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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)

TITLE: Talk To Me Before It's Too Late
By stanley Bednarz


I point the empty revolver at my reflection in the mirror. Click...click...click.

The mirror can see my pocked-marked vanilla face. It can see my copper eyes, but it can't see the evil that lurks within.

I brush my teeth and slick back my hair the same way every morning. I'm never late for work. Yes, today I will get the recognition I deserve.

Imagine the surprise on their faces: shoulders jerk back, eyes dart, searching for cover. The first few of them in the office next to the water cooler will be having their Latte moment. They won't see it coming, but I will watch the twisted look of death wash over their faces turning bleach white in horror. After the first few shots are fired, there will be a moment of silence. Then, I will listen. I will hear the whimpering of the ones who can't control their fear, and are hiding under a desk or in a closet.

I figure I will kill half my co-workers before someone has a chance to call 911.

"I'm talking to you man in the mirror. Who's your daddy now? Oh, why didn't someone stop me?"

I load the chamber, spinning it closed, tucking it under my suit jacket.


I do know the black security guard, Isaac. His daughter has cancer. He can't afford to pay doctor bills. Maybe I will make him a hero? Who knows, he might get a raise? I do have a heart. I rotate through the turn-style, and flash him a thin smile.

I twill take the stairs, that way no one will bump into me and feel the gun. I can see them all filling up the elevator like one big herd of dumb animals with cheesecake smiles.

The stairs echo with each step. I wonder if the shots I fire will reverberate too? Will my ears ring? When I pull the latch on the door, it sounds like the chamber of my gun.

They will be talking about the weather, talking about each other, having useless conversations, filling the void of their worthless existence.

My heart beats forward, harder with each step. Sweat mounts on my forehead. This rush inside me, a surge of adrenaline, I can hardly contain it. I won't be lost in a crowd anymore. I feel for my gun tucked neatly away. This is the moment I've been dreaming of for months. Payday!

Angie brushes by me and never looks up. She rushes toward the copy machine. She doesn't bother to look at me. Does she even know my name? I will kill her in a minute.

Everyone bolts from the elevator door. I could have mowed them down now. They're all gonna look like scared little mice running for cover when I start firing. I tighten my hand on the revolver. There's no letting go. I take a deep breath.

Hey what's this? A girl with shoulder length brown hair pokes her head out from the break room. Her soft blue eyes won't let me go. Who is she?

"Excuse me, I'm new here at Dunn Publishing, and I got a couple people for morning devotions, would you care to join us?"

Stop looking at me, save that grin. My index finger tickles the trigger.

"I made a fresh pot of coffee. I'm Suzie. Suzie Taylor. What's your name?"

She reaches her hand out to shake mine.

I release the grip of my gun and feel the tug of her hand. "My name is Rick...Rick Westin."

"Okay then, come in. Pull up a chair. Were all harmless here."

As I sit down, I swallow the knot in my throat.

"How do you take your coffee Rick?"

"Um...a little cream and sugar both."

"Cool. Hope you don't think I'm too bold for a newbie?"

I had a purpose, until now.

She hands me the coffee. "I guess you must think I'm a Jesus freak? I promise I don't bite."

Two other workers, I scarcely know just smile without end.

It made me nervous. I place my hand back in my jacket.

She pulls her chair closer to me, takes a small bible from her purse. Why does she care about me?

I'm so lost.

She reads. "I know my sheep, they hear my voice, and they follow me..."

My reflection disappears in the sea of her eyes.

Talk to me.

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This article has been read 495 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/21/10
This is done wonderfully. I thought he might find a way out but I wasn't sure. You did a wonderful job with the suspense and the perfect amount of tension. Excellent writing!
Carol Penhorwood 10/21/10
You drew me in and left me wanting to hear more. Well done!
Lollie Hofer10/21/10
Whoa, dude (or dudette). Gripping, suspenceful, great voice for your mc...all of it put together made for a compelling story. Yeah, Jesus! I liked how that little act of kindness made the difference.
Joyce Morse10/21/10
Loved this story! You packed a lot in few words. I was captivated and couldn't wait to see the end. Great character development for such a short word limit.
Genia Gilbert10/25/10
This is gripping, and with a great ending. Building up to the "conversation" was a perfect idea.
Jan Ackerson 10/25/10
Great job of building up suspense.

It's funny, but the last part, seemed to lose momentum for me. I wanted to feel that Susie was in more danger...a shorter falling action after the climax, I think, might have worked better.

This is one of the most interesting characters I've read this week.
Sarah Heywood10/27/10
Wow! You certainly built up the suspense. The only thing lacking for me (and maybe I need to just re-read it) is the motivation for Rick's desire to murder everyone. My guess would be that if someone were plotting such a thing, his reasons for doing so would be foremost in his mind. But maybe Rick just wanted to be noticed.

I'm thankful a way out was found in the end! Good writing!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/28/10
Congratulations for placing 9th in level 3 and 21st overall!