The wind ruffled his hair. She liked how it sent his fringe tumbling over his eyes. This would be the last time she saw him looking like this, strong, handsome, his skin glowing with the last rays of a dramatic sunset. As if sensing her gaze he turned to face her. Sadness tinged his eyes. ‘Are you having doubts?’
‘No,’ she shook her head. ‘Though it is a long way down and the river fast flowing.’
‘It is, but we are together. That’s all that matters.’ He reached for her hand. Their shoulders touched as they sat on the railing of a bridge. They looked down at the raging river below them. The breeze smelled sweetly of honeysuckle. ‘Scared?’
‘A little,’ she tried to look nonchalant, swinging her bare legs over the gorge.
‘We don’t have to jump you know.’
‘But you’ll think I’m a coward.’
‘No I won’t,’ he laughed. ‘Anyway, other people have done it, and survived.’
‘Yes,’ he leaned in to kiss her. ‘You do trust me?’ A flicker of apprehension crossed his face.
‘I do, I love you!’
‘Good,’ she felt him squeeze her hand.
‘Let’s do this!’ She followed his lead and slid her body over the railing. She screamed into the cool evening as her foot slipped, threatening to send her over prematurely. He threw an arm out to stop her, though she lost a shoe, and watched as it somersaulted towards a watery landing. Nervously they turned to face the tumultuous waters below. Holding hands grimly and with sirens blaring in the distance like birdsong, they stepped out into the air.
24 hours earlier…
He still held the gun. His hand shook as he pointed the smoking barrel towards the man who lay at his feet. ‘Put the gun down, Jack!’ His girlfriend shouted, her voice cracking with tension.
‘I can’t, Aimee,’ Jack’s face had turned ashen grey.
‘Oh F**k I think he’s dead! Oh F**k!’ Jack looked at the body slumped face down before him. ‘Let’s go. I’ve already called the police!’ Moments earlier Jack and Aimee, were stepping out of a restaurant laughing freely at an inside joke. The smell of grilled fish lingered in the air. ‘You are awful!’ Aimee playfully punched Jack’s arm before feeling his hands around her waist pulling her towards him. She closed her eyes as he nuzzled her neck.
‘Just give us your f**king money, lovebirds!’ Aimee opened her eyes to the contorted face of a man. He pointed the muzzle of a gun angrily at their faces. ‘Your money, now!’ Aimee clutched at her bag which the man eyed covetously.
‘I don’t think so,’ laughed Jack, moving his body in front of Aimee’s to shield her.
‘Jack!’ Aimee nervously placed a hand on his shoulder.
‘I’m not afraid to use this!’ The man waved the gun carelessly.
‘I think you are.’ Jack edged closer to the man. He was a scrawny, runt, it would be easy for Jack to overpower him.
‘I mean it!’ The man cocked the gun and aimed it at Jack’s chest.
‘Jack, let’s just do what he wants.’ Deaf to Aimee’s pleas, Jack rushed forward. He reached for the gun with one hand and used the full force of his body to unbalance the man. Aimee shrieked! Both men grunted as they struggled. Reaching into her bag, Aimee pulled out her mobile phone. She started pushing at numbers, hastily talking to the operator.
‘Police please, an armed robbery.’ Aimee finished the call as Jack spun round, in his hand he triumphantly waved the weapon.
‘Unlike you, I am not afraid to use this!’
‘You wouldn’t dare!’
‘Jack! Don’t be stupid!’
‘Yes, Jack, don’t be stupid!’ The man mimicked. ‘Look,’ he supplicated. ‘Let’s all go our separate ways. That way no one get’s hurt.’
‘What? And let a snivelling c**t like you, continue to roam the streets!’ The man looked offended.
‘It’s not like I wouldn’t follow you. Find out where you live.’ He eyed Aimee lasciviously. There came a flash of light, like someone had taken a photograph. A loud crack reverberated around the car park. Aimee watched as the man crumpled to the ground like a demolished building. He lay still. A deafening silence followed.
‘Why did you pull the trigger?’ Aimee cried.
‘It just went off in my hand.’
‘Oh f**k!’ Aimee watched as blood pooled around the body. ‘We’ve got to get out of here before the police arrive,’ she pulled at Jack’s arm. He blinked like he had just woken up from a dream.
‘Let’s get to the car.’
‘What are you doing with the gun? You can’t take it with us!’ Jack had flicked the safety catch, tucking the weapon into the waistband of his jeans.
‘Just get in the car.’ He fired up the engine.
‘How do you know how to handle a gun like that!’
‘We handled lots of firearms on the farm. It’s no big deal.’ He sidled the car onto the main road, switching the headlights on when they were away from the scene. Bumper to bumper in traffic they both watched as a cavalcade of sirens flashed past them, heading in the opposite direction.
‘What are we going to do?’ Aimee dabbed at her wet cheeks. ‘Can we even go home?’ Jack shrugged.
‘Damn there’s cameras everywhere! We’re going to have to ditch the car.’
‘We can ditch it somewhere near my brother’s, then borrow one of his cars.’
‘My grandmother has a place in Snowdonia, we can go there for the time being. Lay low for a bit.’
‘Sounds like a plan.’
‘Do you think someone saw us?’ Jack sighed.
‘I have no doubt.’
© Christine Lucas 2016.
The story behind the story:
I was inspired to write the above after reading Taya’s short fragment of dialogue (the bridge scene) on her blog page, Dragonition. She has some fantastic ideas on her blog for writers of any ability. Go check it out!
I found the task quite challenging. To take someone else’s idea and change it into my own was harder than I imagined.
I read quite a lot but not everything inspires me to tinkle on the keyboard. Yet, I have so many characters and scenes flitting around my head at present; so this exercise came at the right moment for me. It’s been very cathartic. Who knows, I may even try and add to the narrative and elaborate on why I’ve used a tarot card for the title.
I hope you have enjoyed reading it? Let me know in the comments any thoughts you may have.