"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)



Ice stepped out of the greystone office and into the bright sunlight.  He pulled off his sunglasses and tucked them into the left breast pocket of his navy Armani suit.  He turned his face to the sun, and closed his eyes.


His head snapped toward the sound.  An elderly man, about 70ish, with white hair and wide, frightened eyes, stood pointing a shaky bony finger at him.

"It's you.  I know it's you."

Ice locked his gaze onto the old man's eyes and let his mouth go slack.  His feelers moved through the skin, past the cranium, and searched through the gray matter to find a weakness.  There.  Right there.  He focused intensely for a second or two.  That's all it took.  The man crumpled to the floor, his fall finally breaking eye contact.

Ice rushed to the man's side, pushing through the surprised bystanders that moved in to help.  He pulled off his jacket, dropping it to the ground as he knelt down.  He turned to a young woman with a cell phone.

"Call 911," he said. 

He placed two fingers on the side of the man's neck.  A faint pulse still fluttered beneath his fingertips.  He tilted the man's head back and checked for breathing.  Barely a wisp.  He clasped his hands together, positioned them under the man's breast bone where the ribs of each side came together.  He began CPR, pushing against the man's chest, knowing he was sending more blood to the damaged brain, building more pressure.  He paused to give mouth to mouth resuscitation, listened again to the slowing breath, returned to massaging the man's chest.  He continued as a crowd grew around them, until he was certain the blood vessels in the old man's brains were exploding under the onslaught, until no breath and no heart beat could be detected.

He heard the sirens.  An ambulance pulled up next to them.  The paramedics pulled him back, took over the CPR where he had left off.  The senior paramedic pronounced the old man dead at the scene.  He patted Ice on the shoulder.

"You did all that you could."

Later that afternoon, back in the dark of the greystone office, the captain paced angrily.

"What the hell did you do that for?" he said through clenched teeth.

"I had to," Ice said.  "He almost blew my cover."


Today's prompt included one of my favorite writing exercises, eavesdropping.  I'm afraid I didn't follow directions very well; I only used one line of dialogue.  It's just that it was such a good line of dialogue, I couldn't pass it up.

Step 1. Go to a busy locale—a cafe or coffee shop would be easiest. Sit down with a notebook, and make sure you look busy, so people don’t know you’re listening. Now write down random sound bites of  conversations.Try to get at least 10 lines or snippets.
Step 2. Now use all ten in a cohesive scene of dialogue or as dialogue in a story
Step 3.  Leave a list of the lines plucked from real life at the end of the story for people to see.

The line I took was "He almost blew my cover."

The rest of the conversation revolved around new NFL rules, how bad the Rams are this year, and golf.

Anyway, to play along, visit Write Anything's [Fiction] Friday here.


CathrynLouis said...

Deceptively intense. Liked it!

Laura Rachel Fox said...

You really captured my attention with this fast-paced story. This was a fun one, wasn't it?

Anonymous said...

Ooooo so mysterious. Good job. What's more intriguing is that you overheard that line while eavesdropping. What on earth were the people talking about when one said "He almost blew my cover?" That's was a juicy bit of eavesdropping Shelli. Good work. :)

Shelli said...

Thank you, Cathryn, and welcome to my blog! I'm glad you stopped by.

Laura -- Thanks, and yes, it was quite fun.

Carrie -- Thanks, and I know, right? What are the odds of getting something really juicy. I have to admit, I was horribly curious!

Renee said...

Very A+ once again!

Nikki~Down syndrome Storyteller said...

That was awesome. I would read that novel, should you choose to write it.

Stacey said...

Oh great story! And yeah I'm curious too, have all sorts of conspiracy theories going on now!!

Shelli said...

Renee -- Thank you! I wish I had you as a teacher in high school. ;)

Nikki -- Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! That's what I love about flash fiction, it gives me so many good ideas to draw from later.

Stacey -- Thanks. If only I could have caught a little bit more of that conversation...

John Pender said...

Good work here, Shelli.

BTW, I get what you mean in your note on my story. However, I'm not trying to appeal to a range of audiences and I don't want to tone down my stories just because someone might be turned off by what they read.

Shelli said...

Thanks, John. I agree, you have to be true to yourself as an author first and foremost. Likewise, I have to be true to myself. I'm sad that I'll miss some of your stories from time to time, because I think you're a good author.

Anonymous said...

A clever and well paced story. That little piece of dialogue says so much and leaves lots of questions unanswered and I like that.
Adam B @revhappiness

Icy Sedgwick said...

What a thoroughly nasty piece of work! Still, you've got plenty here to explore, should you want to give us more...

Shelli said...

Thank you, Adam and Icy!

Annie said...

Short sweet... and gets the story across.. really liked it.

Sorry - I didn't get to do one this week - but dug up my one from waaaaaay back when we first did it years ago..

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you 'cheated' a bit - this was great. Such an awesome line to overhear! You have left me wanting more though...

Anonymous said...

Great story, what a creepy glimpse of his CPR methods!