By Kyle Perkins.
Speculative Fiction Writing Prompt – WINNER!
Prompt: You accidentally stumble into a top-secret facility. A suited man approaches you, slowly clapping, and begins to congratulate you on figuring out his elaborate plan. You have no idea what’s going on, but you go with it.
*** Sahsa’s mind whirled. Who was this man and what did he want? She had been looking for the Fed Ex facility and the signs had led her here. She stood with her package hanging thoughtlessly from her fingers as the shock set in. What had been promised as a simple trip for her co-worker, had thrown her into some throwback 90’s action movie with a clapping villain monologueing in a sterile gray hallway. A click-click-click forced her eyes to his hand that now held a gun. The metal glinted in the fluorescent lighting that snapped and buzzed above their heads. He waved the gun to nudge her through a doorway and Sasha slowly complied. She didn’t want to die in this non-descript location with her co-worker, Annie’s, grandmother’s birthday present – a very poorly crocheted lap blanket that she had recently lied to Annie about. Sasha hadn’t realized that it was to be a present for her grandmother until it was too late to tell Annie that the colors were gaudy, the sides were uneven, and that she needed to weave the ends of where she switched colors in to the stitches. Sasha could see the coroner approaching as a policeman used the now unwrapped blanket to cover her lifeless body. Their discussion would be about how this poor girl not only couldn’t crochet, but had tried to ship it to someone and ended up in the wrong place. Sasha sighed in defeat as they entered the large open room of the warehouse. Spots covered her vision as a panic attack set in. She couldn’t see, was having trouble breathing, and all she could hear was the muffled clomping of her tennis shoes and the crisp tapping of the man’s dress shoes on the cement floor. “Far enough.” The man circled around her to stand a mere two feet away with the gun held steadily in her face. “Now, how about you tell me if you have backup?” “Backup?” She mumbled stupidly. “Yes, backup. Is there anyone coming to save you? I need to know so I can send someone out to intercept them.” Sasha’s mouth dropped open to answer with a resounding no, but at that moment her brain decided to finally reboot itself and screamed at her to say yes. “Um… yes.” “You don’t sound sure about that… Jensen, outside and make sure we’re not interrupted.” Sasha licked her lips. She wasn’t a huge action movie fan and was struggling to figure out what to do. All she could think about was. If I tell him I just stumbled on his evil plot, I’m dead. If I tell him that I know everything, I’m dead. If I… If I… If I… I’m dead regardless. Decision made, Sasha opened her mouth and… “Hey, I’m one of your people. I was just delivering this package.” The man tapped his toes before reaching out for the package with his empty hand. “Todd…” He handed his gun over to another man, and then began ripping into Annie’s grandmother’s birthday present. A stunned expression crossed his face and Sasha was sure she was done for. That gawd awful blanket was going to get her shot. “Aw, how did you know it was my birthday?” He lovingly extracted the blanket and hugged it to his chest. It was that moment that a group of thugs stepped from behind a brown Fedex van carrying a cake with several candles flickering with flames. Their voices rose in a strong version of the Happy Birthday song. “Shucks, guys…” the man blew out his candles. “What you wish for boss?” “I can’t tell you that, it’s bad luck.” His voice echoed deep in the depths of Sasha’s panic. Bad luck. Yeah, right she thought as the world went black.
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