The Writer's Block is a monthly column where we feature a piece of fiction submitted by our readers. This is the second part of Tre Tennyson’s The Story, click here for part one. To find out how your writing could be featured, scroll to the bottom of the page.
“Shit!” The man swiftly lifted the bat off the floor and ran towards the boy, immediately placing a protective arm over his chest and holding him firm against the wall. The footsteps grew louder, and the boy listened carefully, feeling the familiar thrust of his quickened heartbeat lurch inside his chest. The man’s breathing too, he noticed, grew rapid, and his tightly muscled arm grew hot with sweat against the boy’s midsection.
The footsteps then seemed to stop all at once. Silence, again, had claimed the building, yet there was a peculiar thickness in the air. The boy listened carefully. He’d learned this before, to listen for breathing or shifting or any sign of someone there. It was common, the silence before. He imagined that they too were doing the same as him, listening for breathing or shifting or any sign of someone there, and so the boy held himself in stillness. His breathing slowed. His sweat seemed to freeze. The man too, he realized, had grown calmer, the heat of his protective arm giving way to coolness, his breathing soft and inaudible. He raised the paper clip to the level of his chin and watched as the man’s fingers tightened around the bat and listened as the footsteps came tumbling down the stairs.
The man stepped out with the bat raised to the level of his shoulder and swung out hard against the dark. The boy heard the dangerous thud of metal as the body from the stairs was thrown against the wall. And the man, unstopping, threw his bat against the body a second time but missed and hit the wall instead. The boy called out, and the man turned just as the body threw itself against him, knocking him off his feet and sending the bat spiraling onto the floor, where it rattled to an uneasy stop. The boy watched the man reach for the bat as the body grabbed him by the leg and punched him hard behind the ankle. The man screamed, and the boy screamed too. The body punched the man again behind the ankle and again behind the knee, and the man curled and uncurled on the ground, his anguished face passing in and out of the firelight.
To be continued...
Want your writing featured in our fiction column? Craft a 300-400 word story around the prompt and send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org before October 16.
Prompt: Your character has awoken on a train filled with strangers. In the distance, dangling between two pieces of luggage overhead, he or she glimpses a slip of paper bearing his or her name in an unfamiliar handwriting…
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