is one of my favorite words.

    I think we find our best pieces when they flow out of us without being constrained by preconcieved ideas. I loved this!

  2. This storyline is really captivating, I’m glad you’re continuing with it, even if you’re not sure where it’s headed

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