Short Stories

Twenty Minutes

Twenty minutes. That’s how long it’ll take for the police to get here. Fortunately it should give me enough time to make a quick escape. Running on adrenaline and stuck in a hypnotized frenzy, I start ripping open drawers and pull out various T-shirts and throw them on the bed.

Just start grabbing any and all kind of crap,’ a cold voice echoes in my panicking head.

It is not the right time to contemplate but while I gather as much clothes in my hands, I can’t help but notice they are all de-saturated colours; black, navy, grey. It’s very good, will help to remain low key and not draw any attention to myself. The button-up shirts and polo’s were mainly designer brands; Lacoste, Diesel, Ralph Lauren.

I look at the picture frames displayed on my bedside table, containing images of my family. All of the frames will not fit in my suitcase and they are screwed securely on the back. I drop them on the floor and bring my shoe-cladded foot down, smashing the glass. Scrapping off the broken glass, I pull out the pictures and gaze momentarily at their beaming faces. If only they knew.

I focus on one particular black and white photo that was taken ten years ago. Simpler times. Happier times. Innocent Times. My mothers are in mid-laughter at the sight of my siblings and I being soaked from a water fight that had ensued earlier that day.

Thankfully all the shirts have a chest pocket and I hide a photo in every one. Since they can’t be with me physically anymore, this is the only option left to keep their presence wherever I end up. I start scanning my room for any other essentials. Shampoo? I can just buy in a store. I look at the time.

9.46pm.

Not enough time to shave. I run my hands through my messy hair in frustration. I can buy a disposable shaver and do it in a toilet before I reach my next destination. Shoes? Leave them. Desperately need to get a few new pairs anyway. Jewellery? Too flashy, and I can just pickpocket if needed be.

A present which I received on my eighteenth birthday catches my eye. Definitely an essential to keep myself occupied. ‘Paradise Lost’ by John Milton, the tattered front cover and notes on the pages represents the countless days and nights I have spent reading the book from cover to cover. It’s a simple item but my most prized possession. May not be the Bible but will sure give me some guidance. My shaky hands place it gently on the bed.

“This is really happening.” I hiccup quietly.

The same taunting voice enters my sick brain. ‘Nothing you haven’t done before.’

With a dizzy head I sink down to my knees and pull out a mini suitcase from underneath the bed. Grey mini suitcase with blue handles and lining. The woman who sold this to me advertised it as ‘one of a kind.’ I unzip the outer pocket of the luggage and pull out all the numerous passports I have created, each one containing a different identity and again neither are saturated colours i.e. maroon, black, navy blue, brown. I grab the maroon passport which reads the name: CARTER AVE. My new alias. Letting out a tired breath I pull out my recent passport and chuck it in with the rest, shoving them back into the pocket.

The wall clock now reads 9.54pm. Six minutes left.

I stand and bring the suitcase up with me. For the past fourteen minutes I’ve had this object jabbing uncomfortably into my lower back and buttock as I hid it there while racing back home. I move my hand round to the waistband of my trousers and cautiously pull out a black revolver. The muzzle is deeply coated with an unquestionable red substance.

Need to hide the evidence and bring protection.

I open the suitcase where the bottom reveals a hidden compartment, I unzip it then carefully place the gun securely between the metal handle poles. Doing the bottom zip back up I shove in the rest of my belongings, any idea of organisation is pushed aside as time is quickly ticking down. Clothes are wrinkled and a few pages from the book have little rips.

Nothing else will be needed.

I grab my wallet from my front trouser pocket to check if there’s enough money for a last-minute, one way ticket to Morocco. No-one will track me down there. Suddenly the picture from earlier cloud my vision.

What will they think?

My ears perk up as the sound of a siren in the distance echoes. With trembling hands I grasp a random pen left on the floor and pull out one of the pictures from the wallet to write a quick message. Dropping the picture and pen on the bed, I stuff my wallet back in my pocket and quickly close the suitcase.

9.58pm.

Sliding open the window, I lift one leg through the crack causing me to straddle the windowsill. My whole body shakes with revelation. Tears threaten to leave my eyes but I furiously blink them back.

I breathe in the familiar scent of my home for the last time, knowing that after tonight I can never return and risk putting my family in danger. Never again will I find comfort in this sanctuary.

The sirens grow louder.

I jump out the window and successfully land on my side on the patch of grass behind the house.

‘No turning back now.’

I start running with the suitcase in hand behind the neighbors houses. I manage to run past a few houses when the siren gets when closer. I duck down behind a large bush just in time as the red and blue flashing light whizzes past. The police car screeches to a loud halt and I hear erratic shouting.

“You’ve got no-where to go. Come out!”

My heart beats so loudly I can hear it in my ears. I slowly get up, look around me to make sure no-one can see me or has spotted me and continue sprinting faster than before.

A pang of regret inches its way to my brain for the mess I am leaving behind.

A cab makes its way down the road, and I flag it down.

Rushing inside, I place the suitcase on the seat and instruct the driver to take me to the nearest airport and to step on it. The taxi is going in the direction back to the house, I keep my head hidden and turned away from the window, but not before I get a quick glance of two police officers breaking down the front door.

It will be a shock for when everyone gets home tonight, especially when I can’t be found and they read the message on my bed.

Sorry for leaving. Not sorry that I enjoyed killing that bastard.

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