This story is by Anna Savastano and was part of our 2018 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
It’s 11 o’clock on a cool spring evening. I just left my neighborhood bar, where I got into an altercation with the leader of a crew of merry thugs who drank hard and played even harder.
My name is Barrett, Scott and I’m no pushover. At 250 pounds of solid muscles, I can hold my own and then some. But, at seven to one odds, I recognize when to back off and call it a night.
Behind me, one lone wolf baits me from the threshold of the establishment “Hey Ballerina, you scared of a little fight.”
My legs trudge forward, forcing him to eat my dust even though, what I truly crave is to feed him thirty or forty of my best jabs to the mouth, whatever blows off most of the steam I’ve accumulated.
The barometric pressure inside me rises to an all-time high, so much so, that sweat trickles down my brow. A smoke like film creeps up around me through the desolate street. A chill from the night air slips down my spine. Everything is lost in shadow, except for the heads of the streetlights who illuminate, rather dimly, my path.
The thud of my boots striking the sidewalk accompanies me down the road, when a thunderous clamor resounds a hundred or so feet away. I spring around and scour my surroundings. My back stands ridged and my ears listen. I can’t estimate the exact whereabouts of the sound but I know what direction it came from. Another thing, I learned from my military days. I heard a lot of gunfire and that was it. The third factor, the army drilled into me was to run towards the shooting so you could benefit your fellow brother. It’s not a healthy arrangement at the moment, because in those days I was armed to the teeth and now all I carry is a pocket knife. I should call the damn thing in, although, my phone is sitting at the bottom of a beer pitcher back in the bar. That’s how the disaccord came about. The thugs thought it entertaining to wipe out thousands of dollars worth of phones. Except for yours truly, no one said or did anything.
My hunt takes me to the corner of Des Laurentides Blvd and St Martin where three multi-story buildings share the corner. My sleuth’s perception asserts me the blast came from around here.
Fog blinds me as something slices through my shoulder. My breath gets trapped in my throat at the feel of the sudden contact. For a second, I consider it’s the idiot from outside the joint who’s come after me to cut me. My head bobs from side to side searching for a pair of red eyes and missing teeth. Have I been found out? I reach for my arm and scrape my fingers along the protruding brick of the building. I exhale in relief. The miscreant in this case is the stone edifice.
When I regain my calm, I overhear mumbling; groaning and something that sounds a lot like pleading coming from the back alley of the three structures. Once again, going for help should be number one on my roster, yet,I have not gone. My concern takes the better of me, since I inch toward the edge of the building. I wince and jerk away as the people I hear are much closer than I first estimated. Behind here, the fog is not dense. I can clearly see two men standing over a third male, whom lies on the ground like a fetus in the womb, holding him at gunpoint. The chap on the footing is still awake since I can see his body shaking like Jell-O on a silver spoon. Blood or water stains the cement pavement around him. From here, I can’t tell. Now, I am stuck with a real quandary. Do I run for assistance or do I risk my safety and stage a diversionary attack? I need to go for help. All the same, if they kill him while I’m gone, which is quite probable, I will never forgive myself. The curious thing about life, until you actually view the victim being victimized, you can fool yourself into walking away.
Immediately, I sense an obligation towards the poor fella not to leave him to his ill fate. Yet, what happens if my plan backfires and they come after me? Both men are armed and from what I can deduce, they’re also dangerous. I should have thought of the perils earlier and simply went for help. I need to get the police here quickly and bring these thugs away from their prisoner. My fingers lightly tap the wall as my mind races for an answer. My eyes grow wide when an idea seizes me. It hadn’t come to me before. I can throw something through a window. Then the alarm will sound off. Defacing public property is a criminal offense. Certainly, the police will understand why I did it. I search for an object that will help me with my plan. Just around the fire hydrant, in the middle of the walkway, near the cobblestone path leading to the bank, I see a nice large stone that will benefit me.
I rush back fast enough to see three cars come to a sliding halt in the alley. I hope for the guy’s sake, it’s undercover cops. There is no such luck. My band of merry thugs from earlier tonight exit, the three vehicles. A nerve in my neck begins to twitch. In a heartbeat a bad situation just turned horrific. The male on the ground holds up his hands as to block any pending threat. Unless he’s hiding a slew of Marvel heroes in his coat sleeve, he’s about to live a horrendous death at the hands of these deviants. I look away. A gut-wrenching cry hurls out of him and I keel over. My legs flop over as boiled noodles. I know I must act. With a shaking hand, I cast the rock through the front window of the bank. The stone crushes the glass and spills the debris just short of me. I leap backward to avoid any stray piece from hitting me. I take off at a dead run.
“What the—” is the last thing I hear. The edifice’s alarm drowns out the rest.
After the three cars take off, I double back. But, the back alley is empty. They took the poor guy with them.
Police sirens wail in the distance. I rake my hands through my curly hair. Soon they will arrive and I have no victim, no perpetrators and no motive for what I did.
A patrol car swarms in the front of the building. Loud footsteps race out of the car.
“You think anyone’s in the there?” One officer shouts.
“I don’t know. Let’s wait for backup, before we go in.” The other answers.
“Help, back here!” I cry out in a daze surrendering to whatever ill fate awaits me.
The police officers hear me and come out from behind the wall where I stood before.
“What happened? Did you witness the burglary?”
For a moment, I think of telling them someone else did the damage, until I remember that banks have surveillance videos that would show my culpability.
“Well, officers it went like this…” I tell them what went on. They nod for some parts. Shake their heads for others. The officer, with the blue eyes, speaks first. “You have the right to remain silent…”
“No stop! Don’t read me my rights. Everything I told you is the truth. There was a guy here. He got shot. Look there’s blood here.”I tell them crouching down on my forelegs to show them the spots.
“Yeah, and on your shirt.” He answers giving me an incredulous role of the eye.
The dark-haired cop comes towards me with handcuffs.”Listen, if what you say is true, this is just a formality. You’ll be out before you know it.”
I’ve seen this before they’re playing good cop bad cop. I struggle against the bracelets when he cocks them shut.
“I know I did something wrong breaking the window. But,I did it because I wanted to save a human life.”
“Yeah hero, they’ll probably end up giving you the key to the city for this,” laughs blue eyes as he tells me. “Watch out for your head.”
I sit in the back seat of a patrol car, barred windows on either side of me, I think back to tonight. I needed to get the police on-site fast to save a human life. My choice of action was bad. However, it was all for the greater good. Maybe, I should have gotten help. What’s wrong with me, the surveillance camera will show my innocence. One night in prison can’t be that bad. Hell, I lived through active duty in the army. It can’t be worse than that.