He rushed into the storage closet and slammed the door behind him. A thump and a shriek followed close behind, as he fearfully held it shut.
The man frantically tried locking the door, disoriented by the dark, small room, and finally found the bolt.
He gasped in relief, and fell backwards onto the floor, disturbing an assortment of brooms and buckets. Cautiously, he braced his feet against the door, just in case.
Now he could not hear them anymore. Either them or his friends. But he knew that they were still out there. They had just grown silent.
His gun held in a white, tight grip, he gradually relaxed. A small, night light shed a pale blue on the room. The man looked down at his uniform, brushing the nametag.
Sergeant James Hynes. A decorated police officer here in Chicago, honored with the Lambert Tree medal, the city’s highest award for bravery. But none of that mattered now. Sgt. James glanced at his gun. Almost useless. They were not taught how to shoot at something faster than the eye could track.
The good men and women of the Chicago Police Department, responding to an urgent call from Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School, had rushed in heroically to stop the violence. They were cut down almost instantly.
As his adrenaline faded, Sgt. James felt the doom and the sorrow sinking in. A tear dropped from his eye, onto his proud badge. He wiped the salty residue off his cheek with the barrel of his still tightly grasped gun. Just yesterday, he remembered his friend Sgt. Foley, telling a slightly off-colored but good humored joke about Irishmen, who James was ethnically part of. Now Foley was dead. Sgt. Jannison, a hearty, fiery woman, from New York, and her fierce debates with him about Chicago being the second best city. He won, by pointedly asking why she was here then. She was also dead. He saw it happen.
As he remembered his dearest friend and partner, Sgt. Kramer, two more tears fell. James let the tears dry. Sgt. Kramer, who had saved his life in a gang shootout, one of the most intense moments of both their lives. A loyal friend, a quiet joker, who stuck with him through his near divorce with Jame’s wife, Shauna. James had not seen Kramer die, but he had heard him screaming. James had left him, running away.
His body shuddered with dry sobs. This was not supposed to happen. This was the economic boom of Chicago. Everything was going well. James had a great wife, who he had stuck with through the constant thin. Amazing job, amazing friends. He had been a hero. Now, he had torn that down in the face of this terror.
Sgt. James gazed bitterly at the Lambert Tree. A lie. He ripped it off, and hurled it into the door. It bounced off and landed on his boot. He stared at it, his eyes dry now.
A sudden, simple thought hit him. He remembered the plans they had made, him and his fellow sergeants. They were going to have a potluck next Sunday. Foley, Jannison, Kramer were all going to be there. James would have walked out of the house when they would arrive, with Shauna on his arm, and welcomed them with cold beers. Next, when they were all sitting comfortably out back, in the green yard, with meat on the grill, they would have launched into a spirited discussion about the new Mayor, Richard J. Daley. And many other things. When they bade each other good night, Sgt. James would have gone to bed with his wife, and had a restful sleep, ready for a new day at work, with his partner Kramer.
A thump against the door. James jumped in fright. It left, skittering away, and he breathed easily. But now, a new sound. Something from far away and above, moving noisily along metal. He listened intently. James realized what it was, and took a deep breath. His tears were done, and his fear had hollowed him out. He heard the sound getting closer, and closed his eyes. They had found the air vents, the large, open tubes which supplied air to every single room.
Sgt. James shuddered lightly, then looked at the gun in his hand.
1. Entries should be between 100 to 750 words. Your story should be submitted to "The Writers" guild forums with the first line saying this is a submission to the Flash Fiction Contest followed by your title and story.
2. You do not have to be a member of "The Writers" guild to enter the contest. Everyone is welcomed
3. Your submissions should not reflect negatively or insult other players or guilds. Use of profanity should correspond with Godville forum rules. Sexual content is not permitted. You can write a love story, just keep it PG.
4. The winner of the contest will have their story displayed in the Wiki and become the judge for the next Flash Fiction contest. Their story and name will stay in the Wiki until there is a new winner and then their name will be moved into a list of previous winners.
1. If a judge is unable to meet the commitment, please contact a contest committee member to make arrangements for an extension or replacement judge.
2. Judges can not enter submissions while in the role of judge.
3. A judge should view and treat each submission fairly. A judge can not refuse to view a submission just because they do not like an individual or guild. A judge should not give a win to a friend if they feel someone else has written a better submission. Everyone must be treated fairly.
4. Any problems should be brought to the contest committee.
1. Changes or adding of rules are to be done before a contest starts. Changes to rules during a contest should only be made if the changes are necessary to prevent disruption of the contest or to insure fairness to all participants. Any other changes to the rules should be applied to the next contest.
2. If contacted by a judge stating that they will not be able to participate in that days contest judging, an extension of 24 hours can be offered to the judge. If the problem can not be reconciled in 24 hours, an replacement judge(s) should be brought in to insure fairness to participants.
3. If a judge is missing from the scheduled contest judging. A reasonable amount of time of up to 24 hours may be given to attempt to contact the judge. If the judge can not be contacted in a reasonable time, an replacement judge(s) should be brought in to insure fairness to all participants.
4. If a replacement judge is required, any contest committee members who currently do not have submissions in the contest should agree for up to two willing and neutral individuals to judge the contest. The judge(s) can be members of the contest committee, or individuals outside "The Writers" guild just as long as they do not have a submission in the contest.
5. Committee members will agree to the start and stop dates of each contest.