Thursday, March 13, 2014

Short story project: Unidentified Flying Object, part 2

I should have jumped the moment I’d realized I wasn’t alone, but I didn’t. I don’t know why I hesitated, surprise maybe? Instead, I twisted to see what was going on. The door that led up from the building was open, and a man was running across the roof at full tilt. He probably hadn’t seen me, as he appeared focused on crossing the tower, and then what was he going to do? Jump? Did he think he could fly? Anything was possible.
“Stop.” A second man shot from the door, as the first reached the building edge. The latter gave a momentary glance behind, but his pace didn’t alter.
The second man slowed as he reached inside his jacket, then came to a halt, poised in such a way that I had no doubt of what he’d reached for. A bullet to the shoulder had ended my short-lived superhero career. I’d been trying to help a young man—who’d been more than happy to accept my assistance—unfortunately, the three men after him weren’t so keen to see him get away. Fun wasn’t the word I’d use to describe the ensuing visit to the hospital. Trying to explain how I’d been shot without winding up in police custody had been a challenge, to put it mildly.
The sequence of events that followed probably took no more than twenty seconds or thirty seconds, but it felt much longer.
The first man, the prey, didn’t stop. He vaulted onto the ledge of the building, and without hesitation leapt off.
The second man, the hunter, fired his gun.
I screamed.
Then the second man advanced towards me, his hand raised, the gun pointed at me. “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
My attention was diverted by a series loud grunts and scratches. Looking across the space between the buildings I realized that the first man hadn’t successfully completed his jump. He was clinging to the ledge by his hands, trying to gain a purchase with his feet, and lever himself up to safety.
“I said, who are you?” I snapped my focus back to the man holding the gun. He was inching closer to me, the barrel pointed straight at my chest. He was too close to miss. “Why are you here?”
I should make up a story about being custodial staff, up here of for a smoke break. Basically, I should try to get out of the situation as fast as possible, while remaining alive. That’s what I should be doing, but my gaze drifted back to the other man, the one dangling over the building. His fingers must be getting tired.

“I pick up the garbage—” I said, preparing to launch into my lie, then the first man dropped, and before my brain had the chance to tell my body to stop, I dove off the Sears Tower.
To be continued...check back on Tuesday, March 18th for more of the story.

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