"Hello?"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: May 21, 2018

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Submitted: May 21, 2018

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Hello?”

I walk steadily towards home, once more cursing Helen for keeping me late and making me miss the bus. I was still a way from the stop when I saw the last of the familiar passengers climb on and the bus pull away.

It’s not so bad through the city streets. There are plenty of people around and I still believe in the saying that there is safety in numbers. It’s not right that I should have to feel like this, but these days it’s hard to walk alone, especially when you are female.

I put my head down and watch where I walk. I do not want to look at anyone, make eye-contact; there’s no knowing where that might lead to. I just watch feet approaching and try to judge my position from them. So there are a few collisions, mostly of elbows, but that’s okay, that would happen on the crowded streets wherever I was looking.

No, it’s when the side-walks become less crowded that I start to feel really uneasy. There is still a steady stream of traffic passing, but that’s not the same. Many of the potential threats come from that very thing. Just last week a girl disappeared after a van drew up beside her and she was dragged inside. The store fronts might be more secure, but the further I go the more likely am I to pass one where a vagrant or junkie is lurking.

Once again, I find myself cursing Helen. No doubt she never has to rely on public transport, let alone her two feet.

And now it’s the bit I hate, out of town and past the park, the woods, moving further away even from the road. I can hear something; a voice is calling, crying, asking for help. What am I to do now? I can’t just walk away, pretending that I’ve not heard anything.

I stop walking and stand still, looking down the track. I’ll take just a few steps, call out and see if I get an answer. If I do, maybe I’ll call the police, try to explain exactly where I am, what I’m hearing.

“Hello?” My voice comes out way too quiet. No one is going to hear that. I take a deep breath and try again. “Hello?” Are you alright?”

Better this time, louder. There is a rustling from the bushes and I pull myself away from them, imagining all sorts of monsters, beings, people coming out of there in pursuit of me. It’s nothing of the sort, of course, just a bird I startled.

The sobbing is louder now. Has whoever it is heard me? I take another step forward then another. Weeping, crying, “Help me! Help me!”

A female voice, not very old, I think. “Hello? Where are you? I’m going to call for help!”

“No! Get away.....Run....Don’t let him catch you!” There’s urgency in the voice, a warning. Is it for me? Perhaps I should move away, phone up from a distance. I start to turn, too late. I’ve lingered too long and those arms are gripping me. Something disgusting and dirty is stuffed in my mouth; a rag that I can’t get my voice to shout around.

I’m being dragged away into the bushes and there’s nothing I can do except struggle, put up resistance every inch of the way. He is strong though and has no intention of letting me free. Am I about to join another captive? The one who was crying for help? Or have I fallen in to some carefully orchestrated trap?

I’m what I’ve feared I’d become; a victim of something, someone. It’s almost as though I could see it coming, that I’ve been waiting for it to happen. Maybe I have. Maybe it’s fate. Why did I ever pause to shout, “Hello?”


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