17 Jan


Bill ran.

Fear drove him forward, blood thundered in his ears, long stalks swept past his body, cutting and scratching he floundered through a sea of grass. Hot breath seared his throat, pulse raced, sweat oozed, heart pounding in his chest, throbbing at his temple. He’d never run before, he’d always stood his ground, defended his corner, but not today – today he was fleeing for his life. Tired legs fought through thick mud, wet earth sucked at aching limbs, pulled at his boots. The sky, the earth, the green, the cacophony of lung burning terror – Bill ran.

Then he stopped.

A cool breeze blew through the meadow, the welcome relief of rain as it fell on his face and shoulders. Standing in fading light he tilted his head, focused every sinew, every synapse – attempting to capture each scintilla of sound.

“Perhaps he’d escaped? They’d probably lost him – lost his scent?”

Bill heard the dogs.

Faint at first, but with a terrible bone-chilling nearness that froze him to the core. Exhausted, he couldn’t go any further, had to get away. Ignoring the physical agony of marrow-sapping fatigue he pushed on, desperate to stay ahead of his pursuers.

Bill ran.

Stumbling through the last of the grass he reached the edge of the field, caught the fence wire with his boot and fell headlong into a water filled ditch – foul smelling mud coated his body. Wiping his hands across his face he cleared his eyes then his mind. The terror of the hunt had sharpened his senses. Bill was acutely aware of the danger he faced.

The dogs were close. He could hear them barking, hear the helicopter, the shouts and curses of their handlers as they fought to control excited charges. The aircraft was directly overhead the whirr of its rotors crashed above him as he cowered in the shadows, blades shaking the ground, searchlights piercing the darkness. Without hesitation he ducked beneath the primordial slime of the ditch. Caked in filth he pushed himself along its length.

Just in time.

Suddenly the glade was filled with officious urgency – the eagerness of his pursuers palpable. Peering between unkempt reeds he saw the officers, their slung weapons gleaming – reflections of tin badges in flash-lit darkness. The hounds, eyes obsidian bright with bared fangs and dripping saliva barked up a storm. With heart palpitating, his breath came hot and fetid, the stench of the ditch water all pervading. Perfect stillness was his only chance of escape. Bathed in the muck of the ditch he was undetectable, only his imagination betrayed his presence in the blackness of the weeds.

Radios squawked.

Dogs foraged restlessly through bankside bushes. The scent was gone, the trail cold, but their prey was nearby they could taste it, feel it, wanted it so badly. Adrenaline filled and ready for action, armed black-clad officers stood eager and ready for confrontation – the highlight of otherwise mundane careers, an experience that could be related time and again over beer and barbeque.

“Where was the murdering bastard? He was here, they knew it.”

Although his would be captors were blind to his whereabouts there appeared to be no escape. They were systematic bastards, Bill knew that from past experience, and it wouldn’t take them long before someone organized a search party to gridline the area to flush him out. Like a badger caught in its holt he could sense his pursuers shoveling through the thin layer of dirt that stood between him and death. Any second now electric light would illuminate his hiding place and the slashing teeth of dogs would tear him to pieces.

It was time for action – an attempt to escape injustice and execution, a last desperate bid for freedom. He felt in his pocket for the make shift blade. The shank that’d  seemed adequate back at the prison now utterly puny in his hand. He’d nothing else. There was no going back – he wasn’t going back.

Radios buzzed, a shout went up, the police began to move away.

“He’s over here. They’ve picked up his tracks.” The helicopter faded into the distance, dogs and officers disappeared into the night.

Waiting for them to go Bill pulled himself from the mud, a dripping, stinking specter – half human, half beast. Spitting ditch water he skulked amongst the bushes. In the distance the sounds of the search went on, the enthusiasm for his capture unrelenting.

Bill got to his feet, took one last look in the direction of flashing torches.

Bill ran.


8 Responses to “FAST”

  1. John Wiswell January 18, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    Hectic bit of fugitive fiction. Good that he’s in such cardiovascular shape!

    • Colin James I-10 Blog January 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

      Obviously I modelled the character after myself!
      Thanks for checking in.

  2. Deanna Schrayer January 18, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    This is incredibly exciting Colin. I felt myself pushing forward as if trying to help him escape, (and I’m guessing he’s quite the criminal so maybe trying to help him isn’t such a good thing?). In any case, the pace is what makes this story – superb!

    • Colin James I-10 Blog January 18, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

      Thanks Deanna – I am pleased that you enjoyed what it was I was trying to convey. It really wasn’t about the story but more about the pace and speed one can image with words.
      Take care.

  3. Steve Green January 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    This one is really begging for a sequel. A prequel to tell of his heinous crimes and the internment and details of his subsequent escape too.

    Are you thinking of expanding this one Colin?

    • Colin James I-10 Blog January 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

      Thanks for checking in. No this was purely an experimcent to see if I could convey the chase in words – hence some of the broken sentences and point of view changes. The idea ws to put as much speed into it as I possibly could.

  4. flyingscribbler January 22, 2013 at 7:03 am #

    “only his imagination betrayed his presence in the blackness of the weeds.” This is a really good line. There are many others in this story. Your use of language is superb and it carried me along all the way. It is the main strength here. That, and the repetition of “Bill ran”. Some of your grammar threw me a bit: missing commas especially. It might sound pedantic, but it is a shame to take the shine off a really good story.

    • Colin James I-10 Blog January 22, 2013 at 9:33 am #

      Thanks for the input and no I don’t find them to be pedantic and I will review.

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