Friday 28 September 2018

FLASH FICTION: Where You Last Expected, by Leo McBride

It's Friday... so here's a short flash fiction for your evening's reading. Enjoy!

Where You Last Expected
By Leo McBride

The taxi driver wouldn't shut up as we made our way past streets named by number and with little imagination. Every road we passed he had another story about; how this person was killed here, how that drug raid was made there. 
“Why even come out at night, sir?” he complained, as if he was trying to talk himself out of his fare. “You see these kids on the street? They're devils, you trust to a guardian angel to look after you? You think if there were such things they wouldn't look after those kids first?”
Sure, he was right, it wasn't safe, but his concern for me ended with the passing of the dollar bills. His taxi spat me out by the park. I didn't want to be out here either, but work is work and I had papers to drop off with a client. 
I saw some of those kids as I got out, watching me as they sat by a playground in the dark, and switched my briefcase to my other hand as I headed the other way. Dammit, why'd I have to do the crappy jobs?
I barely got 20 yards. The red lights of the taxi's rear were still in sight when the mugger came at me from a side alley, knocking my briefcase down and scattering papers everywhere. 
He had a metal bar in his hand, and it cracked my arm as I tried to protect myself. I cried out as the bar swung down, again and again. Jesus, the pain was too much. This was it, I was going to die. Why didn't I listen to the damn taxi driver?
I curled into a ball, shouting for it to stop, shouting for him to take the papers, take the money, take any damn thing he wanted, just leave me alone. I raised my hand one more time to try to make it stop.
And it did. 
Blinking, I looked up. We weren't alone. The mugger stood there, his hand raised, his mouth open. 
Around us, they stood. Four of them, their wings enfolding us in shadow. “Guardian angels,” I gasped, through a broken lip. 
The mugger stammered an apology, dropped the bar, and ran. 
One of the four reached out a hand to me, and pulled me to my feet. 
“You're real,” I whispered, in awe. “You're angels?”
“Close enough,” replied the one who held my hand.
Then anger overtook me. The words of the taxi driver rang in my head. If there are such things, why don't they look after those kids first? “Dammit, you're real and you only help now? This city is a mess! Where are you all the time?” I spat blood. 
The angel smiled patiently. “On the streets,” he said. “Where we've always been.”
With that, they folded their wings away. And then, just kids again now, they walked back to the playground and sat in the dark. 

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