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Plymouth, Devon, United Kingdom
West Country author, winner of Piatkus Entice award for historical fiction 2012.

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Saturday, February 08, 2014

Very Short Story: Time-Lapse

For the first time in what feels like forever, I have written a short story which I will be taking along to my first meeting with a writing group I am hoping to join. We were given a theme of "shadows" and a word count limit of 500 which, for me, felt pretty much impossible. But having pared down an old short of mine from 3,500 to 2,000 last night, to fit in with an online showcase site, I felt like giving this a shot today. 
What I would like to know, either in comments here or on my Facebook page once I post this link, is if it works. It's to be read aloud, and I was going for tension and atmosphere over storyline really.
Any thoughts appreciated, it's been a long time!






Time-Lapse.
I want to apologise, but although the words form, there is no use in uttering them. Steven’s eyes are fixed on mine, devoid of expression – the opportunity for contrition, however false, has passed. Beyond him, stretching across the wooden floor, I can see the spiky silhouettes of bare tree-branches; the fast-moving clouds outside make it feel as if I'm in a time-lapse movie, where the shadows tell lies and the passage of time is not what it seems. This minute has lasted hours.
 I look straight into Steven’s eyes; he doesn’t blink.

Blackmail’s an ugly word, but embezzlement’s even uglier, and I wouldn’t have asked the earth anyway; a modest couple of thousand would have got me out of the hole I’m in, and would have been a small price for him to pay. I’d just needed the notebook with the numbers – easy pickings for someone with a spare key.
 But timing is everything. Hearing his own key in the lock, I’d frozen with one hand in the desk drawer, my mind crawling over a hundred reasons why I was there, none of them believable. Then, with relief, I’d noticed his mobile phone on the coffee table. He’d be two minutes at most, then he’d be gone again – I was under the sofa before the thought was complete.
But he’d been playing bigger fish on his line than me, after all, and he wasn’t alone. I’d heard raised voices, and pleading words falling from Steven’s lips until they were cut short by a dull thump. He’d crashed to the floor, face-down, his eyes wide and empty and just inches from my own. No excuses needed. I’d shoved my fist in my mouth and choked back a scream, and waited with a fast-hammering heart for the gunman to crouch down, to check he’d done his job, and to see me, terrified and doubtless white-faced, staring back at him. But he was confident, and merely nudged the limp form with a grubby boot.

I lie here now, my own breath coming damply back at me from the floor, and the only sound is the muted beep of Steven’s phone sending a message. Confirmation of the job done, or lure for unsuspecting victim? There is no way of knowing.
The gunman sits down to wait.
The tree-shadows creep across the floor for real now, reaching the gunman’s feet and painting his boots with jagged black lines. Strangely detached, maybe simply numb with shock, I watch them with cold fascination; every inch they move brings us all closer to death, and I have never been so aware of my life leaching away. My limbs ache, my throat is tightened against the dust .. and then I hear footsteps outside the door.
The first fierce surge of relief gives way to gut-clenching panic. Whoever comes through that door will see the gunman, then Steven, and then they will see me. Friend or foe, one of us dies within the minute.

 The shadows move.



4 comments:

شركة صيانة تنظيف said...

شركة مكافحة حشرات بحائل

sayd said...

ركن سيف لخدمات التنظيف ومكافحة الحشرات
شركة كن سيف[ تاتى لكم اليوم الموافق 5\5\2018 خدمات فى قمم الإمتياز من حيث الجودة المرتبة نحن شركة تنظيف بالاحساء تلك الشركة هى الشركة رقم 1 فى المملكة والتى دائماً ما تعتمد على تقنيات ذات رقى رفيع , تعتمد كذالكشركة مكافحة حشرات على معدات حديثة للغاية مستورده وذالك للحصول على خدمة تنظيف متقدمة كما اننا نقدم والتى هى شركة فى قائمة افضل 10 شركات فى المملكة لمكافحة الآفات المتواجدة فى الاماكن الخاصة والعامة والاراضى وهكذا نكون قد انهينا رحلتنا فى الاعلان عن افضل شركة مكافحة وتنظيف المنازل بالاحساء .

على جمال said...

شركة مكافحة حشرات ورش مبيدات ومكافحة الحمام بالرياض
تقدم افضلشركة رش مبيدات بالرياض
نقوم بستخدام افضل مبيداتشركة رش دفان بالرياض
تعتبر عمليه التخلصشركة مكافحة الفئران بالرياض القوارض بأشكالها وأنواعها المختلفه
شركة مكافحة الثعابين بالرياض
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالرياض
شركة مكافحة الصراصير بالرياض
شركة مكافحة الناموس بالرياض
شركة مكافحة بق الفراش بالرياض
شركة مكافحة النمل الاسواد بالرياض
شركة مكافحة الحمام بالرياض
شركة رش مبيدات بالخرج






Ahmed Mary said...



بعد التحيه شركة شام تقدم لجميع عملائها خبر سار بمناسبة موسم الحج حيث تقدم الشركة خصومات هائله علي خدمة
شركة تمديد غاز بالرياض
وقد حرصت الشركة علي تغطية مدينة الرياض كامله وما حولها من مدن وذا بسبب درايتنا لمدي احتياج الاهالي لتلك الخدمه ، مع شركة شام سوف تحصل علي كل ما تريد وبالشكل الذي تريده فلا تقلق ولا تحتار فشركة شام هي افضل اختيار .