The Warning

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man tries to give a warning but no one will take any notice.

Submitted: November 25, 2016

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Submitted: November 25, 2016

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The Warning.

 

Listen everybody,” the man shouted, trying to make himself heard above the general noise and chatter. “You need to get out of here. The whole place is going to blow any minute now!”

A couple of people near to him turned to stare, only to shake their heads and carry on. He looked a bit crazy with his rumpled clothes, his ruffled hair, his eyes seeming to shine with some kind of madness. He certainly didn’t come across as someone that needed to be taken seriously.

The man looked around himself in exasperation. Why was nobody listening? He was trying to save them and they just shrugged him off, ignored him. There had to be some way that he could get them to listen.

Just a few feet away from where he stood was a bench. If he cleared the merchandise off it he could stand on it, make himself a bit more obvious. Maybe then someone, anyone, would listen and take notice. All it would take was one – the chances were that others would then follow and make it to safety.

He pushed his way towards the bench, apologizing to no one as he shoved his way forwards. Women, men, old or young, even children would find themselves being roughly edged past. When he reached the bench he swept his arm across the display of glass and china, sending it scattering towards the floor where it shattered and smashed.

People shouted, jumped back. Some had received cuts from shards of glass, chips of china. Angry voices shouted at the man but he ignored them all and climbed up on to the table where he stood tall. Already the security guards were starting to make their way towards him.

Would you listen to me. Please! Get out of here! Get out now. The whole place is going to blow and if you don’t get out you’ll go with it!” He was shouting as loud as he possibly could. Why was no one taking any notice?

A few more people were turning their heads towards him, several seemed to be discussing what he’d said, but not one person had left the store. Already, any disruption he had caused was being swept away, forgotten in the frenzy to spend, spend, spend. The only people who were paying any attention to the man again were the two security guards that were getting nearer, approaching from two different directions.

He couldn’t stay where he was, the man knew that. There was nothing else for it – he’d have to try the more personal approach. He leapt down from the bench and on to the ground to run, getting hold of customers arms as he passed them.

Get out of here! Get out now!” He warned as many people as he could, while fleeing from those security guards.

He knew he should give up and get out himself. The door was so near now, he could easily slip out and disappear in the crowds outside. He had time. He could get far enough away to save himself, but still he lingered, still he warned.

The man watched as three, then four people left the store. Were they going because of his warnings? Were people finally starting to listen to him? Or would they have been going anyway? There was certainly no mad rush for the doors. He was failing and he no longer knew what he should do.

There was a woman standing right beside him. The man turned and grabbed her arm, waited for her to look towards him.

This place is going to blow apart any minute now. Please, listen to me and leave. Leave now and get as far from here as you can.”

The woman wrenched her arm from his grasp, angrily telling him to keep his hands off her, to leave her alone. She moved away but instead of leaving the store she made her way further inside. It was futile, hopeless. He was wasting his time.

The guards were almost upon him now. In one last frantic effort the man shouted as loud as he could; “Listen to me. If you don’t want to die, get out of here now!”

Two pairs of hands grabbed the man. One guard had his right arm, the other his left. They half lifted and half dragged him to the door and shoved him hard through it, out into the arcade that was also teeming with people.

As they let go of him the man struggled to find his balance, to stay up on his feet. He failed in this effort too, landing in a heap, smashing his knees, elbows, chin. There could not be long left now – just a matter of seconds. The man knew he should be moving away, should be trying to warn those outside who were also at risk. But what was the point. No one would listen.

He sat on the ground, blood dripping from where his chin had split. He looked at the watch on his wrist and even though it was now broken he knew there could only be a few seconds to go. He felt tears beginning to well up in his eyes, tears of frustration, tears of remorse. He was a grown man, he would not cry, but the tears were flowing anyway.

And then he saw it – the flash. Before he’d even fully registered it the boom followed. There was the sound of breaking glass, so much glass; and screams from outside and from inside. The rumble could be felt as much as heard as the whole structure of the shop began to buckle, to fall inwards and outwards, pulling neighbouring shops down with it.

And the screams continued, hitting him like bullets. He could not bear it, could not stand it. The block of concrete heading towards him made sure he heard no more.


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