Wednesday, 26 August 2009
BUS STOP - by Christopher Grant
Five in the morning. The bus stop is three minutes from my house. I come out the front door.
"Fuck!" It's muggy as shit. Yesterday, I could have worn a winter coat, blowing smoke like I was. Today, I should be going to work naked. Gonna need a shower when I get there.
It's getting near to fall and the sun doesn't come up for another hour and a half, so it's pitch black out here. Only the clouds and the heat and the dark and I inhabit this world.
My luck, the bus is probably running late. I get to the stop, look at my watch, illuminated with a press of a button on its side. Seven minutes, ten minutes, who the fuck knows when it's coming.
There's very little traffic at this time of the morning and it's rare that anyone else is out here with me. But today is a little different. While there's no traffic, I can make out a shadow approaching where I'm standing.
Blond frosted hair. That's about the only thing that identifies the shadow. It stops just off my right shoulder. I've never had anyone else stand at this stop with me and, at five in the morning, in pitch dark, I'm getting paranoid.
The shadow gives me justification.
"Don't do anything stupid," it says. The voice sounds like it might belong to a woman, a little higher pitched than you'd attribute to a man. "All I want is the cash."
I've got a little over a hundred dollars on me. Lunch money, magazine and book cash. I was planning on getting flowers for Jeannie on the way home.
"Turn towards me real slow," the shadow says.
When I get in the position the shadow wants me, I look directly at the gun, not the face of my mugger. The piece of metal is so dark it looks like an extension of the shadow's arm.
The shadow leans into me and that's when I decide to make my move. I grab for the gun, try to pry it from the shadow's fingers, try to at least twist it away from being pointed in my direction. The mugginess of the morning is making that difficult, my fingers slipping over sweaty skin. With my other hand, I try to shove the jaw and head of the shadow upward, trying to hyper-extend its entire body.
I manage to use my leg to trip the shadow backwards and down to the concrete. Fortunately, I land on top of the shadow, forcing the air out of its lungs as we hit. The gun is easier to get at now and, soon, it's in my hand.
I put the gun to the shadow's head.
"Don't," it begs me.
With my face so close to its face, I can see that it's a young woman. Even in the dark, I can see the fear in her eyes.
"Why me?" I ask her, still holding the gun to her skull.
"Nothing personal," she says. "If not you, someone else."
The bus decides to show up just then, the orange flasher coming on as it pulls into the stop.
BIO: Christopher Grant is the editor and publisher of A Twist Of Noir. For the record, he has never been mugged at a bus stop. His fiction can be found at Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers, Powder Burn Flash and The Flash Fiction Offensive.