Picture This

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Just another day on any old street but........

Submitted: April 19, 2017

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Submitted: April 19, 2017



Picture This


It is mid afternoon and the streets are neither crowded nor empty. There is a steady flow of both pedestrians and traffic. It is just a normal day on a normal street as you contentedly stroll along.


Up ahead there is a guy getting nearer. He is clearly intoxicated, high on alcohol or drugs. Then again, maybe he is just crazy. Just a random stranger heading your way; nothing to be concerned about.


Perhaps it would be safest not to make eye contact. The side-walk is wide, no need to cross the street but maybe take a step towards the left and make a bit more space.He is lurching along, for some reason homing in on you and the path you have taken.


Not many steps away from collision now and still he’s on target for a crash. Even though you think it might be a bad idea you find your eyes lifting up, searching out his own. His glaring expression is aimed directly at you.


Side-stepping quickly to the right there is now plenty of room to pass each other again. But he puts up his arm, reaches out, grabs your arm.




He cuts you off. “Where the hell do you think you’re going.” His voice is thick, slurry, unrecognized.


I’m sorry. I’m not whoever you think I am.” Stay calm. It’s just some kind of misunderstanding. “I’ve never met you before.”


Yeah, go on, honey. Just play the innocent.....” He staggers, his grip tightens. “You’re nothing but a filthy, cheating.....”


Let go! I don’t know who you think I am but you are wrong!”


He sneers directly in your face as he pulls you hard towards him. “Course you’re not, darlin’.”


Why doesn’t someone come to your aid? It’s like everyone is looking away, not wanting to get involved in what probably appears to be a relationship squabble. You reach for your mobile but he knocks it from your hand to land straight in front of an approaching vehicle. There is the sound of breaking glass, the crunch of plastic. Now what?


Looking around frantically you catch the eyes of a man, a stranger again but at least one who seems sober. It’s got to be worth a try. “Help me! Please! This g......” Before you finish speaking, your assailant back-hands you across the face.


This act of violence has actually helped you. Several passers-by are on their phones, hopefully reporting a violent incident. The man you had looked towards for help is now definitely heading your way.


Hey! You can’t do that! Are you alright, Miss.” He’s going to help sort this misunderstanding out. It’ll all be cleared up in no time.


But your assailant is reaching in to his jacket, pulling out a gun. Without even pausing to aim, he fires it straight at the guy that was coming to your assistance. No more though, because now he is on the ground, moaning – not dead but seriously injured.


You struggle to get away, pulling against his grip until the gun barrel presses against the side of your head, stopping you in your tracks. As if in a dream you become aware of running footsteps, the occasional scream. The passers-by that a moment ago were so uninterested have finally discovered that they are a part of an ‘on-going incident’, and they are scared, panicked, seeking out shelter.


This stranger is looking straight into your eyes. His confusion is obvious. Maybe he’s not drunk, but he is crazy. Paranoid? It could be from drugs or from some kind of mental illness. As you stare back into his eyes, thinking these thoughts, you feel strangely detached. It is almost as though you are watching a movie play out in which the staring role belongs to you.


Footsteps running forwards, getting closer. Shouted commands. The blood is pumping through your veins so hard, pounding, pounding, that you cannot make out the words.


There is no sanity in those eyes as he tightens his grip on the trigger, pressing the gun ever harder against your head. For one split second you realize that you are going to die as a stranger, for a stranger and because of a stranger. A helpless victim of chance.


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