ROW80-3 28/07/2019 Not Too Hot, Really
ROW80-3 04/08/2019 Getting Things Done

The Chase

The prompt this week was based on heat, as it's been pretty hot everywhere. Thanks to human assisted global warming - unless you are a US Republican or a Canadian Conservative. We also had to choose a random location and random thing form two lists. I initially got the same random picks as last time (because it is random) so threw the dice again, and got 'a parking garage' and 'onion rings'. I went more for mood than plot, and ended up with much less than 1000 words, only 650. But I like it.

The Chase

Mary shifted the computer bag to her other shoulder and wiped the sweat from her eyes. Would this heat wave never end? There wasn’t a breath of air in this stuffy parking garage. And barely any sound. Just the clank of a distant, useless fan, and the click of her heels. Heels that were killing her feet now, but had been part of the required business suit for today’s failed presentation.

She could hardly wait to get to her car, turn on the AC, kick off these heels, loosen some zippers, and enjoy the onion rings she’d just bought from a chip wagon. She’d probably have to jog for an hour to burn off the calories, but she needed a treat. She definitely didn’t need the calories. She was already way over both the weight her heart doctor had prescribed and the compromise she had picked.

But first she had to find her car. She though it was level 3, but maybe it was up a ramp at 3 1/2. Or down. She tried her key fob—no answering chirp and light flash. It was dark in here too, with only a few flickering lights over the exits. She was debating whether to just take off her heels and the hell with her stockings when she glanced over the railing and saw a familiar black Mercedes. Damn, down a level. But it was in sight, carefully backed into a handicapped spot. They were wider, so there was less danger of getting dinged by a door.

She paused to celebrate with an onion ring, shifted her heavy bag, and started back down the slope.
Something was different. She paused again. Yes, footsteps, faint, back behind her now. They paused too, briefly, then started up again. Toward her she thought. Not heels, no, it sounded like heavy work boots. It probably was just the parking attendant doing his rounds.

"Hello?" she said.

Nothing. Other than continued steps, and a distant chuckle.

Shit. Time for Plan B. Mary pulled off her heels and started to jog down the slope. Should she drop her shoulder bag? It might slow him down, but maybe not. And it was a brand new computer.
No, she could do it. One-two, one-two, one-two—she ignored her thumping heart, her flushed face, her sore feet and focused on the safety of her car. As she ran she fumbled for her keys, then grasped them between her pudgy fingers. One key actually, what with the fobs for her car and apartment, but it would have to do as a weapon. Around the corner now. She pressed the remote again, and this time was rewarded with a beep and a flash. Almost there. She pressed the remote start and the alarm too. Yes!

She reached her car, gasping for breath, and fumbled for the door latch. He must be right behind her by now. She finally flung the door open, threw her things inside, and tumbled in after.

Locked the door and panted for air. Christ, she must have burned off several bags of onion rings.
The rings—she looked beside her. Nope, she must have dropped them. Great. Her hands were shaking, and she felt like she was burning up. The AC was running on high but right now it was even hotter in the car than outside. She searched through her bag—nope, no water bottle.

She stopped the alarm and edged the car a few feet forward, looking up and down the row. Nobody. She carefully edged the window down an inch and listened. Just the quiet rumble of her car.

She lowered the window all the way and fanned her face in the cooler air.

A large, tattooed hand reached in, holding a greasy bag.

"Lady, you dropped your onion rings. They sure smell good. Mind sharing them?"

Mary gasped, then grabbed her chest. The pain was sharp, like a knife.

 

Comments

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Joyce Juzwik

This is terrific - short and sinister. Is the dark setting and the intense heat making her paranoid, or does she have a reason to be afraid? What really happened at the end? People generally do not follow after anyone to return onion rings. The odd "Mind sharing them?", and then sharp pain? Should've kept driving and opened her window on the highway. Did she get overly stressed over nothing, or did he...

Great story. Builds up the suspense, and then leaves you with a chill. I like it too!

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