Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ransom

"It says: 'If you want your children to be safe, call 985-655-2500 now!'" Bryce let his eyes linger on the paper for a few moments before looking confusedly at Sarah.

Sarah stood with eyes wide open and mouth agape "It's a ransom note?!"

Bryce caught onto the fear quickly. Unsure of whether to keep holding the note or toss it to the ground, he spoke frantically. "I- I don't know! It's so neat!"

"It's neat? You think it's neat?"

"No, I mean... not neat like 'Oh, cool!' I mean it's... it's typed up."

Sarah hesitated for a moment trying to understand what Bryce meant, giving him a look that questioned his sanity. Bryce spoke up again in his own defense. "Y'know, like, usually these things are made of magazine clippings and all wrinkly."

"Wha- usually?! How many ransom notes do you see on a daily basis?"

"You know, like ones in movies."

"Bryce! This is real life! This is a real ransom note! Obviously they aren't going to be as flashy as Hollywood!"

"Well, they had enough time to place a little picture of a crying girl on here. And look, even the crime watch signal is in the corner. What kind of weirdo does that? Is it like... his signature?"

"Bryce! Focus! There's something very wrong about this. Don't you get it?"

"Well, I guess it's just weird that it was on our car, since we don't have... a kid..."

"Right! So obviously it was meant for someone else!"

"Oh. Oh. ... OH! And if they didn't put it on their car, they don't know what number to call!"

Sarah was more frantic than ever, now that her fears had been confirmed by Bryce reaching the same conclusion she had. "Oh no, oh no, oh no, ohno-ohno-ohno!"

"No, no, no, calm down I'll just put it on the car... next to us." His last words deflated as he took notice of the cars that took the two spaces on either side of them. "I knew I should have taken the space at the end instead of one over! Then we'd know for sure who's car it belonged to. But no, you said to park one over so someone else could take the spot, that way no kids would hit the car with baseballs."

"Don't you dare blame this on me, Bryce! Someone's child is in trouble! We have bigger problems! Look, this is easy, all we do is call the police and let them know." Sarah pulled out her phone and began unlocking it before Bryce ripped it out of her hand in a swift movement.

"No, Sarah! What are you thinking?! If you call the police, who knows what they'll do to the kid? Then it'll be all our fault that the kid gets hurt!"

Sarah breaths in sharply and clasps her hands over her mouth. "You're right! You're so right. I'm sorry!"

"It's fine, don't worry, no damage done. What I think our only option is... is calling the number on the note. We'll tell them they made a mistake, then... we'll be off the hook."

"What?! First of all, I can't believe you would just do that and walk away without actually trying to help. Second of all, how is that idea any better? People don't just randomly steal kids for ransom, they only do that for families they know have money. Then, they scout them and make sure they know the family routines. So if they've done that, they'll know the parent's voices! What if they think they hired us as private detectives and we end up just making them have to pay more in the end, and get ourselves in danger?"

"Wha? And you said I was thinking too 'Hollywood'? Well, if that's not a good idea, then what is? We have to do something! We can't just drop the note on the ground and walk away like we never saw anything! It's our duty as good citizens to alert some kind of authority, or make someone else aware of this!"

Their raised voices battled back and forth for about a minute before a young looking man in business casual dress came from behind the tree line holding a large stack of crumpled papers. While the fight disconcerted him, he didn't see any reason to get involved, and put one of the small papers under the windshield wiper of the car next to theirs. Sarah noticed this happening behind Bryce, and watched as the young man continued doing the same for each of the cars in the row aside from their's and the one car separating them from the edge. Sarah walked over to one of the cars and pulled the paper out, and saw it was the same paper that had been in theirs. She took the paper from the next car down as well, and this time the young man took notice. "Hey! What are you doing with those!"

Sarah, still filled with emotion, but now very confused, shouted at the man. "What are these?!"

He responded a bit fearfully, but trying to maintain a business-like composure. "Flyers. I'm... just putting them on cars to raise awareness."

Bryce cut into the conversation "Awareness for what?"

"A start-up alarm system business I just got hired at. I'm going around town putting flyers in cars."

Bryce looked at the paper from his own car, not seeing a business name. "What business? There's no name on here!"

The young man flipped a paper from his stack, and scanned over it as his face turned a bright shade of red. "Oh, no... Oh, man, I'm gonna get so chewed out! Today stinks, man. First this whole stack gets blown away and I spend like ten minutes picking it all up, then this? I'm gonna have to reprint all of these!" He then went and took each of the flyers he had already put in cars and put them back into his disheveled stack.

Bryce and Sarah stood in silence watching this happen until he took out a key and entered the car that was acting as the buffer between theirs and the edge of the lot, tossing the stack into the back of the car and all but peeling out of the parking lot with a face as red as a tomato. They watched the car disappear as their heart rates slowed to a steady pace again. They both glanced at the incomplete flyer in Bryce's hand, then at each other with expressions unsure of whether or not they were willing to admit to what just happened. 

Bryce slowly opened his mouth to speak, but not knowing what to say, just tightened his lips and shook his head as if to shake off the confusion and disbelief, instead unlocking their car, and letting Sarah in. He closed her door, then walked around to his side and stepped in as well, handing her the flyer as he started the car. He began driving to the coffee shop they had initially planned to visit after their walk, and after a moment of looking at the flyer, Sarah began laughing heartily at what had just transpired, and Bryce soon joined in with her. They enjoyed the rest of the day, knowing that day was not one they would soon forget.

Prompt #6: "Write a story that begins with a ransom note"

5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I didn't know you were a writer. :3

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    Replies
    1. It's a secret to everyone.

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    2. Are you working on a book, or any other stories? Or just the writing prompts?

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    3. Just the prompts at the moment. Quick little half-an-hourish sessions to fill down time.

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