Monday, March 8, 2010

Leap Of Faith - FFF #23

Thanks to Cormac over at Friday Flash Fiction for his continued hard work keeping this site running.
This week's starter sentence was contributed by MRM.

Leap Of Faith

Dave Jackson had to kick out the back window to escape. The collision had crumpled the driver’s side door, and the resultant flips had crushed the front window of his beloved Mustang. He hadn’t seen the truck coming and he doubted he would have had a chance to avoid it, anyway. He suspected this had something to do with the trouble he had gotten into a few weeks back, although he wasn’t sure. Not sure, that is, until bullets started disturbing the air around his head and thundering into the old eucalypt he had leaned against to regain his composure.

Low cloud hung in the air, making visibility hard for attempting to locate the shooter. Jackson summed up his options and quickly decided that heading into the heavily wooded area on the side of the road as his best choice. The gums and oaks here were wide and offered plenty of protection from any incoming ballistic barrage. Ducking low, he started running.

The fog proved to be just as big an enemy as the unseen individual behind him. Low branches lashed his face and body as he scrambled through the ever-thickening underbrush. The moss and soft, springy ground made quick movement near impossible, as did the invisible tree roots and stony outcrops. He paused for breath behind a massive scribbly-gum. He poked his head around the tree and through a group of wattles, he could see movement; one man, as far as he could tell.

He was preparing to move off when a voice gave him pause.

“Jackson. Give it up. There are officers of the law arriving every minute. We would hate to see something nasty happen to you.”

Jackson issued a snort of disgust. He knew the voice and he knew exactly what would transpire if he was caught. He vowed to make sure that didn’t happen.

Moving slowly but quietly in the direction he had first started, he noticed a break between a cluster of stringy-barks. The sun was starting to break through the cloud and the fog was lifting. This offered him hope, but also made him more wary; up until now, he had used the mist as a manner of protection. If he couldn’t see his pursuer, it made perfect sense that they couldn’t see him.

Jackson changed direction, making for the clearing that he had spotted moments ago. Edging around a rocky outcrop, he discovered to his dismay that he had stumbled upon a cliff face. He cautiously stepped back and leaned against the stony ledge. Breathing deeply to clear his head, he heard footsteps approaching from behind.

“Well, now, what do we have here? Thinking of taking the plunge?”

Jackson turned and came face to face with Sheriff Thomas. The lawman was holding his pistol in both hands, pointed downwards. He took measured and calculating steps as he approached his quarry. Without taking his eyes off his prey, the sheriff reached into his pocket with one hand and withdrew his radio and gave his location to the deputies. Replacing the radio in his pants pocket, he turned and addressed Jackson.

“So, boy, no more running now, nowhere left to run. You are cornered. You are out of options.” Thomas grinned, the corner of his mouth crooked; a bar brawl had turned vicious; the sheriff had been slashed with a broken bottle. Jackson had been the one who did it. But that was just the beginning. The sheriff had a bug up his ass about something else.

“Did you think that I wouldn’t track your ass down? For what you did to my little girl?” Thomas glared at Jackson; his face reddening, veins popping on his forehead. “You are gonna pay – oh, yes, you are gonna pay big time.”

“Sheriff, you got it all wrong.” Jackson opened his arms in a pacifying gesture. “I ain’t done nothing to your little girl.”

Sheriff Thomas lifted his pistol, aimed it at Jackson’s head. “You call kidnapping, beating and raping my daughter nothing?” He took another step towards Jackson. “I’m gonna make sure you get the V.I.P. treatment in jail, son. You are gonna be everybody’s bitch.” He spat out the last word.

Jackson nodded towards something behind the sheriff. “I think you have more to worry about at the moment...”

Thomas spun around; gun in front of him, searching for trouble. Confusion flickered across his face as he saw nothing but his deputies standing a respectful distance back. Turning back, he was suddenly aware that Jackson had disappeared.

“What the...?”

The sheriff twisted his body left and right, trying to work out what had become of the prisoner who had been standing before him just a moment before. Sizing up the situation, Thomas knew that his adversary couldn’t have just made a run for it – his deputies would have been aware of it. That only left one available option. Edging forward again, the sheriff peered over the edge of the lookout. There, twenty feet below him, waving back to him, was Jackson. The drop wasn’t as far as Thomas had first thought. Obviously Jackson had known better.

“Sheriff, we ain’t done, you and I. Next time, though, it will be me tracking you.” With another wave, Jackson dashed off into the undergrowth of ferns and was gone before the sheriff realised what was happening.

“Don’t just stand there, go find him.”


CJT said...

I really liked the twist on this, and now I wonder, did Jackson really commit the crime that he's being accused of??? Hmmm?

A great read yet again!

Ɯbermilf said...

Like CJ, I also want to know... is he guilty???

I felt like eating popcorn while I read this... it was so clear, visually, I felt like I was watching a movie.

If this comment doesn't make any sense, it's because I just took some cold medicine and it fogged my brain.

Michael Solender said...

wild. good'un paul.

MRMacrum said...

I wasn't happy. Not happy when it ended. You need to continue this one. Liked it very much. The woods chase was very well done.

Doc said...

A good read all around, but in some small way I have to agree with MRM. The woods chase was grand and the slow build up of the backstory worked great, but I'm left wanting just a smidge more.

CJT & Ubermilf wondered about his guilt and perhaps a littl bit more description of the sheriff and Jackson would have clued us in to there true characters and motivations. I know the old adage about "always leave them wanting more" applies to writing but the unknown of who the hero & villian are throws me off just a little. Not enough to tarnish a wonderful tale, but a line or two more of dialog might give it more punch at the end.

I don't want to sound nit picky because like all well meant suggestions, they should be taken with a grain of salt. Solid story Crybbe.


Crybbe666 said...

Nicole and Uber - the guilt was never established...but, I guess you can make up your minds on that.

Mike - Thanks, mate...just keep pluggin' away, right?

MRM - Sorry you weren't happy with the ending. Didn't want to over-complicate the story but instead left it a bit thin.

Doc - I hear ya and apppreciate the input. I am never sure just how much to add to a story without giving the game away but, with your comments in mind, I read it over and realised that a few more lines wouldn't have hurt.

Thanks again everyone!

Anonymous said...

I bet you could follow this through, a series if you will, impressionistic vignettes that allude to different moments in time with these two people --- personally, I liked the ambiguity, but understand why others may want more

Randal Graves said...

I like the ambiguity myself, but this was excellent. Loved the description of the chase through the various trees; the detail never felt tacked on.

MRMacrum said...

Not sure you undrstood my comment. Ending was fine. Didn't want it to end is all.

Crybbe666 said...

Rohrbacher - Seems like a series of flashbacks could be possible...little moments in time that make the story fuller. Thanks for the idea.

Randal, appreciate the comment about the trees. I wasn't sure if it was too much...was trying to add a little local flavour.

MRM - I understood what you meant...I didnt want it to end either but I thought it was a bit lame, really.

Crybbe666 said...

MRM - I thought the ending was lame...not your comment!! Thought I better add that, just in case :)

David Barber said...

Top work Paul. Agree with others about ending but a great story. One you could expand on and send out. Nice one. ;-)