Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: The Secret Door

Flash Fiction Challenge: The Secret Door

I'd been running for what seemed like hours. The stitch in my side burned. The spasms pulled me into a hunched misery, and the sweat ant tears in my eyes had blurred my vision to near blindness. The back streets of London were a maze, and I had no idea where I was. I knew I wasn't going any farther without falling. For the first time I couldn't hear the rapid, heavy footfalls behind me, so I stumbled to a stop, knowing it wouldn't, but hoping a moments respite would give me the strength to run again.

I half leaned and half fell against the wall behind me. The wall shifted. Too late I realized it was a door not a wall. I managed not to fall, but my bumbling gait caused the few people inside to look up in surprise. You could see their revulsion pass across their faces at what they perceived to be one more drunk. I confirmed their suspicions by the conscious effort I made to straighten my tortured body as I walked deeper into what seemed to be and Indian restaurant. Wiping my eyes on my already damp shirt sleeve, I walked deeper into the building hoping not to draw the notice of the people in the next room. As I walked I took in my surroundings. I saw the family pictures on the wall, the displays of drinks and food, and the cracked linoleum. Typical decor for this part of London.

The room I entered was small with just a few tables and one diner. If I could order something to drink and rest for a moment, maybe I'd have the strength for one more run. There was no way I could eat. The overwhelming smell of spices nauseated me. The room mirrored my struggle. Also seeming to be on it's last legs, making one last try to survive. For the first time I looked looked at the lone man seated to my right. He was slumped against the wall behind him. At first I thought the flies were after the congealed food on his plate, and then I saw the blood. His chest was ruined. Oh so slowly I raised my eyes to his face. I knew this man, this dead man. That he was here, that he was dead, was impossible. If Chad hadn't made it, what hope was there for me?

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