Followed?

“What happened then?” The officer scowls. “You don’t know? We need you to remember. Sit down … very good.”


It isn’t until you stumble into the bench discovering your unlaced shoe that you notice. The man in blue from earlier is studying W.H. Smith’s window. It doesn’t fit.

But… he can’t be following you… that doesn’t fit either. Rubbing the soon-to-be bruise on your knee, you straighten. You need to check.

Your gaze settles on the multi-coloured canopies of the market. The throng of people and multitude of avenues will prove or loose your follower. If you have one.

Your stomach responds to the smell of fish and chips. You ignore it. Deep in the heart of the stalls you pause. Picking up a mirror, you check behind you. He isn’t there. Air whooshes from your lungs. You were over-reacting. Replacing the mirror, you turn and traipse back to Royal Arcade, wiping your palms on your jeans.

Three strides beyond the arches, the chocolate in the shop window is too tempting to ignore. Just a little box.

At the counter you select the individual delicacies. Before the box is closed you extract one with a grin. It settles on your tongue to melt; a creamy sweet heaven.

You step back into the stream of people, take two paces and stop. There he is. Studying the hare sculpture. You swallow the chocolate. Your pulse thunders in your ears.

The next shop is empty. You have to get closer before you can hide. Amidst a clutter of contents you try to focus. He fills your mind instead.

Who is he? You don’t recognise him. Is he following you? Why!?

A spiral stair offers you the chance of a better view. Gasping for breath you cross to the window. He is gone… no… he’s sitting at a table of the café. Looking round, glancing at his phone.

You have to get away, get home. To do that, you have to pass him. Your stomach churns. Beads of sweat gather in your armpit. You have no choice.

You take a deep breath to steady the pulse. Perhaps he doesn’t want you. Perhaps it is all coincidence; he is waiting for someone.

Returning to the stairs, you slip back into the flow of people. A couple with a pushchair, a toddler and an armful of bags provide cover. They stop at the hare. Too soon. You keep going, flashing the sculpture a glance. His table is empty.

Your breath catches.

‘Don’t panic’. You chant quietly.

Your strides extend. Beyond the columns, up the slope to the castle is your escape. Your bus. You pass the mural and turn left. Footsteps pound behind you.

“Wait!”

Your heart leaps. You don’t look; you run. Someone steps out in front of you. You swerve, hitting his shoulder. You stagger. Hands reach for you. You hit them away. A fist closes round your arm. You pull away. You’re falling. Engines rumble. Voices shout.
Brakes squeal.


“So… what happened?”

Followed?

KMorral

Beccles, United Kingdom

  • Artist
    Notes

Artist's Description

I wrote this as a competition entry for the Noirwich Crime literature flash fiction competition which had to be set in Norwich or Norfolk. It gave me the opportunity to try the second person narrative that I have read about, thought about but had no idea how to operate. So I used it here, trying to give the reader the final choice. Do you want to have been in an accident? Do you want to have been pushed? Do you want to have caused an accident to someone else? The ending is up to you. What happened?

It took much heart rending editing to get down to 500 words exactly, and in uploading this I think that perhaps I did cut out some crucial description in the opening few sentences – I had 10% leeway I discovered too late!

This has inspired me to take up a flash fiction pen, including more exploration of the 2nd person narrative… so lets see where this takes me!!

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