Protector. Flash Fiction.

Jacob stopped walking, he put his hand on his stomach and shuddered,
“Let’s go back, I don’t feel well.”
“You always say that. You’re fine it’s just nerves.”
“I know but I really don’t want to be here. I think I’m going to throw up.”
Danny sighed, “you do this almost every time, why do you even bother coming?”
“I’m sorry look you can go on if you like, I’ll just hang out at the car, keep a look out.”
“No, c’mon we’ll head back. I can always come back here later myself.”
“Yeah. I am sorry though. I thought it would be good, that’d help me get over some of this anxiety. Like I know we’re not gonna get caught, we’ve never been caught, hell we haven’t even had a close call really but I don’t know. It was getting better for a while though.”
“I know. I’m sorry, it’s just been so long since we’ve had to bail and I really thought you’d gotten over the worst of it.”
“So did I. I don’t know what it is about this place, I just really don’t want to be here.”
“Ok, we’ll head back to the car.”
Together they turned and started walking, torches illuminating the ground. Around them tall hulking buildings loomed in the shadows. The factory had been abandoned twenty years ago, declining production and a string of avoidable accidents had send it under, at least according to everything Danny could find.
“I did get some cool photos at least. Probably better off I didn’t climb one the buildings.”
“ugh yeah, I always hate when you do that.”
“It’s not a big deal, I’ve been climbing stuff since I was a kid, it isn’t that hard.”
“Yeah, but these places are old, rotting, what if you slipped or something broke off in your hand?”
“Well it hasn’t happened yet.”
Jacob rolled his eyes, knowing Danny wouldn’t see it in that darkness, “one of these days it’s going to happen.”
“Wait, stop for a second, did you hear that?”
“What?”
Danny dropped his voice to a whisper, “I thought I heard footsteps.”
Jacob looked around nervously, his torch beam sweeping across the area revealing nothing but shadows and chunks of machinery. “That isn’t funny dude, I’m already freaked out.”
“I’m not joking. I swear to god.”
After a second Jacob turned to him, “It’s not the echo of us walking, is it?”
“No. At least I don’t think so.”
Danny shook his head, “You’re getting paranoid, all this metal, it’s probably just us. C’mon no point in standing around. The faster we get out of here the better.”
They started walking again.

Danny listened carefully as they went, but the sound of footsteps didn’t come again. As they approached the car he dismissed it, probably just echo’s or maybe a homeless person checking to see if the cops were here. At the car Danny checked his camera, he didn’t get a whole lot of shots, but it was a start, he’d have to come back out here without Jacob sometime, allow him to really explore. From somewhere within the maze of buildings came a high pitched whine followed by a deep, grinding noise.
“The fuck was that?”
“I don’t know. C’mon lets get out of here.”
They got into the car, as Danny turned on the engine the lights around them turned on, flooding the old car park with light, then one by one the lights started to explode in a shower of sparks. Danny took off in the car, his heart thudding in his chest. “What the hell just happened?”
“I don’t know, power surge maybe?”
“Would that place even still be connected?”
“What was that?”
“What was what?”
“I don’t know. I thought I saw something.”
“What kind of something?”
“I don’t know, it was just a glimpse in the wing mirror. It looked like a person or something, running after the car.”
“Probably some homeless guy running for his life.”
“Yeah. Probably.”
Danny let out a deep breath and forced his fingers to relax a little, they were gripping the steering wheel so tight they were beginning to hurt.
“Well, it doesn’t matter, we’re miles from who ever it was now. We’re safe.”
“Yeah I gu-look out!”
A man was standing in the middle of the road, Danny swerved out of the way, he struggled with the wheel, trying to regain control of the car, beside him Jacob screamed, the last thing Danny saw were the trees.

The man stood in the middle of the road, looking sadly at the wrecked car, the mangled metal wrapped around a tree trunk. He didn’t want to do this, he never wanted to do it, but it was the only way to keep everyone safe. A dark, swirling shadow rose from the car, it hissed at the man then with a shriek it vanished. The old man allowed himself to relax, his face looked haggard, his eyes were sunken and his skin was pale. The man turned and looked back towards the factory, then he slowly faded away.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 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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