Get Out of the Car With Your Hands Up

You’re driving to your favorite city when you’re stopped by a police officer. Sure, you were going a few miles over the speed limit, so you’re not overly surprised. But you are surprised when the police officer gets to your car and screams, “Get out of your car with your hands up!” This leads to a unexpected night for you. Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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165 thoughts on “Get Out of the Car With Your Hands Up

  1. zamaxia

    I was driving my pride and joy, my only daughter, Alexis to our favorite city and now what was going to be her college dorm. It was about a 38 hour drive from the apartment, but nothing is better than seeing my only baby get settled in her dream school! We were reminiscing about old times and laughing, even singing a bit while on our road trip when I seen those red and blue lights flashing in my rear view mirror. I thought to myself “really I couldn’t have been going more than 10 miles over the speed limit, but I wanted to set an example for Lexi so I pulled over on the side of the road.
    A seemingly young and handsome officer got out of the cruiser and radioed something I couldn’t hear. He then cautiously preceded to my car. I remember thinking “why is he being so cautious when I was just speeding a little”. I seen him draw a huge breath and when I glanced over to Lexi she wasn’t in the car. I had only taken my mind off her for one second. Then out of no where I hear in a booming voice “get out of the car with your hands up!”.
    I was scared to say the least but I once again did the right thing and slowly got out and slowly raised my hands up. All I could think about was Lexi, I know with all that was going on it was dumb but I couldn’t think of where my baby girls could be. The cop had apparently radioed for back up which was weird. I was told to lay on my stomach with my hands behind my back while they searched my car.
    I thought once they find Lexi she can explain our way out of this random mess but when they found her I was in an even bigger one. Lexi was dead in the back seat and had been for days. I am in a mental hospital now and still dont believe my story but I get told that my little girl is gone and I just keep wondering why she hasn’t came to visit me.

  2. WhySoSorius

    I was driving down the street to my house, when I heard a police siren go off behind me. Though, I shouldn’t have been surprised as I had been driving 5-10 mph over the speed limit. I pulled my car over expecting to get a few points added to my license, but it was so much worse. Instead of seeing an officer with a smug grin on their face because they caught a speeder. What I got was the sound of a man yelling “Get out of the car slowly with your hands up!”
    I was honestly terrified, I had no idea what was going on so I just complied and hoped to comvince them that I wasn’t the man they were looking for. I was so shaken up that my legs felt like they were about to fall out under me. The man spoke in a very tense tone “You are under arrest for the murder of Mr. and Mrs. Briggs. You have the write to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. You have th-”
    I had stopped listening at that point, shocked that my best friends since I moved into this neighborhood. The man escorted me to the cruiser after he had handcuffed me. “There must be some mistake, I didn’t kill anybody!”
    Before he slammed the door shut, he said with a demonic smile “Oh, we know.”

  3. qwert

    End of the month. Police officers often catch you in this small part of town. They need the extra change for their families. They’ve been deprived of honour, dignity, respect, but most importantly, money. But it’s really all their fault. They decide to work and live that way. Rumours have been out for years that most of them don’t even pass their sophomore year. Bribe the government itself to get their jobs and then blame the people for their poor situation.

    We don’t say much though. We’ve gotten used to it. Or don’t really have the need to associate with the kind of people who have no humane morals.

    When red and blue lights glint off the shafts of low angled sunlight behind us, Alka and I meet gazes and we can’t help a smile. We’ve had practice; we’ll be able to bring the rate down with small talk.

    Alka rolls down the window and an old woman, who looks ages after retirement stands with the kind of scowl that is lost in the density of her wrinkles. Maybe this will be double the fun.

    I slide a note into Alka’s outstretched hand behind her. She pulls it up and waves it out with her elbow resting on the half open window. I say out of habit, “You take this and we —”

    I don’t have time to finish my sentence. The woman slips the note from out Alka’s hand, deftly slides it in her pocket and shouts, “Get out of the car with your hands up.”

    What she says is more shocking than the unnecessary loss of my money.

    Alka seems confused as well. I squint my eyes to read the aged pupils of the woman. I’m no expert in the field of people. Quite contradictory, extremely changeable, and never to be trusted. I’ve stopped trying to understand and as far as is possible distanced myself from these fleeting mannerisms. Practicality is what I believe in. Leaving this earth with an impact more lasting than a splash and stronger than a ripple. So I find it works best to skip through all the intermediate stuff; go straight with work.

    The police woman slides her thumbs into her pockets letting the rest of her fingers dangle and tilts her head behind her urgently. “Out.”

    Questions spread through my consciousness but the electrochemical signals cannot take the guise of comprehensible words.

    When the woman says “Out” again, the command is tinged with fear and even I can read that. Maybe that’s a good sign.

    Alka and I open the doors simultaneously. I stretch my leg out the door to reach past the mud that oddly had not dried and work my way around the car to reach the woman and Alka.
    She turns to Alka and says, “Blow a little for me.”

    Alka’s laugh caresses the police woman’s grounding stare but cannot affect it. “Drunk in the afternoon. You’ve got to be kidding me.”

    “Circumstances call for it. It is my duty to act according to the circumstances. And—” She raises her hand in my direction to stop my opening mouth. “No, I am not obliged to tell you these circumstances.”

    I wasn’t about to ask that anyway.

    She asks us to follow her. As I do, all I can think is that I’ve given them everything. They’ve heard our voices. We’ve given them our fingerprints on the note. Our car has probably been left open and can be tampered; we’d be caught if we tried to get away on it. So it wouldn’t matter if we ran. They have everything already.

    We’re told stories of officers that actually cared, who made a difference without any wrong intentions. Our officers only make a difference in their income at the cost of our welfare.

    My finger brushes, Alka’s swinging hand. She’s probably had the thought before me.

    It wouldn’t matter if we ran. They have and can get everything.

    My heel turns a second after Alka’s does.

    Everything except us.

  4. Beebles

    I was going for an effect, so comments welcome good or bad.
    —————————-

    ‘Get out of the car with your hands up!’

    That’s what she wanted to hear.

    The blues flashed like neon, turning the secluded lane into a crime scene. It made her feel guilty; made her feel cheap. The sensation ran through her like a taser. Jackie watched in the rear view as the officer got out of his vehicle and squeezed on his cap.

    ‘Never marry a copper.’ It had been Jackie’s mantra for the past seven years, ever since Richard joined the force. He looked good in his uniform, they all did, all that starch, polish and power. Who knew the shift work would take such a toll. She’d just about squeezed two kids out of him before he couldn’t keep his eyes open anymore. When he made CID, the uniform went in the closet. It just hung there, like he did, leaving her to look after the kids and a revving libido.

    She killed the engine and Bonnie Tyler’s pharyngitis. She was left with the crunching of those big boots on the dirt of the layby, the glare of the high-vis, the smell of pine air freshener and the thumping of her heart. She checked her hair in the reflected headlights and tugged the neck line down on the dress, nothing expensive; she didn’t expect it to last the night. She rubbed the sweat from her hands on her stockings.

    She was breathing hard. They had been planning this for weeks and she’d fantasised about it for months, since Chris had started coming round when Richard was at work. She’d met Chris Staffer at the station Christmas party in ’15 when Richard was still in uniform. Police officers could be prats when they were drunk, there was a bully boy mentality that went with the job, it was part of the attraction, but there was this one officer at the do, Nigel Tilsley who was just plain creepy. He cornered her and tried to impress her with stories of suicides he’d attended. At one point she felt his hand on her leg under the table, then Chris had saved her – Richard having passed out already on a night club sofa. Chris made her laugh, he had swagger and, more to the point, he was awake.

    ‘Richard’s got a lead in Berlin. He’s going to be away for three nights. I’ll get rid of the kids at my mother’s,’ she told him, kissing Chris’s lips between each phrase. ‘I’ll text you when I set off. Make sure it feels real.’ She smiled. ‘I want the full force of the law.’

    She lowered the window and put on her best Betty Boop. As she looked out onto nothing but the dark trees, the passenger side door opened and her Honda Civic adjusted for the extra weight. Startled, she looked across at the man sitting beside her.

    ‘What the fu…?’

    ‘PC Staffer’s been called away. He asked me to deputise.’ PC Tilsley’s smile felt like a razor blade over Jackie’s skin.

    She screamed and tried to open the door, but Nigel’s big hand clamped around her mouth.

    ‘You do not have to say anything …’

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Wow, you succeeded in your goal. This is powerful and frightening. You also made me feel sorry for Richard and Jackie, and more than a little sad. Excellent work.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Well, you did it, especially since you put me in the back seat of the car. But you know the ancient saying, “You play, you pay” I’ve been around long enoughto know whoever birthed that line, knew what he talked about. Good job Beebles.

        1. Beebles

          Thanks Kerry. I was married to a wpc for a while. then to an archaeologist, then an agricultural liaison officer, then a company director, then a care assistant… I have my eye on this really cute trainee Geography teacher – she’s about my age. 🙂

  5. dustymayjane

    The Corvette swerved on loose gravel as it rounded the outside edge of one of the many tight curves on High Cliff Road. Marcus expertly pulled the speeding car out of the swerve and back on the blacktop. He nervously glanced in the rearview mirror as flashing blue lights came closer. He braked to maneuver safely around the next curve but quickly shifted gears and pressed on the gas pedal to reach top speed once again. 

    “Marcus, slow down! I’d like to be in one piece when we make Reno.” Liv gripped her purse tightly on her lap. Her feet pressed imaginary brake pedals on the passenger side floorboards. “Oh no! The police car has its lights on.” Liv turned in her seat to peer out the back window. “I can’t believe we’re being pulled over tonight of all nights. My mother warned me you were trouble.” 

    Marcus worked his eyebrows up and down and glanced sideways at Liv. “You like trouble don’t you babe? Isn’t that what turns you on?” His throaty chuckle made Liv smile shyly. 

    “Oh Marcus.” Liv admitted to herself that she would have had him right there in the front seat of the sports car if they weren’t going ninety miles per hour on the narrow cliff road. Exhilarated by her man and the racing speeds, Liv closed her eyes tight and waited for whatever lay ahead. Would the car spin out of control and veer off the road and down the cliff to the ocean below or would they finally come to a gentle stop in front of the Little White Chapel.  

    Marcus shouted “YEE HAAW!”  as he shifted gears and dropped the clutch. Pressing his luck and driving prowess to the max, the car swayed right to the outside edge and left to the inside lane. It gave Marcus an adrenaline high never reached on flat land roads. A blaring siren could be heard intermittently at each new bend in the road. 

    Liv opened one eye to peek at Marcus. When she saw the sadistic glee on his face she thought she may as well kiss her a** goodbye. He was in it to the end, whatever end that may be.  
    Suddenly, lights and horns from an oncoming semi-truck caused Marcus to crank the wheels sharply right. There was a moment of weightlessness. Liv heard screaming and realized it was her own as the car crash landed in trees fifty feet down the embankment. 

    Liv opened her eyes to a red haze and a command to get out of the car with her hands in the air. The side door was pulled open and a large uniformed man stood with his gun drawn. Another officer was cuffing a bloodied Marcus against the driver’s side of the car. As Liv was pressed against the car in her own cuffs, the two look at each other through bleary eyes. 

    “I’m sorry babe. I guess this isn’t what you had in mind for our wedding night.” Marcus said humbly. 
    Liv managed a small smile. “It’ll be a great story for our grandchildren.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I liked the action of the story and the just ending. The moral of this story hits home ……… Never mind the stories to tell the grandchildren, Marcus will never make it there. Nice writing Dusty.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      I’ve been thinking about this story, dusty. Good writing and very good job with Marcus and Liv, maybe too good, because I think Liv’s mother was right, Marcus is trouble, and I fear she’s going to suffer for it. See, you made them so real that I care about Liv!

  6. A.S.P.

    Two miles out from Royce’s office and my grip on the steering wheel is slick with sweat. Mouth’s dry. My gaze slides from the road to the half empty pack of cigarettes on the passenger seat. One last smoke…

    A sudden burst of red and blue lights in the rear view jerks my attention away from my fix and kicks my irritation up a notch. Hate cops. What was I doing? Speeding? Done a lot worse than that.

    But that was the old Jonah. That guy would’ve floored it, ditching these blues around the corner.

    The “good” man I am now pulls over and waits. Like a sap. My restless hands start to twitch. Legs bounce. F*ck this. I grab a smoke, but just as I’m about to light up, their loud speaker blares.

    “Get out of the car with your hands up. Now!”

    “The hell?” I twist around to view them fully. Both blues are out of the car. Guns drawn and aimed. At me.

    You’ve gotta be f*cking kidding me.

    Regretting not ditching them when I had the chance, I comply. Get out. Fingers lace behind my head. Eyes on the door.

    “Turn around and face the car!”

    Already doing that, assh*le.

    “Jonah Morgan?” The one approaching me from behind asks.

    “Yeah, that’s him.” Says the one coming up from the passenger side. “Recognize his ugly face from the news.”

    “Some reason you’re harassing me?” I say.

    Ignoring me, the one at my back starts patting me down while listing my transgressions. “Grand theft auto. Trespassing. Assault. Battery.”

    “Arson.” Adds the other, glancing in through the window to eye the pack of smokes. Glaring up at me he says, “Looking to add insurance fraud to your record?”

    Shock rips through my veins. “You think I started that f–”

    “Where’re you going in such a hurry?”

    To confront the actual criminal. Can’t say that, so I lie. “Home.”

    “Good.” The cop’s face hardens. “We’ll just make sure you get there safe and sound.”

    Cold metal cinches around my wrists. Shoulders wrenched back as I’m shoved into the back of the police car.

    “Rehabilitated my ass.” One of them mutters.

    F*cking hate cops. But I don’t bother fighting them. Don’t need to add failure to cooperate to my record.

    The entire ride, I’m cursing in my head. Fighting back rage at the set back. Until we pull up, not to my house, but to the youth center. Black smoke still pluming. Ash fluttering down like dirty snow. Fire fighters still working to extinguish the smelting ruin.

    Reporters made it to the scene. They attack like starving paranas as I’m dragged out of the car with my hands cuffed, crowding me, snapping photos, shouting questions.

    Don’t give a sh*t about them. All I care about is Sylver, standing between the fire Marshall and a reporter. Sadness and disappointment transparent in his clear blue gaze.

    The boiling anger inside me vanishes. Replaced by cold shame. Should’ve ditched these cops when I had the f*cking chance.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I’m with Reatha on “What’s next?’ Guess we’ll have to write our own back stort and ending. I like to leave the reader on his own also, makes them think. Good work on the MC’s thoughts.

    1. jhowe

      What a great ride. You push all the right buttons to create a compelling story. I’m thinking Sylver has something to do with the fire, or maybe Royce, but it isn’t clear. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it leaves us wanting to know.

  7. Smileyface256

    I glance at the passing mile marker on the highway; 16 miles until I reach La Pine, Oregon, the perfect place to disappear. After that smuggling mess on the coast, I need a little solitude in the woods for awhile, where dense pine trees keep a lot of things hidden from prying eyes.

    Suddenly I see flashing red and blue lights in my rear view mirror. Crap. I glance at my speedometer; ten over, just enough to attract attention. I should really be more careful with these darned Oregon speed limits. I signal to pull over; trying to outrun a Dodge Charger in a 20-year-old minivan is a bad idea. Besides, the registration on my vehicle should be up to date and I took extensive measures to make sure that my forged identity is adequately convincing. I keep my hands on the wheel like a good, upstanding citizen. Whatever this is, I can talk my way out of it.

    The cop saunters up to my window. The second he lays eyes on me, his expression darkens and he pulls his gun. “Get out of your car with your hands up!”

    Okay, talking my way out of it might be less of an option. I play the part of terrified civilian and obey with slow, careful movements. I have a few tricks up my sleeve if things get ugly. “I-I swear, officer, I–”

    “Shut your mouth! I know who you are!”

    I hear the rattle of handcuffs. This is going downhill fast. “Wh-what did I do?”

    “Drop the act, kid. We saw your face on the security footage last night.”

    Wait…kid?

    “Releasing animals from the wildlife refuge into the school was a cruel prank; you’re old enough to know better.”

    I resist the urge to roll my eyes; freaking 27 and I’m still being mistaken for a high schooler. “Sir, I believe you need to see my license and registration to verify my age.”

    “Nice try; we’ll sort things out once we get to the station.”

    Resisting arrest at this point would do more harm than good; I allow the cop to cuff me and lead me to his car.

    One car ride and awkward phone conversation with “my parents” later, the cops finally let me go. The sheriff had the good graces to look ashamed. “We’re terribly sorry, sir. It’s just that you look so much like a high schooler–”

    “Yeah, I get it, I’m short and I have baby face. Can I go now?”

    He hands me the keys to my impounded car. “Of course! All charges are dropped and off the record.”

    “Good.” I snatch my keys, trying my hardest to still look like a disgruntled law-abiding citizen and march out the door. I wait until I’m out on the highway to have a good laugh. Those cops have no idea what kind of arrest they just missed out on. I love small towns.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          What amused me the most was his baby face, he should be happy to be carded at 27. Take what you can get and be happy with it. You draw an interesting question for the reader……. What is it that wakes the beast in most of us? Someone has a bigger banana?
          See you got me thinking this morning….. good job..

  8. RafTriesToWrite

    “They won’t know what hit’em right Johnny?” Craig laughed maliciously as he drove fast, away from them, away from it all. He’s being overly confident again, which is a bad sign.

    I just stared at Craig blankly then turned my attention back to the road, at this point I’m just hoping that he doesn’t do anything stupid. I know what we did, more importantly I know exactly what I did, he thinks it’s all just a game, sure it’s all fun and games, until someone gets hurt.

    That’s when the game stops.

    “Oh shoot!” Craig murmured under his breath as we both heard the dreaded sirens ringing from ear to ear.

    “Go faster!” I shout at him as I looked at the back of the car. One cop was tailing us! I feel like my heart is going to explode from this all too familiar car chase that I watch in the movies. These don’t turn out well for people like us.

    “I already am!” Craig bit back. I felt my body being pulled unto my seat as he stepped on the gas way too harshly, I fear the car might not survive this chase, or worse, we might not even make it before supper time.

    “Stop your car right now or we will open fire!” The cop said using the bullhorn that was attached near his flashing lights.

    Then it dawned on me, why only one? Why was he alone when he said we? Unless…

    “Turn back” I said to the wind, my mind searching for solutions. How can we get out of here alive?

    “What? Don’t go cray cray on me little brother, not now” Even at times like this he still finds a way to use that outdated slang. They’re probably waiting for us at the end of the bridge, they know our route. How can I be so naive to even think of using the borderline of mexico to escape?

    “We have to turn back, they’re waiting for us at the end of the bridge!” My voice full of worry, I searched Craig’s eyes for approval and at the same time hoping he still won’t do anything stupid.

    After a few moments his eyebrows crossed and he let out a long sigh of defeat. He started drifting along the dirt, which can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. I felt my body being carried by gravity as I held on for my dear life.

    I didn’t even see it, I presume Craig didn’t either. My side of the car hit a big rock as he drifted, stopping the car on our tracks, I hear ringing on my right ear, my right elbow hurts and I see blood dripping onto my light blue shirt.

    “You alright Johnny?” Craig asked as he caressed his head with his eyes squinted. Lucky for him the rock was on my side of the car.

    I hissed from the pain. “I’ll be fine, just go”

    Just as he tried to start the engine, the police car blocked our path, he opened his door and knelt behind it for shield as he pointed his 9 millimeter glock at my brother.

    “Get out of the car with your hands up, slowly” He used again the bullhorn from earlier in our chase.

    “What do we do now Johnny?” His breath hitched, eyes filled with fear, I can tell he’s about to do something stupid like run away from a gun point.

    “Just do what he says” I said calmly. I don’t even know how to do what the cop told us ’cause if he hasn’t noticed, there’s a huge rock blocking my door.

    “Are you sure you-”

    “Just do what he says!” I spat at him, louder, trying miserably to keep him from doing something that might get him killed.

    Craig stopped for a moment before he unlocked his door and got out of the car slowly.

    “Now put your hands behind your back and lay down on the ground” The cop said, not using the bullhorn this time. He stood up and walked slowly to my brother with a gun still pointed at him.

    “Stay on the ground sir” The cop insisted. He pulled out his cuffs as he got close enough to my brother.

    Suddenly a mysterious figure of a woman walked by carrying a basket of clothes, looking at our scene, I wonder what’s going through her head right this very moment?

    “Come on boys, clean this up now and get ready for school, your dad’s gonna be downstairs any minute”

    “Yes mom” Craig and I said in chorus as we both rolled our eyes behind her and giggled.

    “I’m guessing she doesn’t suspect anything” Craig crept a smile.

    “She doesn’t even count the cookies in the cookie jar, so yes, she doesn’t suspect anything”. I chuckled at Craig. We picked up our toys and waited patiently for dad.

    1. RafTriesToWrite

      Sorry for my bad use of English and/or grammar. English wasn’t my first language to be honest, but yeah, I hope at least one person likes this. I was just reading prompts here a few months ago, and it was only like two weeks ago that I decided to make an account and actually post what I’ve written. I want to learn from you guys on how I can improve on my writing because quite frankly, I think my writing is very below average. Compared to what I’ve read so far in this prompt and the others, it really amazes my mind to actually read such colorful and well written stories, so I’m hoping to be nearly as good as you guys, and with that, any kind of criticism will be gladly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Really cute story that had me going at first, but by the end I was thinking of how my sons played as children. Keep reading and keep writing. I think this is a great site that has challenged me to write something nearly every week for two plus years.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Listen to what Reatha tells you. I guess I’m the grandfather on the site, I’ve been writing here for four going on five years. You’ll never get tired of throwing your stories to the other readers. This one touched me more than you might think. So many years ago, too many to count, my older brother and I played war games, real ones, we thought. I threw grenades to kill the enemy and Bill used his bayonet to stab the bad guys who managed to get too close. Brought back a lot on fun memories to me and I thank you for that. Keep writing and reading, you’ll see your skills rise eack week.

        1. RafTriesToWrite

          You’re very welcome Kerry, I never thought my story could have this kind of impact on a person, let alone a great writer/author. Thank you as well for taking the time to read it, and yes, I’ll keep reading and writing. I’ll keep that in mind.

      2. RafTriesToWrite

        Oh yeah, it does seem like there were three sons playing. Although, in my head the cop was their favorite teddy bear, so there really is just two sons playing, looks like I forgot that important input. Thanks for pointing it out Reatha, really appreciate it!
        I’ll keep that in mind the next time. 🙂

    3. Beebles

      Always blown away by people who can write fiction in another language. You clearly have a sense of story. Beyond what Reatha said i would say think character. Good characters drive good stories. I am so guilty of not following my own advice!

    4. jhowe

      The kids playing cops and robbers was a refreshing way to end your story. You did a good job of concealing the reveal until the right moment. I was wondering what the heck these guys did to deserve the police scene and then the kid’s role was revealed. As a newbie and an English-as-second- language writer, you did a nice job.

  9. UnclePizza

    Been a while, feels a bit rusty, but I gotta get back in the saddle again, so here goes:

    We drive in silence through the night, holding hands on the console. It had been a long drive and we were both tired, but we’d be at the resort in less than an hour. I was looking forward to it – it was my favorite place to relax.

    I’d glance over at my new bride every now and then as the miles slipped past. We’d only met last week and now we were married. Who would have believed it? Not me, that’s for sure! After all those years wed to my job, building a company up from nothing, no time for dating… Sure, I was worth millions many times over, but I learned that what they say is true: money can’t buy love.

    Or can it? I’m completely honest with myself I’d have to admit that she wouldn’t have been so interested if it hadn’t been for my wealth. Sure, most women I’d met were like that, and it was obvious. With her, at least there was a spark, or something more, hunger? I could never quite put my finger on it but I could see it in her eye when she looked at me, and it was a turn on!

    Our quiet ride was suddenly interrupted by the sight of lights flashing in my mirrors. Groan! So close – only another mile! Oh well, let’s get this over with I think as I pull to the side of the road. My new bride looks nervous as the officer approaches, clutching her purse to her chest. “Don’t worry,” I say as I roll the window down. “It’s only a …”

    Suddenly we’re surrounded by what must be a dozen SWAT officers, shining lights, pointing guns, and shouting “Hands up and get out of the car!”

    I open the door to comply and suddenly find myself being dragged quickly away by some the SWAT team. They hustle me into the back of an ambulance (where did that come from?), lay me on a gurney, and a team of medics immediately start an IV.

    I start to protest, but am confused when the medics keep asking “Are you OK, sir? How are you feeling? Any shortness of breath, sir? Tingling sensations?”

    “Listen!” I finally blurt out, “You can’t do this to me, you don’t even…”

    “Sorry, sir,” the medics interrupts. “We know who…”

    Just then one of the officers approaches carrying my wife’s purse. He’s holding two vials in his hand, and passes them to the medic. One is full of a clear liquid, and one is empty. When the medic sees the empty vial he quickly gives an order to start the drip.

    “You’re one lucky man, sir,” the medic tells me as the IV bag starts dripping into my arm.

    “What do you mean?” I ask, confused more than ever now.

    The SWAT officer speaks up, “That woman? Your new wife? We know her as the Black Widow. She’s had four husbands before you, all wealthy, all married within a week of meeting her, and all dead of heart attacks on their wedding night. We could never pin anything on her, but we’d been watching for her to make her next move. We lost her for a few months, but then got a lead yesterday and tracked her down tonight. She’s poisoned you sir, and you would have been dead in two more hours if we hadn’t started giving you the antidote.”

    Lucky? I guess I was expecting a different sort of luck this evening.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      UP, welcome back! I would almost put this piece in the “fun” category, because you MC was ripe for something like this, and totally clueless! I suspect he will pay for her defense, or fall victim to another “Black Widow”. Again, great to have you back with this story.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Welcome back Uncle. You make one thing clear……. If it’s too good to me true, it usually is. Look at it this way, a week’s worth of fun and games and he’s still alive. Better than being tied to a desk chair. Good story and kept me on the edge of the seat till the end.

    2. Beebles

      Yeah, I think that last line sums it up. If he had been at death’s door it might have been different, but with no symptoms all he’s missed out on is the good stuff. I’d be gutted. welcome back.

  10. E.C

    His eyes flickered to the rear-view mirror. She was still sitting there, diddling on her phone, a perfect gum-bubble lolling out of her mouth.

    “Watch the road.” Her terse comment caused him to swallow hard.
    “So where are you from?” He asked as her eyes wandered out the window in an attempt to quell her car sickness.
    “Nunnya.”
    “Where the hell is that?” She snorted,
    “Nunnya business.” He clicked his tongue.
    “Real funny, I think my daughter woulda liked you.”

    The girl raised an eyebrow but said nothing.
    “How old are you anyway?” His question didn’t seem to throw her off. She could not be deterred, this the man learned the hard way.
    “15.” She spat without hesitation. The man smirked. “What’s so amusing about that?”
    “I ran away too when I was 15. And a cop picked me up, just like I scooped you out of that junkie house.” She crossed her arms.
    “Yeah well I bet you went home safe and dandy. I would hardly call my house safe.” The man chuckled, something dark and hoarse escaped his throat.
    “I killed him.”

    Her stomach lurched. “Who?” She asked staring nervously at the police officer.
    “My dad.” He admit effortlessly.
    “Why?”
    “He didn’t make my house very safe either.” This times, the girl swallowed hard in an attempt to rid herself of the lump in her throat. blue and red lights pulsed behind them, lighting up the man’s face. The man gently pulled over to the side of the road.

    “What can I do for you-”
    “GET OUT OF THE CAR NOW!” The man rolled his eyes and licked his dry lips.
    “Arresting a fellow officer?”

    “You aren’t an officer.”
    “Yes I am.” Another officer peered into the car. A mortified look overcame her tired face.
    “Carson, you need to take a look at this.” The female officer said as the male officer cuffed the man. A sudden look of dread overcame the man.
    “No, don’t touch her! She’s a troubled girl.” The man spouted about the girl in the backseat of his car. “She’s only 15-years-old! Please. I was going to take her in, she’s going to meet my daughter. I think my daughter would like her.” The male officer ushered the man into the police car.
    “What is it Nyla?” The officer said, ignoring the man in the car. The woman named Nyla opened the car door. A rotting corpse slumped to the side, maggots spewed onto the floor. Carson backed away, his palms clammy.

    “Call for back up.” Carson ordered as the bitter taste of bile bubbled in the back of his throat.
    “She’s a troubled girl. I think my daughter would like her.” Tears rolled down the man’s face. “My daughter.”

  11. Lex Noël

    “What?” I shout through my closed door window. He can’t be serious. I was going five, seven miles tops, over the speed limit.

    “Get out of your car with your hands in the air, NOW,” the cop yells so aggressively his thick face and neck are turning purple.

    I turn off the car and unbuckle my seatbelt, keeping my gaze on the cop. It’s nine at night for goodness sake, and we’re in the middle of nowhere. Not to mention he hasn’t shown me a badge. And he’s alone.

    “I’m sorry,” I yell through the locked door, “but you haven’t shown me any identification. Until you do, I’m not moving.” I’ve heard one too many stories of wack-jobs using old cop cars as a ploy to rape women driving by themselves. This spot couldn’t be more ideal, fifty five miles deep in Texas hill country.

    “Excuse me?” The purple cop looks like I’ve smacked in the face with a cast iron skillet.”Ma’am, I’ve told you twice and I ain’t gonna say it again. Get out of the car with your hands up, now.” The gun in his hands, which he has kept aimed at the ground, is now pointed at me.

    “Alright,” I take my hands off of the steering wheel and grab the mace keychain on my keys. If I make it out of this alive I owe my dad a big apology for all the whining I did when he forced me to take those self-defense classes. I unlock the door and step out of the car with my hands up.

    “Go get in my car and lock the doors,” the cop whispers. His voice has changed. “Please, ma’am.” Goosebumps spread over my arms despite the raging humidity. I drop my arms to my sides and slowly walk back towards the cop car. It’s only a couple yards away but it feels like a mile. The cicadas chirp and a warm breeze blows, completely oblivious to the crazy situation. Finally I place my fingers on the door handle when,

    BAM! BAM! BAM!

    I drop to my knees with my hand still on the door handle. A red and yellow glow from the cop car illuminates the road. The cop is flat on his back, dark red blood pouring from his neck and onto the asphalt. I yank the door open and jump inside the car. I lock the doors and hop into the drivers seat. I see the walkie-talkie clipped to the sun visor and grab it.

    “Hello? Hello?” I whisper into the mic. “My name is Maggie Holmes, and a cop has just been shot. I’m on Old Fairvale Road fifty-five miles west of Austin.” No answer.

    Where the hell did that shot come from? There’s no way someone was in the car with me. The only place I’ve stopped was at that sorry excuse for a gas station about ten miles back and I always lock…..

    Oh my god.

    The back door of my Denali GMC opens and an enormous hooded man steps out. He pulls his hood down and my blood runs cold. It’s Mark.

    “You wouldn’t move to your favorite city without your favorite man,” Mark laughs as he yells at me. “Now be a good girl, Maggie, and get out of the car. You never know what kind of crazies might be out this time of night.”

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Oh, my, that twist at the end. I think I know why she took the self defense classes and why she was driving in the night. I fear for her future with Mark.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        What future? She’ll be lucky to see daylight. Wow, what a story, makes me look around the house, because it’s stiill kinda dark outside. Great twist.

  12. Kerry Charlton

    A SHOOT OUT

    CONCLUSION

    PART ONE AND TWO BELOW

    John was used to hard drinking but Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp set a fierce pace. Around midnight Billy and Virgie Earp entered the saloon quietly, They looked like they had been through a processing plant from a fight with Billy Clanton and Tom McLaury.
    Wyatt went in a rage and headed to the door, John stepped in front of him,

    “That’s what they want you to do, play it smart, wait ’till tomorrow and make it in
    our favor.”

    At first Wyatt pushed him aside but then hesitated,

    “You‘re right, I lost it for a minute. We‘ll get them when they least expect it, tomorrow.”

    Drinking went on ‘till about three, Doc and Laura Den bow , climbed the curving stairs, Wyatt and his two brothers continued to drink and John settled on a settee for a little shuteye. Right before dawn the Earp Brothers had left, John was still asleep as Laura descended the stairs, awakened John and took him to a spare room on the first floor,

    He stopped at the bedroom door,

    “Jennifer, I know this is you, isn‘t it?”

    “I got the hots for you sonny, do you want me or not?”

    ‘I know I’m gonna die tomorrow and should leave now,’ John thought. ‘But I’m sure history would be changed if I didn’t help Doc and Wyatt.’

    “Of course I want you Laura, it was love at first sight.”

    “Now don’t get your hopes up sonny, it’s just a one night stand. I know not what love is anyway.”

    As a mid day afternoon son shone brightly down the main street, Doc saw the gang collecting in a vacant lot behind the O. K. Corral. Around three the Earp brothers, John and Doc Holiday took to the street in Tombstone after noticing the five Clanton-McLaury gang was getting ready to walk to the saloon.

    “Let’s move and spread out,” Wyatt said..

    The lawmen, having been appointed by Wyatt, walked slowly toward the Corral, about six feet apart. All had two hand guns and Doc cradled a twelve gauge. John carried the Glock. Doc was in a fit of coughing, barely able to walk. John walked beside him in case he needed help. It took about three minutes to reach the empty lot. The gang had lined up also, spread apart and shifted one foot to another. The lawmen stopped at eight feet apart from the gang,

    ‘These guys are nuts,’ thought John. ’No wonder for the bloodshed.’

    No one pulled a gun until Billy Clailboune and Ike Clanton turned and ran for the hills.

    “Crap” said Virgil Earp. He pulled a gun and shot Billy Clanton point-blank in the chest. Billy stood there long enough to get off three shots before falling in the dust. Doc Holiday lifted his shotgun, aimed at Tom McLaury’s chest and managed to shoot him in the stomach. Amazingly, he stayed his feet, pulled both guns and blazed away before falling dead as he hit the earth.

    The Earp brothers and Doc continued firing until thirty seconds had elapsed. The lone gang man received so many bullets and refused to fall for ten seconds that John seemed to be stunned. He could have killed all five men in a matter of seconds but didn’t. When he realized he stood in a hailstorm of bullets headed his way and was still alive, he finally understood. Maybe fifty shots had been fired at close range in a period of a half minute, then the gun battle ceased.

    Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank Mclaury lay cold on the ground in a sleep of the dead. Virgil and Morgan Earp were wounded but not life threatening. Doc Holiday carried a new lead souvenir of the battle but no one was going to kill him. He wanted to drink himself to death and so went fate. As for Wyatt, not a scratch spoiled his red vest.

    John noticed the four men staring his way. He looked down at the shirt he wore. Three bullet holes were new as was a neat hole in his right thigh. He felt no pain as he slowly walked through the lawmen and tipped his hat to all four. They in turn did the same and watched as John left Tombstone and walked back to where he had come from. .


    . .
    .

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Kerry, this is great. Either you were also there, or you know the story well! Also, I like how it ended. I really enjoyed reading this.

    2. Beebles

      Thanks for another wild ride Kerry, always keeping your destination well hidden, letting us slalom through your plots and characters. Great stuff. Reminded me of a children’s programme over here from the 70s called Mr Ben, a chap who went to a fancy dress shop and tried on a new costume each week, then went through a magic door and had an adventure – course there was no violence or sweet loving in it, but it had that feel. Sweet memories. i can even hear the theme tune…

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Beebles, some of my stories I’m sure come from a radio program for children, called “Let’s Pretend”. A Saturday morning jewel from the [are you ready for this?] 40’s. Yee Gad!T

    3. jhowe

      Great action and dialog. Kept me wanting more through all three segments. Who knew the good guys had a Glock in their arsenal. As usual, you’re really good with the historical stuff.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks John, I kept feeling I was cutting too much out, like the back story of the saloon girl and certainly Doc Holiday’s past. I didn’t want to wrap it up but I also didn’t want to push my luck.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          I love the idea, maybe laid back, in disguise as a Super Hero but then when in trouble like at the O. K. Corral, he should fear for his life. Makes a better, sympathetic MC, to know he’s still mortal and can die.

  13. genchanting

    Miles and miles of flat desert stretched around the Menckens’ ancient pickup truck. Mountains in the distance were a faint purple, as if they had been painted onto the sky rather than a part of the red earth.

    A sandstorm had come through recently, 13-year-old Christina Mencken thought. The faded asphalt was almost buried and the truck kicked up giant plumes of dust as it sped along the highway. The cloud made Christina’s eyes sting. The uncovered truck bed offered no protection from the onslaught.

    Across from her, Christina’s brother sat comfortably, eyes protected by some swimming goggles he’d pilfered from a public swimming pool. Just the thought of them made Christina snicker; While they were better for keeping out sand than his aviators, the goggles were obviously made for someone much younger than nearly-adult Jacob and they left deep indents in his face when he took them off.

    Christina thought jealously of her seat next to Mama in the front, which she’d had all to herself since Jacob got too big for them to share it. But Mama had just gotten some new bags; a big brown suitcase with a matching purse for Mama and two smaller, lime green suitcases for Christina and Jacob. Mama’s was real leather this time, she said, and would Christina please sit in the back with Jake so that it wouldn’t get ruined by the sun?

    Jacob reached out with his leg and tapped his sister on the thigh with his sandal. Christina gave him a dirty look.

    “What?” She demanded.

    Christina saw Jacob’s mouth move but could hear nothing over the rushing wind and the sand buffeting her uncovered face and neck. She cupped her hand over her ear to show him this. Jacob appeared to roll his eyes behind his swimming goggles, though it was hard to tell through the reflective surface. Rather than repeat himself, he pointed to the long stretch of highway behind the truck.

    Jacob was a skyscraper of a boy, even when sitting. Christina had to scramble up onto her knees to be able to see over the lip of the truck bed. Her dull brown curls whipped about her face.

    Through the haze of dust and hair, a black and white highway patrol car made itself known. A moment later blue and red lights lit up the dust cloud like a colorful storm, the siren sounded like thunder to Christina.

    The two vehicles slowly came to a stop and Christina and Jacob clung to the sides so that they didn’t slide to the end of the truck bed. Both officers got out of their patrol car and started walking towards their truck. One of them had a bushy, gray moustache and his hat pulled low over his eyebrows, making his already deep-set eyes look sunken. The other was a woman with her hair pulled back into a severe bun, her uniform impeccably pressed. The female officer took one look at Christina and Jacob and pursed her thin lips before waving the officer with a moustache over to them. She then tapped on the closed driver’s seat window. Christina quietly worried for Mama, who never did well when faced with harsh words.

    The mustachioed officer leaned on the edge of the truck, peering down at the two teens. Jacob self-consciously pulled off his swimming goggles. The mustache twitched upwards, Christina guessed he was amused by the red rings left around Jacob’s face.

    “What’re you kids doin’ ridin’ in the back?” The officer asked, his twang was friendly and made Christina think of Fourth of July picnics.

    “No room in the front,” She said simply. The mustache twitched back down.

    Christina couldn’t hear much of what the female officer was saying to Mama, even when she had Mama get out of the car.

    Later when the small family of three was crammed in the back of the patrol car, Mama clinging to her new leather bag and Jacob staring impassively forward in his aviators, Christina followed the old truck with her eyes until it was out of sight.

    Christina gazed out on the flat, red desert and smiled.

    1. UnclePizza

      You have a good descriptive style genchanting. There’s clearly a lot more going on with this story, and you left me wondering what, but not so much that I felt snookered as can happen when I’m left with too much to wonder about. Always a good way to leave the reader!

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      As a new writer, you should be proud of this piece. Christina and Jacob are beautifully written, and by pulling Mama into the story as you did, she also comes alive. I was reminded of the long stretches of Texas and New Mexico we drove through recently. With the sandstorm, kids in the truck bed, the timeless quality, and the feeling of flight, I also thought of folks heading to California from the great “dustbowl”. Great job, keep posting here. One thing I’ve learned these past two years, the word count, even though I have passed it on occasion, has helped me with editing. However, I didn’t see an unnecessary word in this.

    3. Beebles

      Hi Gen… I was in the truck, on that road, it as so well drawn. You created interesting relationships and characters and like uncle I didn’t feel cheated by the questions raised at the end. Looking forward to more of your work.

    4. jhowe

      I really enjoyed this. You have a great style. I’m thinking the reason Christina was smiling at the end was she wouldn’t miss the old truck and riding in the bed. The mother seemed to care more about her precious bags than her own children. Well done, and welcome to the site.

  14. igonzales81

    “Get out of the car with your hands up!”

    I sit behind the wheel of my car, shaking uncontrollably, wondering what I’ve done wrong.

    It started out such a nice night. I got off work at five, headed home for a quick shower, then picked up Trish a little after six. We caught an early show, and then I got an idea that it’d be nice to grab some take out and head out to Pine Road Overlook for a little picnic… and maybe something more after that.

    “Billy?” Trish says from the passenger seat. “What’s happening?”

    I can’t find the words to answer, mostly because I don’t know what’s happening. A glance in the mirror shows the officer standing beside his cruiser, one hand holding a flashlight steady on my car, the other resting on the grip of his holstered pistol.

    He came up on us not five minutes after we left Panda Express, where Trish took her time agonizing over what she wanted. One minute, we were just rolling along, then the next lights were flashing and sirens wailing. I pulled over as soon as I could, expecting a request for my license and registration. Now I’m worried he’ll start shooting any second. I wasn’t speeding; I know that. Did I miss a stop sign, not signal a turn? Cops can be picky if they think you’re trouble. Still, that’s no reason to be acting like I’m an escaped psycho threatening his life.

    “Don’t worry,” I finally manage to say. “Probably nothing.”

    “Shouldn’t we do what he says?”

    “Yeah, we should.” But I can’t make myself climb out of the car.

    “This is your last warning!” the cop bellows. “Get out, right now!”

    My paralysis breaks. I fumble off the seat belt, push the door open.

    As I clamber to my feet, the cop suddenly pulls out his pistol. “Wait!” he yells. “I wasn’t talking to you!”

    I have just an instant to wonder who he was talking to, and then there’s a blur of motion beside me. A figure lurches out of the backseat, and I feel an arm wrap around my throat. Trish screams, and I see a flash of light reflected off a metal blade.

    Then there’s a gunshot, louder than I ever thought possible, and something wet and hot spatters across my face.

    I just stand there for a minute, my mind trying to catch up with what’s just occurred. Before long, I give up, and slump to the ground. Trish is there, crouching over me, crying and asking if I’m okay. I manage to mumble something reassuring.

    Gravel crunches under foot, and then the cop is standing over me, his gun still pointed at the still form lying a few feet away.

    “Sorry to scare you kids,” he says, barely sparing me a glance. “I caught a glimpse of this guy when I pulled up behind you. He was in your backseat the whole time; if I hadn’t shown up, I hate to think what would have happened.”

    I can’t find the words to thank him.

    It started out such a nice night.

    But at least it had a happy ending.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You had me from the beginning. I couldn’t figure where you where you we going with.this. maybe a car jack or worse. Good thing the cop was a good shot. Very entertaining.

    1. RafTriesToWrite

      “I pulled over as soon as I could, expecting a request for my license and registration.” Me too Billy, me too.

      I agree with jhowe, it really is a cool story.

  15. Kerry Charlton

    A SHOOT OUT

    PART TWO

    PART ONE BELOW

    Wyatt studied John’s face for a minute or two,

    “You talk funny cowboy but you’re not an outlaw. At least you’re not afraid to face a loaded gun. You got bullets for this toy of yours?”

    “You bet,” john emptied eight clips from his pockets. “Want me to show you how to use it?”

    Wyatt handed it to John, “I want it rloaded , you can tell me how it works”

    John pushed a clip in and pointed his finger to the safety,

    “Release this and pull the trigger. Shoot the sapling next to you.”

    Wyatt stepped back, released the safety and aimed at the tree, “What you mean by

    automatic?“

    “It will keep firing ‘till you release the trigger.”

    A blast of sound and smoke erupted from the gun, the sapling, blown to pieces, crashed at the feet of Wyatt. He handed the gun back with one thought only,

    “Your bullets are too small, I like to blow holes in my villains.”

    As they rode to town there was no turning back for John. Wyatt’s idea was to gather his two brothers, Doc Holiday and John trailing behind, and arrest the Clanton-McLaury gang for murder, theft and just general purposes as the gang was bent on taking the town over. John observed Tombstone as he rode the paint through the main street in town or should we say the only street, then he realized the h*ll he would be tested with.

    But first of course was joining Doc Holiday at the Oriental Saloon.

    “Don’t piss him off John, he’ll kill you just for the pleasure of it.”

    It wasn’t hard to recognize him as John walked toward the bar. Gaunt from a fatal disease, wearing a black hat , white shirt with red vest and sporting a handle bar moustache splattered with ruminants of cigars and booze, his eyes riveted on John’s face and his hand eagerly fingered one of his pistols. His facer evolved to a sly grin,

    “Well, where did you come from son?”

    “Another world Doc. I came to help.”

    Doc looked furiously at Wyatt Earp,

    “I told you Wyatt to round up your brothers not some shiny faced dude.”

    ‘I’ve got nothing to loose’, John thought as he intently watched the scoundrel and extended his hand to him. Doc reached for his gun and as he did so, John’s arm struck like a lightening bolt and chopped Doc’s throat in less than a second. He went down like a thrown deck of used cards. Then John extended his hand a second time,

    “I’m sorry Doc but I ain’t no dude. Let me help you up.”

    Doc grabbed the helping hand, rose to his feet. He was still ringing with pain and wheezed and gasped,

    “Boy I don’t reckon I’ve seen anyone like you. I hope you’re as fast with a gun as you are with that arm, you‘re going to need it.”

    Down the winding stairs in the saloon, strolled Doc’s girlfriend, Laura Denbow.
    All eyes followed her progress as she walked steadily to John, raised her face and kissed him. John couldn’t believe his eyes and knew he was a dead man as she released him. Laura was an exact double to his girlfriend Jennifer. Throughout the saloon a hush settled around Doc. His hand twitched around his gun, then he released his grip,

    “There’s enough in the girl for both of us cowboy, welcome to h*ll.”

    CONCLUSIO TO BE CONTINUED

  16. pvenderley

    “What?”

    The officer repeats his instructions. “Get out of the car with your hands up.”

    That ain’t right.

    He’s supposed to saunter up to the car, exaggerating the menace of each step through the sound of gravel slowly crunching beneath his boots. He’s supposed to perch his flashlight on his shoulder so it shines right in your rear view mirror and then in your eyes, so you can’t read his badge number or see his face. He’s supposed to ask: “Do you know what you’ve done wrong?”

    I’m going to jail. I know I’m going to jail. There’s no need to rub my nose in the dirt.

    “Did you hear me, boy?”

    I hear crickets in the woodsy brush just off the road. I see fireflies, done with the evening, slowly drifting back into the tall grass. I hear aluminum softly scrape against gravel. I watch red and blue lights rake through trees trying vainly to hide behind a thin veil of darkness.

    I call out: “I was only speeding a little bit, officer. Can’t you just write me a ticket and let me get home to my kids?”

    The policeman issues a deep throaty guffaw. His laughter rolls through the roadside brush in different timbres and pitch. I figure there are three, maybe four others shadowing the officer. Someone mutters: “He wants a ticket.”

    I finger the gear shift of my Toyota Camry. There’s not a day since I bought it four years ago that I’ve missed my motorcycle. Not a day that I’ve longed to be straddling pure power. That I’ve wondered if being inconspicuous, if blending in with the crowd, made any sense.

    “Let’s go, boy. There’s no need to make this a national issue.”

    It’s almost as if the keys turn of their own accord in the ignition, as if my car’s four tires spin frantically in the loose dirt in an attempt to get the hell away before the rest of us.

    There damn well is a need.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Your descriptions were wonderful, I could see and hear everything, however I think your MC made a huge mistake driving away. I suspect he has more to fear than a ticket.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Of course the descriptions command the shory but also.you write the MC as being innocent and my heart goes out to him
        I feel he is severe danger from the police who.read like they’re less than stellar. Good story and entertaining.

  17. ReathaThomasOakley

    Getting Out

    “Mom?”

    “Yeah, baby?”

    “You okay?” Funny, Jason didn’t fuss when I called him baby. Kids just know.

    “Yeah, I’m okay, we’re all okay, ain’t we Steve?” Steve didn’t answer, I knew he heard me way he was twisting them dirty fingers on the steering wheel. Says he works in dirt to feed me and my bastard, that’s what he sometimes calls Jason, my bastard, says he ain’t got white hands like some fairy flamer, says he’s a real man.

    “But, Mom, where we going?”

    “Shut that bastard up ‘fore I stop this car and do it for you.” Steve don’t usually take Jason along when we go out, don’t know why this time.

    “Jason, baby, why don’t you just get you a book outta your backpack, Steve don’t like when you keep on asking questions, bothering him when he’s driving.”

    “But, Mom, you didn’t put in my spelling book, I got a test tomorrow.”

    “Shut him up!” Steve hit the steering wheel, real hard, he can hit real hard.

    “Hush, baby, just hush now. Steve’ll tell us soon where we’re going, I know he will.”

    I hope he will, I thought. Steve’d been real tense last two weeks. Something wrong at work, I guessed. Him and his brother fix up cars, sell them for cash I think, ’cause he don’t get a pay check, gives me some to help with groceries and such, things been easier since he moved in, but he can get mean when he gets tense. Like today. He come home early, told me to get my pocketbook and Jason’s stuff, that we were going for a treat, but we been driving nearly two hours now.

    “Mom, I’m hungry and I gotta pee.”

    “Dammit! Shut him up!”

    “Jason, baby, please…”

    “Yeah, Mom, yeah, I got it!”

    Jason got real quiet and I musta slept ’cause I was someplace else when Steve started cussing.

    “Dammit! They been up my tailpipe 20-30 miles, brights on when it got dark. Well, let’s see how they gonna follow me now.” He pushed the gas pedal so hard I thought the seat belt was gonna cut me in two.

    “Steve, be careful!” I sorta screamed, but before I could apologize he hauled off and hit me in the chest with the back of his hand.

    “That took care of them bastards.” He laughed. “Car full of bastards and we only got the one.”

    I sat quiet for a long time, didn’t want to talk, l get like that sometimes, but then Steve started again.

    “What the…I slowed down after I got away from…what the…”.

    I turned around, Jason was all huddled up in one corner, eyes closed, but out the rear window I saw red and blue lights.

    “I gotta stop,” Steve braked and pulled over. “Don’t you say nothing.”

    I was surprised when two officers got out of the patrol car and both unsnapped their holsters. Steve rolled down his window and laughed a sick sounding laugh.

    “Officers, must not be much going on, you stop a man and his family out on a little drive.”

    “Sir, get out of your car with your hands where I can see them.” As Steve opened the door the officer jerked it all the way, and before I knew what was happening Steve was on the hood being cuffed. Then I realized the other officer was tapping on my window.

    “Susan Hunter?” He asked when I let down the window.

    “What?” I stammered. How did he know my name?

    “Mom, it’s okay,” Jason said. “We’re gonna be okay.”

    Sun was just coming up when me and Jason left the police station. Seems Jason had been writing help me signs and holding them in the rear window and this nice old couple read them, copied the tag number and called the highway patrol. They’d been looking for Steve, him and his brother had a falling out over some money, so Steve took a tire iron to him, took all the cash, and run out. His brother didn’t make it, so Steve’ll be gone a long time. Me and Jason? We’re gonna be okay.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          I swear you have a ghost inside helping you write. When you write gritty you write also with such finesse. Reatha, how many ghosts are you haunted by. You tell me and I’ll tell you, ,mine are multible.

    1. Jay

      Clean story, RTO. I had completely forgotten what the prompt was about until I got to the end of your story. I was thinking to myself, where is this going? I hope he doesn’t go and hurt them. I supposed in a way, he did. With Steve being the a-hole that he is, I’m surprised he didn’t see the kid holding the signs up, stop the car, and shut him up. Bad people by nature are paranoid, so I’m thinking maybe it had something to do with him being on the lam that got him sidetracked enough so he didn’t notice the boy ratting him.

      I enjoyed the story, and glad Steve got what he deserved at the end. 🙂

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thanks, Jay. I also wondered how Jason did it, but I think Steve was into his own stuff, so didn’t notice. I also think Jason has learned to escape notice.

    2. pvenderley

      So I keep coming back to this piece because you depict the runaway scene so well, but the conclusion feels like an afterthought – an epilogue inserted just so we know it’s supposed to be a nice story. Realizing that there’s a limit to how much we’re supposed to write, and not wanting to take anything from this piece, I’d suggest that epilogue is yet another challenge for you.
      Because:
      1) when the police stop the car, they’re gonna separate the kid from Mom and jerk. Because Social Services won’t know who’s endangering whom.
      2) Susan won’t know why the police are doing this, and she’ll have an inner struggle when jerk rises up to defend her from the police (a common enemy)
      3) She can find the pages in which The boy wrote “Help Me” wedged in between the seat and the car door where nobody could see them — or written on one of the pages of a workbook that Mom had thought her son was using as a pillow every time she had looked back.

      I realize these comments aren’t focusing on what you’ve written (which was fine stuff) but on what you didn’t write, but I believe there’s promise in exploring that last paragraph further.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts,, which I pretty much agree with. For the past few months my time has been very limited, so I’ve not written to or commented on several prompts. I did rush the ending on this one because I wanted to get it posted. As I wrote above I wasn’t certain how Jason did it, just figured he’d learned by necessity to fly under the radar.

    3. RafTriesToWrite

      Wow as always Reatha. I’ve been a fan ever since I can remember from reading your work in the past prompts. I really got emotionally attached as I read this one from start to finish, and I’m glad that Steve didn’t get away too.

  18. Not-Only But-Also Riley

    “Get out with your hands up!” shouted the slime covered thing in some ancient language. It wasn’t a phrase I’d heard besides in old two dimensional picture films, things that people supposedly found entertaining before the holo-shows had gotten popular. Now they’re rare because the scavengers on the backwater asteroids where they were dumped have mostly repurposed them. The point being, why this guy was shouting this, I had no clue. But I complied and stepped out anyway, pointing all four arms toward the starship lit sky.

    “What’s this about? Are you even an officer?” I asked, smirking at the blue uniform pulled tightly over his gelatinous looking blob of a body.

    “Of course I am,” it burped out in the same language. My translator piece was having trouble even getting across the words, spending a long time processing the garble of sounds.

    “So… what’d I do? I mean, I get I was going a little fast but I’ve sort of got somewhere important to be,” I tried to reason with the officer with something that was not entirely a lie. It was important to me, that’s gotta count for something.

    “Important? What? Meeting Moony? Who is she? Prostitute?”

    Hm. So the little slime ball was smarter than I gave him credit for.

    “Sh*t. What are you like a mind reader or something?” I asked, realizing my fours arms were getting tired. He had begun to make his way back to his ship since he’d realized his primitive pair of cuffs wasn’t gonna cut it for my species.

    “Actually,” again with the slow translating, didn’t this thing know a real language, “I can see into the future. All futures to be exact. And you know what, Moony wouldn’t have been worth it anyway. She’s not exactly… top notch.” It began to ooze its way back over to me with a newer pair of shift-o-cuffs that would morph to match species.

    “Aren’t officers supposed to know their species? My species is disease resistant. To us, anyone will do.”

    “Hm. Gross,” he mumbled.

    “Oh, f*ck you. You’re calling me gross slimeball?”

    The blob sighed and cuffed me. He began to escort me over to his ship. On the side of it, something in the creature’s ancient language was written, and my eye translator was taking forever to read it. I realized that the thing he was brining me into clearly wasn’t a police car.

    “Hey wait? What’s going on? What did I even do?” I began to struggle, but it was too late. He had pushed me into the passenger seat of what my eye translator had just finished calling ‘The Chronic Argonaut’.

    “You haven’t done anything yet. And I need your help to make sure you don’t,” the thing said as it got in the driver’s seat. I looked at the front of the ship and saw that the controls were like nothing I’d ever seen. There was a lever on the side, and a round thing that protruded in front of the driver’s chair.
    “What are you talking about? Are you f*cking crazy?”

    “Well. A little. But what I’m saying is, we’re going back in time.”

    “That’s impossible.”

    And with these final, somewhat ironic words, we began shooting back in time.

    1. Jay

      Reminds me of MiB for some reason (probably the aliens). Maybe in some instances it took on a serious tone, but the story is mostly whimsical, which was nice. I honestly imagine Ignignokt and Err playing out a scene from something they saw on Earth, but then these went different toward the end. Anyway, good story. 🙂

      1. A.S.P.

        Really cool interpretation of the prompt. I love sci-fi and found this enjoyable from start to finish. Can’t wait to read what mayhem awaits in the past.

  19. zapadoodle

    He had 26 years notched into his belt, but he still felt it was never tight enough. He had 26 miles to go, until Atlanta, according to the rusted signs of I-75, but it still never felt close enough. All of Georgia was a lone drone in his head, some consistent drawl of its unkempt roads—and now, with his head to the asphalt, the constant whirring and blurring motion of cruiser lights blinding and sickening him, the drawl now felt louder and closer, as if the earth was speaking to him, right in his ear.

    Georgia, he decided, had the voice of one of those sweet old southern white ladies, the kind who’d kindly serve sweet tea to her neighbors in the summer and volunteer at her Church. She’s the kind that the conversation starts at the darling fair of your hair or your dress or your shoes, and then ventures out to: “Oh, I don’t mind the colored folk, but I just don’t think it’s right, you know, them white children socializing with the black ones, at the pool and such—I have a daughter, you know—it would just be improper—what if some of those thugs started getting ideas? It just won’t do, it just won’t do…”

    To which the served would reply, God-fearing, god hearing, over the very same tea served to the black parishioners of her chapel.

    Georgia, he decided, was kind of a b*tch. His left ring finger moved in a circle, tracing some unknown glyph. This land had its fair share of white and black blood and it never claimed any different, permitted shame or rejection. His mind was wondering if she felt so clean and pure now, covered in the stuff of the very thing she feared, that mixed product of young white daughters and young black thugs, the genetic and proverbial pool he was, the reproof of his being now seeking respite in the asphalt.

    It just won’t do, just won’t do….

    The cop was bent over his cruiser, screaming and screaming. Vomit decorated the wheels. The fingers circled. Twenty-six miles away his favorite city rested. It had a lot more than 26 notches under its belt. Somewhere in the city, an old white crone waited for him. Atlanta did not know his name, Georgia did not want his kind, but she did. The land kept humming in his ear, forgotten sweet nothings, southern and unassuming. The officers rambled about, panicked and shocked. They did not touch him. The fingers stopped.

    Later the officer would unbend and wipe off his shoes and get in his car and go home. He would be put on paid probation for a month. But the young man who counted the notches in his belt would not be the first or last or forgotten. Later, people would know his name, everybody know his name. And they would chant it, in his favorite city, followed by It just won’t do! it just won’t do! .…

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Very well written, with outstanding images of both Georgias. Plus, you left me thinking about what was happening, always a good thing.

  20. Kerry Charlton

    A SHOOT OUT

    John Ridehip put the petal to the metal, he was six miles from Tombstone and late for Jennifer. She had called earlier to tell her lover to hurry over as her husband had left town for a one night trip. John rode bulls for a living on the rodeo circuit and had met Jennifer last spring. The year was 1957 and Jennifer was hired as an extra in a new western movie. She kept the title secret as little publicity as possible was released .for security reasons.

    His urgent need was interrupted as a police car pulled along side with it’s siren splitting the desert air. John felt a little uneasy as the policeman walked toward the rear of his car.

    “Get out of your car with your hands up,” the officer railed

    His belt worn low, held two Colt pistols, one of which he drew from his holster and pointed it towards John’s chest.

    “Okay, Okay, I’m doing it, take it easy”

    As John’s feet hit the pavement, the asphalt turned to grey dust, a darkness draped both men and a damp, cold numbness, surrounded them. Ground started to spin around John’s boots which he wasn’t wearing a moment before. The inky darkness dimmed and before John, a lanky, mean looking sheriff spoke,

    “I don’t recognize you partner, keep those hands up and don’t move.”

    “But officer, I …….”

    “Don’t you recognize a sheriff’s badge cowboy?”

    “Okay sheriff I’ll play along, which bad guy are you?”

    A sharp explosion shattered John’s playful spirit as the sheriff shot off a boot heel on his leg.

    “Next one’s in your heart, cowboy”

    “Who in Hades are you anyway, sheriff? I haven’t done anything wrong.”

    “Well mister,” the sheriff spoke. “Name’s Wyatt Earp and I’m sheriff of Tombstone.”

    The blood drained from John’s face as he looked back for his car. In it’s place, a dusty paint shuffled his legs, anxious to get on his way.

    “Sheriff, what year is this?”

    “Dumb question cowboy but I will answer you ‘cause you may not be who I think you are. It’s October 25, 1881.”

    “You’ll have to excise me sheriff, I’m about to collapse because Im not understanding.”

    “Stand still boy, I need to see if you have any firepower on you.”

    He pulled a glock pistol from John’s right pocket and snickered,

    “Is this a baby toy you carry mister?”

    “Careful, it’s very sensitive, it’s what we call an automatic pistol.”

    “Well anyway I’m keeping it for a spell. Now I’m asking the questions, are you part of the Clanton-McLaury scum?

    “Not hardly, I’m John Ridehip, if I remember the fight, they’re outlaws aren’t they?

    [To be continued]
    .

    1. Tysheena Jackson

      I read this the other day but got too caught up in work to comment. This is a wonderful piece, Kerry! Nitty-gritty and right up my alley! Can’t wait for part dos! 🙂

  21. snuzcook

    Looks like I’m using threads already common to other great stories already posted for this prompt. Ah well. (crossing my fingers that the italics all work)

    MEMORIAL

    It’s never something you could have predicted that scr*ws up your life. It’s never something that you consciously neglected to do or not do. It’s that little thing that tips the scales from ‘oops, I won’t do that again’ to ‘I’m gonna die.’

    And here I am. I wish it was something I could say I did wrong. Then at least I would feel like I had some control in the situation—anything but this terrible helplessness and hopelessness. I have no choice in the matter. Grandma would say that when you got no choice, you can always choose to pray. Well, Lord, here I am!

    ****** *

    She looks like she’s praying, kneeling in the salal with her wrists tied together in front of her around a tree. Her face glows faintly in the moonlight, loose locks of her hair across her face are like clouds across the moon. She looked frightened before; now her eyes are closed. Maybe she really is praying. It doesn’t matter to me, but maybe it will matter to her.

    The gag tied through her mouth splits her face into something not quite human, like a ventriloquist’s dummy or a broken nutcracker. She is nothing more than a discarded doll now. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    I wonder who will first report her missing? Her folks? Her boss? The friends who wonder why she didn’t show up tonight? It doesn’t make any difference to me, but still I wonder. Will it be tomorrow? She looks like one of those girls who calls home every day just to check in. She probably never misses work, either. Will they wait a day or two, respect her privacy and then panic? Or will they call tonight or first thing in the morning.

    It doesn’t matter to me. It will take days, maybe weeks to find this spot. It’ll all be over long before they start looking, and they’ll all be sorry.

    I put the sign on the dash of my broken down car so it looks like I’m expected back in a couple of days. Then I take one more look around to make sure she is well hidden. I get in her car. She tries to yell, but the sound is well muffled. I decide to be kind. Why not lie? It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll be dead by the time they find her. They’ll all be dead.

    ‘I told you, no one’s going to hurt you. I’ll send someone back to get you in the morning.’

    I walk down the path to the logging road in the dark, get in her car and head back toward the highway. Her heater starts to fog the windshield, piece-of-junk. I try to steer around potholes and ruts I can hardly see. I fumble through the glove box for something I can use to wipe the glass.

    **** *

    Someone is coming! Here! Here!

    No—in the bright moonlight I can see that same jacket with the arm patch I mistook as a police uniform, that same slow, deliberate robot-like stiffness. Something is different. Anger? He’s shaking. Oh, God! He’s going to kill me now!

    “What is this!” He comes close and shakes Davey’s bandana in front of me. His psycho’s hands touch Davey’s bandana. He quickly, roughly takes the gag out of my mouth. “What is this!”

    “Don’t touch that!”

    “Why do you have this!”

    “It’s my brother’s. He died.”

    He wads it up, clutching it close. With his free hand, he pulls out an identical bandana from his pocket. It is folded neatly. He holds it reverently.

    “Rocky Bar.”

    “Yes.”

    He stands, his head bowed, his shoulders soft, his body like a puppet with some of its strings slackened. “What was his name?”

    “Davey.”

    “Davey Moriarity? You’re Davey Moriarity’s sister?”

    He cuts the plastic cuffs off my hands. It hurts to move, but I sit back, rubbing my wrists, watching him.

    “You were going to the memorial.” He seems to say it to himself like he’s solving a puzzle.

    “I know who you are. You’re Dan Ablee. You’re Bill’s big brother.” The crazy one. They said he started the fire that swept through the camp, but he denied it. I thought he was in jail.

    Suddenly he looks much younger, like a boy himself. A year ago he was only 17 when all that happened. He shrinks by some trick of the light, the jacket that made him look so large and important when he carjacked me hangs loose. He tosses my car keys on the ground in front of me. He holds out Davey’s bandana and I take it ever so gently from his hand like taking a ball from the mouth of a strange dog.

    “Go. Go to the memorial.”

    “Aren’t you coming?” Maybe I’m the crazy one to ask him that.

    “No. I don’t know. Not this way.” He turns and walks away.

    “Bill would want you to be there,” I call after him. He disappears into the dark trees.

    It’s the things you don’t have a choice about that mark your life forever.

    1. Jay

      I had to read it a second time because, well, I wasn’t really paying attention the first time. Got my mind on things that, funny enough, I feel like I don’t have control over… but truthfully, I only feel that way. We all have control of or choices for everything, don’t we? Maybe not fully, but some degree of it.

      Anyway, I like your descriptions, as usual. Clean, and visually pleasing. Well done, snuz!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I think you were there watching this. at least it reads that way. So real the words bite as I read them. This is another whole side to you. Did you have lunch with Jay by any chance? Either way, it’s powerfully good.

  22. Pete

    We’re on the bridge when I see the lights in the mirror. I merge to the left lane, taking no chances, not wanting to mess up a killer weekend before it starts. But the cop car slides up behind me.

    “What the hell, bruh?” Even Dave, already good and stoned in the backseat, notices, then slides his head down, as though he can not only hide from the cruiser, but slink out of life’s way as well.

    “Okay, just chill,” I say, “Dave, get your head out of your shirt.” It’s six o clock and city traffic is still thick. Another glance in the mirror and this chick cop is motioning for me to get over. Get over where? I don’t have anywhere to go.

    Raj, less stoned in the passenger seat, eyes me carefully. “Where you speeding, bruh?”

    “No, besides, all those people were passing me, I…”

    I can’t finish the thought. On her way out to the island with her girls, Heidi had warned me not to get into trouble. Not to embarrass her dad on our bachelor weekend. “No hookers,” she’d said. We weren’t even at the hotel yet.

    I get the car to the side, enough off the bridge so traffic can pass. After hiding beers and baggies and turning down the music, Dave’s face lights up. I’m thinking the same thing. We both look at Raj. “You set this up?”

    Raj looks at me, at Dave, then finally out the back window. “Dude. No. This is real.”

    “Yeah, okay.” I sit back and position my phone to record the action. “I’ll play along. But you should have waited until we got to the room, though.”

    The cop/stripper chick waltzes over to the door. She’d be a lot hotter if she weren’t taking this so seriously. Maybe with her hair down and or a few buttons open. But that’s coming, I guess. I set down my shades and give her a smile.

    “Hey gorgeous.”

    She’s really going all out, I’m thinking she’s a drama major or something because she whips out a legit-looking piece. “Get your hands up and get out of the car. Now. Now!”

    Great a dominatrix. Thanks, Raj. “Okay, okay,” I get exactly one foot out of the car and this chick shoves me to the curb. She’s got some muscle, but I’m not into it. I’m wondering if she knows who I am, and when she slings me over the hood, I’m guessing no. I look at Raj again, “You recording this?” But he’s playing dumb. In fact, his eyes are bulging out of his head.

    Then she slaps the cuffs on, tight. At the other end of the bridge I can see more squad cars coming over the bridge. I guess Raj figured I shouldn’t have all the fun.

    “So, how does this work. I mean, you do your thing right out here? Tell you what, we’ve got a cooler in the trunk. Can you get me a drink?”

    She must be new, because this chick actually rolls her eyes. By now cars are honking and I’m hoping none of them are with The Post because those idiots might actually think I’m getting arrested. The two cruisers honk and edge through the mess. I’m hoping they hurry, because I’d like to trade strippers. As cute as this one is, she’s too into her role for my taste.

    She snatches Raj by the neck, he screams like a girl and I see Dave rocking in the backseat. The chick’s her hair falls over her face. Finally, we’re getting somewhere.

    We’re lined up on the curb. But still, nothing. No dancing, no smiling, and no stripping, which is good because the cruisers arrive and there must have been a mix up because it’s two Chippendale types with thick necks and crew cuts. I look at Raj. “Um, is there something you want to tell me?”

    “Dude, this is for real.”

    Turns out it’s a mix up. The Chippendale’s are looking for a different Mercedes SUV. It takes about an hour to get it sorted out, and finally we’re free to leave. They help us up and once they find out I’m engaged to the mayor’s daughter, well, Dave’s off the hook for his weed. But get this, stripper chick? She actually tickets me for not wearing a seat belt.

    I tell ya. Some people, they don’t have a clue…

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Oh, my, what a scene you’ve presented. It’s good your MC is marrying up, I’m not certain he has much of a future if it’s all up to him. Great take on the promot.

      1. A.S.P.

        It was really fun. Your mc’s voice was very clear and dislikable–not a bad thing! Really got me into his head, privileged and naive as he is.

  23. cl91

    It was a 2017 Chevy Camaro and I just had it souped up. I called it my Baby car, but the kids called it the BBC. None of them would drive it because they didn’t want to face the consequences of wrecking it.
    I wanted it to sound like the old cars used to sound. My husband calls it, ‘counting off the licks,’ as it sits and idles but I think of it more as a low thunder.

    It was black. In my world, black is the only color for a car. Yes, they are harder to keep clean, but nothing looks better than a clean black car. I’m happy to report my car is seldom dirty. I get great enjoyment out of washing it myself, and shining it.

    My husband, Tom, thought he hit the jackpot when he met me….a lady who knows cars! I grew up knowing cars and football because my dad didn’t have a son so I was it. I was always a tomboy so it was only fit for me to marry someone who worked on cars for a living. Tom and I share a bond in that we both love the rod runs and looking at cars and hearing them. And the smell of racing fuel at the racetrack……mmm mmm!

    It was Friday night and I wanted to run my car. There was a place across the bridge where people gathered to drag race their cars and although I was somewhat older (just a tad) than the usual crowd, I had no intention of getting out of the car and socializing. I just wanted to drive it and see what it was made of. I was sure nobody would recognize me since I just got the car.

    I didn’t tell Tom or the kids where I was going, but I made sure my Baby car was clean and shiny as I headed out across the bridge.

    The evening sun was going down behind the mountain and once I got out of the driveway, I put my hair up under a baseball cap to head that way. It would be better if nobody recognized me. I did, after all, have my ‘mom’ and ‘wife’ reputation to uphold.

    The crowd had gathered by the time I got there and a Corvette was taking on a Beamer. I pulled up and motioned for the guy with the clipboard to come over. He placed me in the third race. I would be going against a Dodge Challenger.

    The second race between an older Trans Am and a souped up Nova ended in a crash when the driver of the Nova lost control. Thankfully, nobody was hurt.

    When I pulled up to the starting line, my adrenaline was pumping. I sat there and revved up my motor. Oh my, it sounded marvelous! When I pushed the gas pedal the ground shook! Or at least I thought it did. The Dodge pulled up and I couldn’t see the driver’s face and he couldn’t see mine but I gave him a thumbs up.

    The flag girl got between us, raised the flag and in a dramatic motion dropped it and it was on!

    I gouged it. The Baby car bolted out of the gate like a magnificent stallion and instantly took the lead. I love the feeling of being plastered to the seat as the car accelerates. I didn’t look back. Queen was blaring on the radio and I was in Heaven! I don’t know who was driving the Dodge, but clearly that person wasn’t very brazen because my Baby car and I won with no effort.

    Then it happened. I turned around and was going to make my victory run when I saw the blue lights.
    ‘Oh great….my big night here and boom….cops show up.’

    Before I could make a run for it, and even though I am a law abiding citizen, I was going to run for the hills….a police officer jumped out of his car and pointed his gun at me.

    ‘Oh crap.’

    I stopped.

    “Get out of the car with your hands up.”

    My heart was racing. My mind was going even faster…what would my family think?
    I slowly stepped out of the car.

    The young officer walked up to me and he raised his eyebrows, “Mrs. Demarcus? Is that you?”

    ‘Great, it’s little Joey from all those years of little league football.’

    My smile was weak, “Hi Joey, how are you? How’s your mom?”

    He cleared his throat and put his gun away.

    “You can put your arms down…..that was you driving?”

    I blushed, “what can I say….it’s mom’s little secret. Billy doesn’t know…”

    Joey grinned the same grin he always had when he tackled a quarterback, “Your secret is safe with me. Here’s what you do….get back in the car and drive off in the opposite direction.”

    “Gotcha…thanks Joey.” I was ready to drive off.

    Needless to say my racing career was short lived, but oh for that one moment of glory.

    1. Jay

      BBC? Big Bad Camaro? Big Block Chevy?? 😮

      Fun story, cl91. Makes me miss my Trans Am. </3

      I guess it's easy in a small town to get away with stuff like that… wish it was as simple over here.

      Thanks for sharing!

  24. jhowe

    Butte, Montana. April 4, 1987.

    Officer Mary Waite sat stunned on the cold ground, her own handcuffs cutting into her wrists behind her back. The lights of her cruiser flashed between gaps in the trees and she felt blood run into her eye. The perp toyed with the hammer on the cop’s service revolver, pointed it at her and made a popping sound with his lips.

    “So, what to do…what to do…” His voice was pleasant but aloof.

    “You won’t get away with this, you know.” Waite said, contrived bravado shining through.

    “Why’d you stop me? Broken tail light, speeding?”

    “You failed to stop at a red light.”

    “The light was yellow, but regardless… I run a red light and you die?”

    “There’s no need for anyone to die here, sir. Un-cuff me and I’ll let you go with a warning.”

    “Is that so?”

    Waite said nothing. He wasn’t going to buy it.

    “You were in your car a long time.” He brushed the barrel across her cheek. “Calling in the plate?”

    “No, I didn’t get a chance,” she said, her voice shaking.

    “You were worried about the red light. Is that why you had your gun drawn?”

    Waite hesitated. “The car was reported stolen.”

    “So you tell me to get out of the freaking car, gun drawn, all tough cop sh*t, and now you say you’ll let me off with a warning?”

    Tears streamed down the officer’s face. “What would you do? Tell me. Just sit here and get shot? Not even try?”

    “No, I’d try.” He shook his head. “If I don’t shoot you, what would you tell your superiors about the stop?”

    “That you overpowered me. That you hit me and then took my handcuffs and my gun and drove away.”

    “Yeah, sorry about the swat. Sometimes I get carried away, but why would I take your handcuffs?”

    “I don’t know, but they have your prints on them. I’m assuming you have priors.”

    The perp stared, tapping his forefinger on his chin and hummed the Underdog theme song.

    “I watched that, when I was a kid,” she said.

    “Yeah, we all did.”

    “I’ll give you twenty minutes, so ditch the car as soon as you can. Wipe down anything you touched. If you keep the car, you’ll get nailed before you get out of the county. If you leave any prints, they’ll know who you are.”

    “I don’t know,” he said, squeezing the bridge of his nose. “Isn’t this like breaking an oath or something?”

    “I’m counting on you keeping your mouth shut. Even if you get caught.” She nodded. “The key’s in my left front pocket. I’ll give them a bogus description.”

    He fished for the key, found it and unlocked the cuffs. “The light was yellow.”

    “The light was red,” she said, rubbing her wrists. “Consider yourself warned.”

    1. cl91

      Excellent story….I love the suspense and the description of the officer being handcuffed. I can feel her fear as she tries to reason. The last sentence is great!

    2. Jay

      I like the descriptions, jhowe. Solid. It starts off a bit gritty, but then gradually slides into a bit of dramatic suspense. I’m curious to know more about the bad guy, like what he did to get there and why he’s so easily able to overtake a cop with a gun pointed at him. Maybe a trained assassin? Perhaps just a very skilled serial killer?

      In any case, enjoyed the story. 🙂

    3. ReathaThomasOakley

      This got me right into Mary’s head, I think she is a wise woman who read the bad guy really well. The place and date were very specific, is this based on truth?

  25. chandra_wd_writer

    I haven’t written much in the past six months. I wrote this up in an hour or so, and it’s really great to be back to this forum. I really hope this one turned out to be a decent read 🙂

    “Wherever the voices take me.”

    I would never drive alone on a freeway in the night, and I would never go to a funeral alone. My phobias with death and being killed by a psycho in the night on a lonely freeway have a long history dating back to my pre-teen years. That’s as much as I would like to tell you now about what happened to my best friend Amanda back in the early eighties that possibly triggered my phobias. Retelling makes me relive the horror.

    When I received the phone call about the death of my grandfather, more than the grief, the fear of driving alone to his small town paralyzed me. I secretly spent sleepless nights thinking about this day since the last year after I heard he was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.

    Times like these make me regret the divorce with my husband. He was a nice man, but not as nice as I wanted him to be. Or maybe my phobias drove him crazy.

    The phone call came around four in the evening, and I was asked to reach by seven in the morning. It would become dark in an hour. It’s a seven-hour drive and an hour of it on the country roads of the Northern California through barren lands and empty roads.

    The first thing I did was to plug my phone to charge. It was 90% full, and my car does have a charger. But you just never know on a long drive. The last thing I wanted was a dead smart phone with me while I was stuck with a flat tire.

    I started at around six in the evening. Mostly thinking about ways to find a good excuse to not go. It was a Saturday. I ran out of my usual excuse about work and that important meeting. I knew I was just killing time and had no excuse to find.

    I packed dinner and a handful of water bottles. I stopped at Walgreens on the corner to buy an emergency kit. Smartphones have helped me with my phobias a little bit. You know you can just call roadside assistance from anywhere, and just hope that guy isn’t a psycho.

    I had the maps turned on even though I knew the roads well as I drove a few times with my uncle in the past five years or so. Mostly to visit my grandfather. Maps also make you feel there is an invisible passenger with you; always present and always taking care of you when you miss a turn or an exit.

    “Use right lane to take Exit 16,” the voice said just in time. Else I would have missed the turn only to add fifteen more minutes to this dreaded drive.

    It was close to midnight, and I would reach at 2.15 as per my maps.

    “Two more hours,” I said and banged the wheel with my palms as I unintentionally hit the horn. Then I honked a few times as it strangely relieved my obsessive fear.

    A few minutes later I heard a faint, distant siren. I honked a few times again to reassure myself and to distract myself from the siren. Neither the honking nor humming a song helped me after a minute as the siren became louder, and I saw a faint hint of flashing lights in my rearview mirror.

    “Probably a 911 call,” I told myself.

    I slowed down and stopped my car on the shoulder to let the emergency vehicle pass through.

    The car stopped right behind me, and I saw a cop emerge from it with a flashlight.

    I was speeding reasonably under the speed limits like any other driver does, and I honked a few times carelessly. Where on earth this cop was hiding in the night with radar?

    “Get out of your car with your hands up!” he shouted after he knocked on my window.

    “Seriously,” I said and shook my head. I obeyed his command nevertheless as he sounded determined.

    “On to your knees!” came another command.

    “I am going to a funeral, sir. I wouldn’t have driven fast otherwise. Also, I am scared to drive in the night alone. So I want to reach as soon as I can. I am sorry. I will be careful,” I said.

    He walked to the front of my car, flashed his torchlight on to the number plate, and surveyed my car carefully.

    “Give me your phone and get into my car. You are under arrest for a hit-and-run case. I see a dent in your front bumper, and I guess it matches with the incident that happened thirty minutes ago. The man is critically injured,” he announced like a news reader.

    I had no idea what to say. I hadn’t hit anyone for sure. I would have known even if I did hit someone in the dark. The jerk would have woken me up even if I fell asleep for a few seconds.

    “Can I see the bumper?” I asked him.

    “Yes, please,” he said and helped me with the flashlight by hovering it on the dent.

    I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the dent on my bumper. I remember it was alright when I inspected the car during my Walgreens stop. I stopped like an hour ago to use restroom near a deserted gas station. I did not inspect it then. But I was sure I did not hit anyone after that.

    I had no arguments to make. I did not take the pills too as they make me dizzy. But I started to believe that I fell asleep for a few moments.

    He took my phone from the car, and then I got into his car. It was my first time being in a cop’s car.

    He started the car, and I was living my nightmare.

    Is this cop a psycho? Is he really a cop even? Am I hallucinating? Is this a dream? I hope that man is alright. I hope I will reach in time for the funeral and…

    That’s exactly when my watch buzzed. Luckily for me, he did not notice my watch. I am not sure if he ever heard of smart watches.

    “Serial Killer on the Loose in Northern California. Impersonating as a Cop,” read the notification from the news app.

    “Can I use my phone, sir?” I asked with a composed voice.

    “No.”

    “Where are you taking me?”

    “Wherever the voices take me.”

    “The voices?”

    “Yes, the voices.”

    That was enough of a hint for my paranoid brain. I knew who he was.

    I called 911 from my watch after a few failed attempts as my shaky fingers hit the wrong numbers. I lowered the volume to zero.

    “Where are you taking me, sir?”

    “Wherever the voices take me,” he responded again. A bit louder this time.

    “Where are you taking me, sir?”

    Same answer from him. But this time, he turned back and shouted at his peak.

    “Sir, I haven’t hit anyone. You are probably mistaken. My bumper was already broken. Sir, please take me to the next police station.”

    “I know you haven’t hit anyone,” came his reply.

    “Then why are you arresting me, sir?”

    “I am not arresting you. I am not a cop,” he shouted and pulled the car onto the shoulder.

    The last thing I remember from the night is a loud bang on my head and the deafening echo in my ears. And the next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital three days after my grandfather’s funeral.

    I grabbed my phone and read the news. I was all over in the media, and I was hailed as a smart woman with a smart watch.

    Smart or not, I will never drive alone again. Ever. And I will never go to a funeral alone. Ever.

  26. Jay

    Long Drive

    With school over, it was time for this chick to head back home for the summer. I couldn’t wait to get back into my own bed and the quiet of my own home. Sure, dorm life has its perks, and it’s certainly a fun experience while it lasts, but there is a limit to the amount of chaos one can handle. As for me, I had reached that limit about a week too soon, and so going home, I was ready for a refreshing and calm summer.

    By the time I left campus, it was already dark. Looking through the windshield, I couldn’t see the stars because a fine layer of percolating clouds had moved in just that afternoon. I hoped to get home before the rain started, but as a single drop smacked the glass, I knew I was in for a dangerous drive.

    I opened the window to let some cool air in because I had always really liked the smell before (and during) a good rain. It was as I had predicted. Refreshing, cool, and comforting. In fact, it was almost too comforting. I closed the window because it was starting to make me sleepy, and I knew that I still had two hours of desert to go before I reached my parent’s house.

    Gradually, the road became slick, reflecting the headlights. This effect made me thirsty, and I was immediately glad I brought with me a lunch box with a premade, quartered sandwich and two bottles of water. It wasn’t my usual practice to be prepared for anything let alone a three hour car ride, but I knew I would be either thirsty or hungry or both, and I didn’t want to be in the unique position of being in the middle of nowhere thirsty as hell.

    Reaching to the back seat was no easy task because I was short, which meant my arms were short. Maybe they weren’t as handicapped as say a T-Rex, but you can be certain that I had to push against the floor with my feet to get far back enough to reach the handle. After feeling around for a moment, I finally snatched up the strap, and pulled the bag into the front seat.

    The cooler had one of those frozen ice packs in it, and so the water was cool and crisp. Some of it dripped down my chin and landed in my cleavage. It was cold, but it didn’t feel that bad. I was never the kind to get too cold, so a little icy water was pleasant in its own way.

    After capping my drink, I realized that the rain was dropping enough for me to need the wipers. The headlights were no longer cutting through the night, instead, a curtain of rain reduced my visibility to half. For this reason, I slowed. I had started this trip at eighty miles-per-hour even though the posted limit was seventy-five, and although I wasn’t exactly afraid of crashing, I was afraid of being stranded in the middle of nowhere with no one near enough to help.

    As the engine quieted, I felt a sudden coldness go through my body. I don’t know exactly what it was, but it felt like pure fear. It felt like needles in the back of my neck, like someone was stabbed me, but that wasn’t the worst part, it was then that I saw the red and blue lights begin flashing behind the car. This overwhelming oh, sh*t sensation came over me, and I slowed the car even more.

    When the Chevy was finally stopped, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I had only one other interaction with a police officer in my life, and his name was Red, a man who frequented the bars back near my college. While the exposure to that side of the blue wall was more than pleasant, I doubted this one would even come close to it.

    As tired as I was, I had no idea I was dead tired. When I opened my eyes, the spotlight in the review was bright; in fact, it was almost too bright. The cop approached on the left side, which I thought was unusual since I figured she’d want to come from there other side where she was less likely to be hit by a car.

    When she reached my door and I looked up at her, she suddenly pulled her gun on me. Fear put my tired, aching body into overdrive, and I suddenly tensed up.

    She screamed as she moved toward the front of the vehicle, “Get out of the car! Now!”

    I put my hands up, and stepped out. My legs were weak. I had been driving, but because I had used the cruise control, I didn’t move my legs much. Embarrassingly enough, my legs gave out, my knees drove into the ground, and I winced in pain.

    “Get the f*ck on the ground!”

    Harsh, I thought, but I was in too much pain to care. I laid down, scared half out of my mind that I was going to become another statistic. I was going to get shot, and my family was going to find me on the news tomorrow. Cop murders Jessica Martin, the tabloids would say.

    I kept my eyes locked on the cop, and she said something into the radio attached to her shoulder. She then proceeded to grab the handcuffs from her belt, and walked toward me. To be honest, I had no idea what I did, and maybe I was a strong girl growing up, but at that moment, there wasn’t anything else I could do but let my fear and anxiety take over. A moment later, this girl passed the hell out.

    When I woke, I was in the back of an ambulance. I guess when you pass out, it’s mandatory that they call for medical help. Of course, that was the mandtatory reason, and I wasn’t so lucky.

    The cop was sitting in the back of the ambulance with me, and when she saw that my eyes had opened, she scowled at me. She said, “Are you okay?”

    My mouth was dry, and my voice was sticky and hoarse. “Yeah, I guess.”

    She said, “You’re not hurt.”

    I supposed she wanted to make sure I was okay so I wouldn’t press charges against her. After all, she did manage to scare me half to death. However, I was awake and alive. There wasn’t anything better at that moment than the sweet sound and smell of the rain.

    I said, “I’m fine.”

    She said, “You were out for a long time.”

    “It feels like it. My head hurts.”

    “I bet it does,” she said, and smiled briefly.

    I looked passed her, and there was a man in cuffs talking to another officer. I said, “Who’s that?”

    The officer hesitated. “Warren Hicks.”

    “Who?”

    “Near as I can tell,” she said, and held out for a dramatically long pause, “not a good person. When I pulled you over for speeding, I swear to god I thought you was alone.”

    “I what?” I said. The confusion from passing out was still pretty strong, and I didn’t really grasp what she was trying to tell me.

    She continued, “Mr. Hicks over there was in your back seat. Saw him back there with a knife in his hand, and couldn’t take a chance, so I drew my weapon.”

    I felt my heart hit harder than ever. My face felt numb for the first time in ages as if I had just weathered a searing wind in a subzero climate. “He was what?”

    “My guess, ma’am, is that he was hiding back there. Had a syringe with him, too. EMT tells me he stuck you with it. God only knows what was in there. I was afraid you was never gonna wake up and I was gonna have a murder on my hands.”

    I felt my face get even colder. The cop put a hand on mine, and smiled. She said, “I’m just glad you’re all right, honey. They’re confident you’ll be okay, but they’ll take you to the hospital down the road to check you out.”

    I smiled thinly and looked passed her. Warren Hicks, a man who would later plead guilty to hiding in the back of four other women’s cars, drugging them, r*ping them, and finally murdering them. Maybe just then, as I sat in the back of that ambulance, I had no idea how lucky I really was. I could have been his fifth, and I’m thankful every night that I wasn’t.

    1. Pete

      The master strikes again. While the first few paragraphs were great, I was wondering, “where is this going?” But I had no idea. Well put together, Jay, the subtle hints along the way make me want to read it again.

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