Misconceptions-Fasse

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
I won a short story competition with this piece of work.
Just something everyone forgets to notice, when we all should before it's too late. Don't let your misconceptions shape your perception of life.

Submitted: July 22, 2012

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Submitted: July 22, 2012

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He sits very still. The brim of the drab hat pulled up over his eyes, casting his face into shadow. His eyes are two penetrating black almonds darting to and fro and his thin lips form vowels that are incoherent, even to him. He wears a shabby overcoat, prepared for the bitter chill of changing seasons to seep through his clothing and into the hollows of his collarbones, caressing him into a dark slumber of winter. He sits on a blanket, which has been worn away by years of use, whether for shelter and warmth or something to wipe his mouth on as the distinctive sick stains suggest. A paper coffee cup is before him, but it is empty.

 

The people scurry by, lost in the flurry of departing only to arrive elsewhere. They do no not notice the man, and the ones that do look away in disgust fearing that maybe their fate lies in hunching in tube tunnels and begging for money. He watches the shoes scuttle past in the midst of rush hour. He picks his target, a woman with a visibly pregnant stomach on the outskirts of the crowd. She is young, a blank expression on her face. She stands in line to buy a ticket, one arm protectively placed on her designer handbag. He imagines her life, how it must feel to be harboring another soul, how from her affluent appearance she wouldn’t have to endure the labor of a raising a child. He plays this game, placing himself into people’s shoes and pretending he is a mindless rat lost in the tunnels of appearances, money, wealth, love. He has long ago come to terms with the conclusion that that is what living is, the scuttle of vermin.

 

A man is staring at me. He blends into the walls but I can feel his look penetrate through my skin, almost as if he knows me. I shudder and clutch my bag tighter. Does he see through the folds of fake crocodile skin? That inside my demure handbag lies the last thing my husband and his mistress will see? No, he could not know about the gun, he doesn’t know me. I shake my thoughts away and picture tonight’s events. I will take the elevator up, smile at the doorman, and pretend I don’t notice him shake his head in dismay. I will take the keys out from my coat pocket; my fingers won’t shake or fumble. I will walk into the flat my head held high. My feet will march into the bedroom where I know he is with her, their laughter will chill my blood into ice and as I turn the doorknob I will hear their sudden frantic panic, their fear becoming my fuel. It will only take two bullets, I used to watch my father do target practice so I know where the bullet will meet with his heart. For the woman it might be more difficult, she will probably evoke a scream and clutch the sheets-which I had bought for our flat close to her chest before being penetrated for the last time by my anger. I take the ticket from the booth, smiling to myself. The man is still staring at me, but I strut right past him, without a care in the world.

 

He watches the woman walk by noticing the soft smirk on her face. He picks his next target, a businessman with a black briefcase and a weary expression on his face. The man is checking his mobile phone with distress and he nearly chuckles to himself, imagining the luxury of being able to afford such a sleek device. He wonders if this man has ever known a life outside the parameters of dollar signs, he deducts that he hasn’t.

 

The clock reads two minutes before the train’s destined arrival. I put my phone back into my suit pocket. My mind is clear, there is no turning back from this final decision. I go through the metal gate, awaiting my fate. On the platform stands an attractive young woman a smile on her face. Maybe at some point in my life I would have hit on her, maybe not. I look at these people, they are familiar to me but at the same time complete strangers. I feel the wind stir with anticipation, the lights of an oncoming train around the bend flash in my face. I put down my briefcase calmly and take a step forward, teetering on the brink. There is a scream, a flash of white, and then nothing.

 

He chuckles to himself and gets up from the blanket as the sudden chaos ensues in the tube: “Well, that’s not something you see everyday in the London Underground.”


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