Fiction Fragment Friday
This weeks Fiction Fragment Friday was inspired by a nightmare. I had a dream where a group of 5 people were trying to kill me. No matter where I went or what I did they were always just one step behind me. I traveled across the entire country one stolen vehicle after another, but they would always find me. The dream played out very differently than the story I have written here.
Nothing particularly spectacular about this story and far from one I would point to as one of my best. It however is an examination of using nightmares as story inspiration.
I’m cornered again. This time it’s at an indoor flea market in Alabama. I was just browsing one of those knife booths when they came in the front door. This vicious circle has been going on for as long as I’m able to remember. No matter where I go these same five individuals always find me and try to kill me. The moment I let my guard down for a second they are there. Every single time. I have no idea how they keep finding me or why they want me dead. The whole situation is just so overwhelming that I sometimes think maybe I should just let them succeed. Something deep down inside won’t let me do that though. I can feel it screaming at me now to run.
I’ve been in far worse situations with these hunters than this. They have cornered me in motel rooms, gas station bathrooms, and on the highway. The flea market offers me lots of open directions I can run in. There are people everywhere and I know from past experience they need to get me alone before they make their move. The parking lot is filled with older cars that I can still hot-wire. Those new push button start cars don’t have an ignition lock cylinder for me to bypass. That bit of knowledge is just one of many that I have no idea how I know. I don’t even know what my own name is, but I can explain in intricate detail the mechanical workings of most devices.
They are covering both exits to the building. Feeling trapped and needing a little bit of time to think I slip into the bathroom. This is not an ideal strategy. There is only one exit in a bathroom so I am cornering myself even further. They won’t make an overt move in a crowd of people, but the bathroom is completely empty. It is a mistake and I know it, but I’m getting desperate. Looking up I see there is a drop ceiling and I smile. This gives me options. If the walls do not continue all the way to the roof I can crawl out. If they do I can hide and get the drop on my pursuers. I lift the ceiling tile up and see that the walls do continue all the way up. There is barely enough space for me, but I do manage to squeeze in. On TV you always see people crawling around, but that is just not realistic. The tile could not support my weight so to stay up here I need to hold onto the metal I-beam. If I leave the drop ceiling tile cracked to see them it will give away my position so I close it and then pull myself over towards the door.
“We know you’re in here.” I hear a voice say directly below me. I listen as they search the stalls. I could jump down now and head through the door, but I wait. It is my second mistake. Someone uses a plunger to push the tile below me up into my back. It doesn’t hurt, but it does startle me and I lose my grip falling through the ceiling to the floor. My back slams into the floor and pain shoots through me. It was loud so I hold a little bit of hope that someone may come to check on me. In the meantime, there are four men standing over me and one has drawn his Glock 19 Gen 5. Remember what I said about having random bits of knowledge? Apparently recognizing firearms is another skill I possess.
I’m only going to have one shot at this, no pun intended. With my hands raised I slowly get to my feet staring at the gun. My arm shoots out with lightning speed grabbing the mans wrist and pushing the gun away from me. The gun goes off right next to my ear and all I can hear is a ringing sound. My body feels like it is moving on it’s own as I fight these men. Punches, kicks, and pressure point jabs hit with unexpected precision. They are good themselves, but I seem to have caught them off guard.
As soon as the opportunity presents itself, I rush through the bathroom door back out into the crowded hall. Security guards are walking my way. I think about stopping and asking for help, but I have this overwhelming urge to just get away. The front door isn’t too far away so I make a break for it. Running full speed, I hop over one of the tables to get into the next aisle. The door is right there in front of me and I explode through it. The bright light of the sun hits me and I find myself blinded for a moment.
Three men jump out of a waiting van at the worst possible time for me. I can barely hear and I can’t really see. There is a sharp jab of pain in my chest and my whole body starts convulsing. They are stunning me and I can’t quite stay on my feet. Strong arms pull my wrists behind my back and slap handcuffs on me. Everything is coming back into focus now, but it is too late. I am restrained and being dragged into the van. It is moving before the sliding door is even closed.
“Even better than last time. It should only take a couple more tries and he will be ready. His tracker is still reporting so go ahead and wipe his memory. Let’s leave him at the Zoo this time.” I feel the needle jab into my arm and everything fades to black.