Sunday, 16 June 2019

Write-In 2019: 'Twenty Years Late' by Stuart Atkinson

The ring from the wall phone echoed down the hall. The lost souls edged past their front doors and eyed the disruption. It seldom rang. The residents of Jury Hall had few acquaintances and even fewer friends.

I lifted the receiver watched by numerous listless eyes. A soft voice contrasted with the clamorous sound that had suddenly ceased. It asked for my name. I hesitated, and with good reason, Jury Hall was a place where you kept your identity to yourself.

The voice was calmly insistent. The watching eyes flickered into life; they knew something was up.

‘I know you killed the old guy.’

I hugged the earpiece. Those eyes have ears and they had started to move towards me.

My heart was racing, the thumps travelled up to my dry mouth. Surely the earpiece would detect my fear. I tried to gather my thoughts, but nothing came.

Then after a long pause,

‘October 1999, that old man didn’t deserve to die.’

I turned to face the residents, who had advanced into hearing range, and yelled for them to return to their miserable bolt holes. They slunk away.

 ‘Fifty thousand for silence,’ still calm but then with a hint of menace, ‘or I spill.’

The old man had tried to be a hero. One of those busy bodies who pokes their nose in. I had put him in the recovery position before I ran.

‘Well……?’ now with full-blown menace.

My mind raced, what a fool. I should have blasted him again. Young stupid and too soft. Now twenty years later someone had acted on his dying words.

A few doors opened, and eyes appeared. Face flushed I slammed the receiver down.

‘Wrong number,’ I blurted out, to unconvinced eyes.

It was time to leave.

No comments:

Post a Comment