Waiting Game

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium


A short story inspired by the third picture prompt for February 2018 from the Imaginarium House.

Submitted: February 22, 2018

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Submitted: February 22, 2018

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Waiting Game

Luke sat on the bench and waited. He was early but they wouldn’t be long. There was no way that they would not show up; that was just too much to hope for, or dread, depending on how he looked at it. If he’d walked he wouldn’t have arrived so early, but he’d wanted his bike, just in case it gave him the opportunity to make a quick getaway.

For the thousandth time he asked himself how he could have ever been so stupid as to get involved. Luke knew it was trouble yet still he’d let himself be pushed into making the deal. But then, had he ever really had any choice.

Jacko was the usual go-between. He’d take the orders, make the deals, pay the cash. But he hadn’t been there for several days and some of the regulars were getting kind of desperate. Luke got pulled in to it just because of where he lived, who he knew of. He’d said no, it wasn’t his thing, but they’d got kind of insistent. Luke still had to keep the bruises from his ‘convincing’, secret.

There was no denying his own stupidity. He could have reported it – but then his life would have become so unbearable he’d have had to have persuaded his family to move, or at least let him switch schools. What Luke had done was capitulate; he took the list, scrawled out reluctantly – well, they couldn’t expect him to remember when he didn’t know what they were talking about.

The feeling of being watched, the sweaty palms and pounding heart, Luke could still remember so well. Even though it was only the next street to his, this was a place few who didn’t live there rarely visited. Not unless there were deals to me made. The houses were in varying states of disrepair, there were kids loitering, lounging, gathered in groups, whatever the time, whatever the weather.

He’d done it though, walked up to the door, knocked and when it had opened had passed over the paper to the hand that appeared. “Tomorrow. Same time.” And the door had closed.

It would have been simple enough, a one-off error of judgement, something he could consign to the past and forget about, if he had not been robbed when he returned the following day. No money, no drugs! And hell, he owed them. The park, the following afternoon, and he’d better pay up then. The ‘Or Else’ stayed unspecified but it was there, all the same.

Luke had gone home, counted up every cent that he had, but it was nowhere near enough. He should go back to the guys at school, let them sort it out, pay again. But somehow he just knew he’d come off so much worse if he even suggested such a thing. He’d have to sell of some of his stuff. Trainers, expensive, saved up for and bought as a Christmas present. His leather jacket? That would have to go, and his games console. He wouldn’t be able to play it with broken fingers anyhow.

He’d done it somehow; got every single cent. And now it was just a case of waiting to make the exchange. They’d show up, somebody would; they’d be wanting their money.

In the meantime there was nothing Luke could do but sit there and wait. But, he promised himself, never again. Let Jacko deal with it in future. He didn’t want to know.


© Copyright 2018 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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