Circumstances Beyond Their Control

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Like a candle's flame, a person can be snuffed out of existence in an instant. Giovanni will soon learn how quickly a flame can be extinguished when blind prejudice is involved.

Slap, slap, slap! The attacker whacked the pipe against his hand in a manner meant to intimidate. Backed against a wall, Giovanni faced the middle aged tub of lard. Trapped in the back of a dead-end alley, Giovanni peered around for a way to elude the man. The fire escape ladder, his only means of escape, remained out of reach, a good 12 feet above. The man snarled,

There’s no place to run freak! I’m going to bash your ugly skull in.

Giovanni, out of not only options, but breath, intended to reason with the assailant. He'd tell the man he suffered from horrendous pains, making it impossible for him to fight. Unable to catch his breath after the grueling thirteen block chase, only one word slipped from Giovanni's mouth,


Irritation flashed across the man's face upon hearing Giovanni speak. The aggressor’s hand stabbed a finger in Giovanni's direction.

Shut up! I’m sick of hearing your lousy accent. Your kind isn’t wanted here!

The attacker edged forwards, the pipe gripped between his hands like a baseball player holds a bat. Giovanni closed his eyes to prepare for the inevitable. He knew the grave would welcome him soon enough.

The sound of a loud crash surprised Giovanni. Enough so to force him to open his eyes. The aggressor’s body lay before him, slumped on the ground with blood flowing from his head. Shards of a large clay pot, along with clumps of black soil, littered the street around the attacker. A rattle from above caused Giovanni to duck to the side. The fire escape clanged as the suspended stairway fell and hit the street below. Andria, a cohort to Giovanni, stumbled her way down the iron steps. With her hands still covered in plant soil, she reached out for Giovanni’s arm. Uttering nothing, her tug on his sleeve provided an undeniable signal for the urge to flee. Less than half a block beyond the fallen man, an alleyway entrance beckoned to the couple. Andria clasped his arm with a firm grip and led him to the alley entrance where they disappeared around the corner. But luck, it would seem, conspired against the pair for at the end of the lane, they encountered a chain link fence. Giovanni, with solid determination, grabbed the fence. His fingers grasped the chain links while he hoisted himself upwards. Awkward in his movements, he lost valuable time. His shoes made a dull thump as he dropped to the pavement. With his attention focused on the fence, he watched Andria climb upward in an equally awkward manner. Before she could reach the top, a man appeared at the end of the alleyway and shouted,

They’re over here. One of ‘em jumped the fence already. Somebody get a flame thrower going!

Three gunshots rang out in succession, followed by a thudding sound. A whimper escaped from Andria's lips as her blood spattered through the links onto Giovanni’s shirt. Her face took on an empty look before she fell to the ground. Giovanni, sickened by the sight of his fallen comrade, recoiled in horror. Twitches from her limbs caused her body to convulse mindlessly for several seconds before she lay motionless. With Andria gone, Giovanni knew of nothing else to do but dash across the open lot in search of safety. The sound of another gunshot reverberated from close behind. The bullet struck a building wall, raining chips of masonry down onto his head. Giovanni continued to sprint, his will to survive outweighing his need for rest.

Giovanni pushed his body to its limit, desperate in his attempt to lose the angry pursuers in the back streets. Each step he took brought him closer to a large garbage dumpster which jutted into the street. He could see Vittore, a vagrant who slept beneath the 16th Street bridge, struggling to scramble over the edge of the container. Panicked after hearing the gunshots, Vittore dropped over the edge onto the street. A scrap of bloody meat dangled from his mouth, a sick reminder about the difficulties involved in survival. Lurching forward, Vittore headed for the industrial district with Giovanni close behind. With each gasp for air, Giovanni wondered how long he could continue the merciless trek. As they approached the intersection at 7th and Baltimore, Vittore shouted over his shoulder,


The train yard, less than four blocks ahead, would provide a maze of obstacles to hide amongst. Vittore entered the intersection but failed to notice the delivery truck until it was too late. Swerving, the truck broadsided him as it sped through the crosswalk. Vittore tumbled through the air, then skidded to a halt when his shoulder slammed into the pavement. Giovanni watched as Vittore’s fingers clawed at the asphalt, trying to pull his mangled body toward the train yard. An ear-splitting screech emanated from the truck’s brakes as it slowed to a stop. The driver, a fat pig of a man, climbed down from the cab and glanced toward Vittore. Calm and collected, he walked to the back of the vehicle and opened the cargo doors. Reaching inside, he pulled out a militia issued flame thrower, strapped it onto his back, and turned to face Vittore. Sparking the igniter, he lit a small flame on the end of the weapon’s barrel. With a wink of his eye at Giovanni, he called out,

You're next!

Turning his attention to Vittore once again, he chuckled,

Let me introduce you to my cigarette lighter. I like to call it Zippo.

He aimed the barrel at Vittore and gave the trigger a squeeze. Flames spewed forth, filling the intersection with acrid smoke and a solitary scream. Vittore, covered in a ball of fire, flailed about while the sounds of agony fled from his lungs. The man continued to blast fire at Vittore until no signs of movement remained. The mob of bystanders grew in size as others arrived to watch the carnage play out.

One down, one to go!” the man sneered.

Drizzle begin to fall from the grey clouds above. Giovanni, consigned to a fiery end, wanted to lose himself in the droplets of moisture. The clouds, he wanted to cry out to them,

Bring down the rains!

Instead, his parched vocal chords croaked out only one word,


He wanted the storm to wash away the blood, to wash away the wrong doings of his tormenters, to wash away the oppression. Instead, the sound of a shotgun blast filled the air. Sharp sensations stung his body as Giovanni fell to his knees. The man with the flame thrower raised his barrel and pointed it towards the helpless Giovanni. With a click of the trigger, flames roared from the barrel and a column of fire enveloped him. In his final moment, Giovanni heard his executioner remark,

You hear those freaks? All they ever say is, ‘Brains!’ Stupid friggen zombies - learn more English!

Submitted: September 17, 2009

© Copyright 2021 Snobol4. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



that was a surprising twist in the end. hero turns out not. LOL it was kind of funny though at the start with the one-word exclamations until you find out why. ;)

Thu, September 17th, 2009 2:46pm


Heh heh heh, I'm glad the end surprised you! Sounds like I kept the twist hidden until the end giving an interesting surprise. Kewl! :)


Thu, September 17th, 2009 11:03pm

John Wyres Smith

This definitely has potential. I wasn't expecting Giovanni to be a zombie. I thought he was just a vitctim of mindless prejudiced wankers.

Keep writing.

Would you mind checking out my two short stories and let me know what you think?

Sat, September 19th, 2009 2:20pm


Hi John, it's good to hear the surprise factor worked for the story. Yep, I agree, the story has potential. I think the story needs a little TLC with the flow. When I read the story a day after I wrote it, I realized how choppy the sentences are. I'll revisit the story and try to provide a smoother reading experience for the reader. :) I'll be more than happy to stop by and check out your stories. Thanks for commenting.


Sat, September 19th, 2009 9:35am

yuu shindemura

great details here, Dale! you've written it well to be gory and alas, the ending or the final statement sends too much twist!!

excellent horror!;)

Wed, September 23rd, 2009 2:54am


Hi Gian, round and round my unique little tale goes, how it will end, nobody will know. :D This story definitely has potential. I think I can continue to polish the wording to add to the reader's enjoyment too. :)


Tue, September 22nd, 2009 10:29pm

Winnie Jean Howard

The surprise factor worked! Loved it! I got so wrapped up in the chase and violence, I never thought the chased would end up being the bad guys.

Wed, October 7th, 2009 1:46am


Excellent! Thanks for the compliment. I'm glad the twist to the story delivered the surprise as intended. :D


Tue, October 6th, 2009 7:39pm


I liked the style. Your short story is like a puzzle. From time to time, you provide the reader with a clue until the whole image is formed. At first, I felt sympathy and compassion towards Giovanni and his companions, but at the end I was shocked!
Keep it up :]

Mon, October 12th, 2009 9:56am


Cool! Thanks for the excellent comments. I'm pleased to hear the story had enough twists and turns to deliver an enjoyable read. :)


Mon, October 12th, 2009 10:00am


Awesome story... Although I don't really prefer the "zobbie" I did like your story... It had a really great twist to the end. And even though its a short story it seems to have a big enough cliff hanger to turn it into a great read!!!

Fri, November 6th, 2009 4:34am


Thanks! :) Yep, the twist at the end adds to the impact the story delivers.


Thu, November 5th, 2009 9:15pm

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