So, here’s a longer scene. We were introduced to editing in this last module, and I haven’t done any on this particular scene. We were to write about 1000 words and put it up for the other class participants to look at. We have a couple of questions to answer about each submission we view, and the hope is things make sense. I think long term, it is to get us thinking about our audience and making things better for them to read. Anyway, I hope you enjoy…
Dan sprinted down the empty street, not sure where he was going but he knew it needed to be away from where he was. He thought he heard footsteps behind him, but couldn’t see anything in the gloom of the night. The streetlights were casting a faint glow in the fog, but they did nothing to cut through the night.
Things had started earlier in the day with a chance encounter at the store with an old work acquaintance. Dan had been shopping for a few groceries when he saw someone he thought he recognized. This person was staggering down the aisle towards Dan, and it took a moment before he did indeed identify this person as Frank Thompson.
Dan and Frank had worked together at a software company for a few years. They were in different departments, but their paths had crossed a handful of times depending on the various projects they had been working on. Dan barely recognized Frank now, though. He had lost a lot of a weight and his skin appeared jaundiced.
Frank’s eyes flashed in recognition when he saw Dan staring in his direction. He stumbled towards the shocked man and nearly fell into him.
“Dan…Dan…I thought that was you. I don’t have much time left. Take this.” He shoved a small envelope into Dan’s hands. “Don’t let them get it. In fact, get out of here. Go far away.”
Before Dan could get a word in, Frank stumbled away towards the door and out into the world.
Dan just stood there, speechless. He had no idea what any of this was about, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to know or be mixed up in it. Before he could put much thought into it, though, he heard a commotion coming from the back of the store. The sound of boxes tumbling down and people shouting reached his ears.
In a split second, he realized that the sound he heard was likely related to what he had just experienced. Before he could put more thought into it, a base instinct told him to get the hell out of there and worry about things later. He listened to his gut, left his basket behind, and followed the path that Frank had taken just moments before.
He had no idea what to do or where to go, but whatever he had inadvertently gotten himself involved in required quick thinking and a safe place. He ran to his car, got in, and started the engine and left the parking lot. As he was pulling out of the lot, he saw two men dressed in dark suits come running out of the front of the store looking around to see where Frank may have gone.
At least, Dan was assuming that was who they were looking for. He thought that there was no way that they could have known that whatever Frank had been carrying had now been passed off to him.
He drove down the road, trying to figure out where to go when he saw a man stumble and collapse on the sidewalk. All too late, he realized that was Frank. He fought the urge to turn around and help him. He had a feeling that to do so would spell his own demise. He just wanted to get somewhere where he could stop and think and determine what was going on.
He looked in the rear view mirror and saw a dark SUV pull up to the curb near where Frank had fallen and saw the same two men get out. They checked Frank, and looked away in disgust when they realized that Frank was dead and he no longer had the package they were chasing after.
Dan knew that he was in deep to something he hadn’t signed up for. He kept driving until he found himself a couple of towns over from where he had started from. He realized all too late that he was running out of gas, and there was no gas station to be found. He pulled the car over to the side of the road and sought out shelter.
He found an abandoned building and ducked in there to gather his thoughts and to see what it was that was so important that it had people chasing his old co-worker. He looked around, and took in the empty space. There was only the one door and one window facing out onto the street. The room he was in was dusty, and it appeared that it hadn’t been touched in some time.
He sat on the floor against the wall so he could see out that window, and took the envelope out of his pocket. He opened the flap and let the contents of it fall into his open palm. It was a USB drive, so he assumed that it contained files of some sort. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a computer with him to see what might be in those files.
He looked out the window to see a flash of light go by. He realized that it was the same SUV that he saw a couple of hours ago as all of this was starting to develop. He knew that he had to get out of there, and quickly.
It had gotten dark, and a fog had rolled in as he ran through the deserted streets, completely unaware of where to go.
He thought he heard footsteps behind him, but he realized too late that they were in front of him and he walked right into their waiting trap.
“Dan Willis, we know you have the stick. Give it up and things will be easier for you. We know you weren’t involved in this, but just a victim of circumstance.”
Dan realized that he had been outsmarted, and had no choice in the matter if he wanted to live. He raised his hands above his head and let one of the men reach into his pocket to retrieve the envelope.
Months passed, and he still had no idea as to what happened to him. He had been questioned for hours on end, and he did not have any clearer explanation for what happened than when things started. He just knew that he had been mixed up in something much bigger than himself.