One Man’s Trash

Here’s my attempt at this week’s Inspiration Monday. I’m not too happy with this one but I’ll post it anyway. Go easy on me. I suck at third person.


He chased her up the escalator. When they reached the top, they were both out of breath, as anyone would be after sprinting up a long flight of stairs while laughing so hard.

“You know there’s cameras everywhere,” she said. “It’s only a matter of time.”

He raised his eyebrow and stifled a grin. “Maybe I turned them off.”

She studied him. “Are you as good at turning things off as you are at turning them on?”

An open door. A “Welcome, Please Come In” sign. He took a step forward.

She retreated one step into a rack of Calvin Klein. “What kind of girl would I be if I let you kiss me that easily?”

He felt his eyes get wide before he looked down. Coward. He looked straight into her eyes. “Guess you’d be easy.”

“Guess so.”

“Want to climb the elevator cable?”

“You turned that off too?”

“No, but I could.” He slipped his backpack to his front and went for the zipper. His laptop battery was about to die. If he was going to do it, he’d better do it now.

Her gaze slid along the wall behind him, obviously searching for the elevator sign in the dim light. “Race you.” She took off, in the wrong direction.

He threw his backpack to his back and ducked between the racks. He could beat her there. If he kept down she wouldn’t see where he was headed. Something ripped his backpack off his shoulder and he spun around. Darn clothing rack. He jerked himself free only to hook the other strap on another rack. He’d never beat her now.

He crept toward the elevator, head low. Cold air blasted over him. The air conditioner shouldn’t be running after hours. She was hunched down in the light of the elevator sign, holding her ankle. Her face turned to him. Lips parted. Frozen. Blood seeped through the fingers gripping her ankle.

“Meg? What happened?” He dropped to his knees next to her.

“I don’t know,” she whispered. Blood puddled around her foot, sticky and reflective. “It was like something slapped me. God, it hurts. I think it’s cut through. My Achilles tendon. I can’t walk on it.”

He took off his jacket because that’s what people do in movies when someone’s bleeding. She moaned as he tied it around. Then she grabbed his shoulder, her eyes wide and staring past him.

“Something. Over there.”

He jerked his head toward a light screeching. Metal on metal. Hangers, sliding on racks. He spun to face the sound. Quiet settled on them, hung in the air. He looked at her. “Maybe we should-”

A black length whipped out of nowhere and he shoved backward, out of the way. She cried out, grabbing her other ankle. Metal screeched, the racks swayed, and he got around her and slid his arms under hers and dragged her around the elevator behind a plastic dumpster.

Her eyes were watery, but she looked too afraid to cry. “What is that? My god what is that!”

“I don’t know.” He pulled her hand away from her ankle. Her second tendon was severed just like the first. He wiped the blood on his jeans. If she could barely walk before, now she couldn’t at all.

He stood and yanked the broken arm of a metal clothing rack out of the dumpster. One man’s trash is another man’s weapon.

19 thoughts on “One Man’s Trash

  1. Your third-person is good and so is the dialogue. Is he a security guard or maintenance man at a department store after hours? Was he really going to turn off the elevator so they could climb the cable? Yikes! I’m confused how he could do that with a laptop though….

    Good opening scene for a scary movie.

    • Thanks. He’s a teenage punk hacker. LOL
      You can do anything if you’re a hacker. It’s pretty much scary movie cliché, but I had a hard time getting this one out of my mind. It’s cooler in there, I swear. :)

  2. I dig it. I think you nailed the story. And you don’t suck at the third person. Your writing style was easy to read and I blitzed through it at the pace at which the story moves. Great choice not to reveal whatever was attacking the duo. Not knowing is always far more scary. Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it!

    • I could probably rework it and be happier with it, but that’s kind of out of the scope of flash fiction. Heh. Thanks for commenting. I’m feeling a little better about it.

    • Thanks. I think I’m insecure about this one because it’s not my genre, and because I never write in third person. Unfamiliar territory I guess!!

  3. Kay – You write so well. Hard to believe you don’t often write in the third person. Wow. Your stories are always so vivid. I can see everything clearly in my mind. That is saying a lot because I don’t have much of an imagination!
    And…not letting the reader know at the end…way to make me suffer! :)

    • Sorry! But I truly don’t know the end.
      I’m out of my comfort zone in third person so naturally anything I write sounds like crap to me. Your compliments mean a lot to me. Thank you.

  4. This was incredible with the pacing and the suspense. I like feeling as though I cannot stop reading for anything, and I knew you might not tell me what it was, but now I might not sleep so well. I have no psychic distance.

    • I’ll give you a hint. It’s not as scary as riding shotgun with A. J. Foyt. (Yes, I had to Google him.)
      What a huge compliment to say I might interrupt your sleep, but I have to say I don’t at all believe you because I still think this one’s crap. Haha..

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  6. I thought you did a great job with this. I stumbled on “a black length whipped out of nowhere,” but I, too, struggle with imagination. Personally, I thought it was a good read.

    • Thanks. And you just put into words my exact struggle with flash fiction. You write it, you post it. It doesn’t have time to stew for months and be revised revised revised. So these little bits that should be made more clear never get made clear. I’m trying to be more experimental and less OCD about writing, and flash fiction is helping me do that. (I think?)

      • I keep hearing and reading that the more writing we do, the better we get. I think these exercises are helping me get out of my little box. And it’s fun to see what everyone comes up with.

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