Tuesday Ten – Hall

Each week, we will spend ten minutes writing and attempting to complete a flash story. We hope that the exercise will allow us to grow as writers, as well as provide a small amount of entertainment for you. Further, we hope to inspire you to do the same.

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Proceed Until Apprehended

It started out as a silly comment made between business partners. Lance had been unsure of just how far they could push into the market before some of their competitors would take notice and come after them.

“Proceed until apprehended,” Ruth told him.

Stupid Ruth. At the time he’d been taken by her smile and that mischievous twinkle in her green eyes. And so they went forward with their business plan, foot stomped firmly down on the accelerator. It was how Ruth drove and how she lived, and Lance simply couldn’t get enough.

“Stop right there!”

The booming voice shocked Lance out of his memory and brought his focus back on the present. He was sweating and breathing heavily, sprinting across an open field with a satchel of money tucked under one arm. How did the cops find him so fast?

“I will shoot!”

Ruth had assured him that unless they felt their life was threatened, the cops wouldn’t actually shoot. So he ran on, cursing himself every step for listening to her. For all he knew, she was making up the whole thing about the cops not shooting, and in a matter of seconds he’d have a few bullets tearing through him.

But at least it was a good run. He could hear Ruth’s voice echo in his mind. He didn’t find it charming or exciting anymore. She was his devil, a haunting specter that hovered over his every move. Even when she wasn’t around, she was there, convincing him to make all the wrong moves and do all the wrong things.

When he came to the embankment he didn’t even hesitate. His only hope was doing something so dumb that the cop wouldn’t follow along. Lance hopped onto the low concrete wall and then propelled himself off. He had no idea how deep the creek was or where it led. He wasn’t even sure how far down it was. All he knew was that he wasn’t going to prison. Not for her.

The water was ice cold, and the rocky bottom of the creek was bone breakingly hard. He hit shoulder first, breaking it. The satchel of money slipped from his now broken arm. He flailed his good arm, trying to grab it, but it was gone in an instant. Carried away on the waters by the current. By fate. Cruel, stupid, giving him exactly what he deserved, fate.

Just as he’d hoped, the cop didn’t follow him into the creek. Lance thought about trying to swim after the satchel, but he was already losing feeling in his limbs. Besides, as he looked around he no longer saw the satchel. He pulled himself out on the far side of the creek and scurried up the embankment.

There waiting just where she’d said, was Ruth. She started the car and stuck her head out the window.

“Where’s the money?” she asked.

He was cradling his arm and didn’t answer. She realized what happened and put the car into gear. He stopped running as soon as he realized what she intended to do. The wheels screamed and whined as they spun for a moment, then the car leapt forward and sped away.

His devil was gone, and he was all alone.

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