Chased. Short Story.

Christy sat on the pew, her eyes closed and her head down. To a casual observer it would look as though she was deep in prayer, but she wasn’t praying. Well, not directly any way. The church was silent, save for the soft, gentle footsteps of other parishioners. The bench was cold and hard, but it was a seat and she was thankful for the rest, even if it would be brief. The room was ornately decorated, paintings adorning the walls, stained glass filling the windows, but she saw none of it. The day outside was bright and the gloom inside the church was intense. She had been too tired, to weary to allow her eyes to adjust, as soon as she could make out the rough shape of the pews, she went directly too them. Candles tried in vain to dispel the darkness, but their soft, rosy glow could only do so much.

Her breathing had finally slowed, long, deep breaths had replaced the quick panicky ones. She was cooler in here too, it was a relief, being out of the sun. She shivered slightly, enjoying the sensation. It had been a long, long day, and it wasn’t over yet. She had been running, running away from everything and everyone. She didn’t know if she was being chased or not, but she suspected she was. There no one she could talk to. They’d think she was deranged, she wondered herself is she was still sane. Her legs were tired and sore, she had actually ran today, she couldn’t remember the last time she had run. Not since she was a teenager anyway. Finally, she stood, she needed to keep moving. Her legs were slightly shaky but still supported her. She moved around the pews slowly, not really wanting to leave.

The sunlight was jarring after the darkness of the church, she squinted her eyes, trying to see. She didn’t think anyone had seen her go into the church, but there was no real way to be sure. She looked around at the milling people, but she recognised none of the faces. She moved away from the door uncertainly, then joined the crowd. She wanted to run again, but Christy knew that would just draw attention to herself. She tried to stick with the crowd, move in the same general direction, though she didn’t know where she was actually going. She never really thought about it before, she didn’t have time to think about it. Where could she go? There was no one she could go to, no where that would be safe. She slipped out of the crowd and into a coffee shop. She was thirsty and slightly hungry now. She went inside and ordered a coffee and a sandwich. She took out her card to pay, then paused. Could they track her card? She put it back in her wallet and took out some money. She found a table in the corner and sat down, facing the door. She ate quickly, devouring the sandwich in a few bites, she took a gulp from her coffee after it cooled, she was quite thirsty after the food. As she drank her drink, she looked in her wallet, then counted out the money she had. Not much, seventy Euro. It was far more than she would usually have, she intended to stop off somewhere and have a look for a present for Janice. She looked at the cards in her wallet, all useless now. She didn’t know if they could track it, but she didn’t want to risk it. Taking her coffee, she left the shop and found an ATM. She joined the queue, looking around nervously the entire time. When her turn came, she withdrew as much money as she could, then quickly left. She went to three different ATM machines, using different cards and withdrawing as much as possible. When she was done, she put the cards in her now empty coffee cup and threw it in the bin. She didn’t really care if someone else found them, but wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible when she threw them away. The money in her accounts was useless to her now any way.

She felt slightly better now with the money, she could survive for a while at least. Surely there were hostels she could stay in cheaply. Things would work out. She’d find somewhere to stay, regroup and figure out what she would do. Though it didn’t seem as though she could do much of anything really. She didn’t know who was following her, not really. There was no reason to follow her in the first place, she was uninteresting, nothing special, she knew that, but for some reason they had chosen her. She had been noticing it more and more recently, the same people following her in different cars, people in the grocery shop staring at her, making notes. Little things in her house being different. The vase by the window moved slightly to the side, as though someone knocked it, footprints in the muck in her garden. She had dismissed it all, of course she did, what else could she do? She had dismissed it until this morning, when two men tried to grab her. Right off the street, in broad day light no less. She managed to get away, she wasn’t quite sure how, it was all a blur, but she had gotten away. She was lucky in a way, no kids or husband to worry about, but maybe that’s why they chose her, no real family, few friends. Her parents had died a few years ago, both living to their mid sixties. She had never gotten married, at first, she was happy enough as she was, focusing on college and then work, she was alone most of the time, but there was a difference between being alone and being lonely and then suddenly everything seemed to have passed her by and she didn’t have time for any of that, then she didn’t know how to begin. She had had boyfriends in the past, never anything too serious or long lasting, but how do you find people at her age? Sure there were dating sites and all that, but they were cold, heartless. She wanted that magical moment. She had conceded that she was being a little naïve in hoping for it, but it didn’t stop her. She was happy, most of the time anyway, and really, that was important, at least it was to her.

Christy was crossing the road, lost in thought when the car slammed into her. She didn’t know what had happened, she was walking, then she wasn’t. she was floating. How could she be floating? Pain sudden, bright, intense. She was on the ground, cold. How did she get on the ground? People gathered around her, the car sped off, never slowing. People moved in and out of her vision, saying words, they meant something, but she couldn’t figure out what. She knew she was in trouble. She should be in pain, but there was none. She couldn’t move, she was tired, weak. Darkness was fighting her, begging to be let in. She closed her eyes and invited it in with open arms.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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