Charlie leaned his head against the wall, bouncing it against the bricks, trying to jump start his brain. He felt his nose twitch, a tingling on the tip that told him his head was about to explode.


The sneeze came out with such force that it made his ribs hurt. He bent at the waist, putting one hand back to keep his balance and hoped that it wouldn’t happen again. Bits of stone rained down on his shoulders and he wondered why as he looked back at the wall.

There was a hole in the wall where his head had been before the sneeze.

Charlie darted across the alley, spinning and putting his back against the other wall. He would have admitted that he would reconsider how much he hated sneezing the next time it happened. He had never imagined that it might save his life. Those thoughts were for later though. Now he had to get away.

The alley was clean. There weren’t any doors or dumpsters to hide behind. When he looked forward, he looked up. A man with a rifle walked across the roof and took aim. He knew he needed to run, but he couldn’t. Charlie froze and watched the sniper take aim.


“So you didn’t realize I was here with you?”

Bill lowered the rifle and looked behind him. A tall, slim man with a black bikers jacket stood ten feet away, hands empty and hanging at his side.

“Go away and let me finish this job, or I’ll put a bullet in you and hunt the snitch down again later.”

“You won’t be killing anyone else.”

Bill turned all the way around, lowering the gun as he did so. The slim man smiled at him, but didn’t move. “Why won’t I?”

“Because you are destined for prison.”

“There isn’t anyone else up here. I don’t see any other snipers around. How are you going to take me to prison?”

The slim man lifted his hands out to either side. Both empty. Both harmless. “I didn’t say I was going to take you to prison. I said you are destined for prison.”

Bill smiled out of one side of his mouth. “What’s the difference?”

“The prison has come to you.”

The slim man took a step and Billy lifted the gun to his shoulder.


Charlie watched the sniper turn his back on him. His mind screamed at him to run, but he couldn’t move.

The man stood there for a minute, jerked the gun back up to his shoulder, and then he disappeared. Charlie heard something, like a big bird screeching on a nature show, before a flash of light made him think a bomb had just went off on the roof. He waited, staring, but nobody came back into view. There was no sounds other than the people starting their days and driving to work. Charlie thought he could smell something sweet, but he wasn’t sure. 

He stood, until the rain started, and then he headed to his car.

“Maybe I should just get out of town for a while.”

  1. February 10, 2016 at 11:52 AM

    Very nice flash! 🙂

    • February 10, 2016 at 2:24 PM

      Thank you. I’m glad to hear it.

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