Run or Stay (Flash Fiction Challenge)

Your spouse has just been shot by a nearby assailant right before your eyes. You’re probably next to be shot at. Do you run or stay?


In a flash everything is hotter. The high sun. The shouting. The parking lot. The trace of a hot breeze. The back of my neck. Hot. Hot with anguish and confusion. I see the dark barrel in someone’s hands. It too looks hot.

My wife’s face, unrecognizable, is a sweaty mess, her mouth agape with screaming eyes while frightened strands of hair cling to her forehead. Is the warm blood pooling around her beginning to boil against the hot pavement? Quick! Decide!

In a flash everything is colder. The shading from a crowd of unrecognizable faces provides a comfortable coolness. White sheets flowing in the wind, so clean and cool, like ghosts chasing lost souls. The sun is dimming, not so bright, as my eyes pool with coolness filled with contentment. I breathe. Deep. Hard. Cool. My wife’s hand is as cold as mine. She and I are together. And we are not so lost.


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