MANA'S SHORT STORY SERIES LIST ON SIDE COLUMN

"THE RUNNING MAN" BY TAYLOR YAROS

     

Image by
 Anja🤗#helpinghands#stayathome #solidarity#stays healthy🙏 from Pixabay
 
     He was being hunted. Not by any sort of militia, gang, or terrorist group. No, this group was much worse. He was being hunted by the same people who were meant to protect him and everyone else in this country. 

     The invisible men who made problematic people disappear or make their deaths look like an accident. The people were trained killers. The man didn’t want to think such things were possible. 

     He, also, didn’t think it had been a coincidence that the red truck barely missed ramming into him on the side street when he was walking home from the grocery store four days ago or how his gas stove had conveniently been left on when he got home this afternoon. If it hadn’t been for the scent leaking out from under the door, his lit cigarette would have blown the house to pieces throughout the subdivision.

     It was his fault, his own stupid fault that caused him to have to quietly run from his house. He used his gym bag to pack just a few changes of clothes, his toothbrush, a wad of spare cash, and other minute essentials that would get him by. The man normally went to the gym after work, so he figured that looking like he was going to the gym would buy him a few minutes to get ahead of whoever was after him. 

     When he drove, the sweat from his hands caused the steering wheel to have a bright sheen to it. He had currently been stopped for less than an hour at a small diner right off the expressway. He drove for four hours and would've kept going, but hunger was a powerful player in hasty decisions. He parked in the very back of the diner’s parking lot, promising himself to only stop for a quick meal and, then, be gone. 

     His car keys were resting next to a glass of water that was dripping all over the table. His shaking hands, also, helped add to the pile as he spilled it twice when drinking. He left his phone at home because it could be used as a tracking device, and all of his phone calls were surely going to be monitored. 

     The idea of running was still new to him, and a small part of him hoped that those accidents were just coincidences. However, for his job he recently discovered some government officials were guilty of purposely shortening the yellow traffic lights in poorer communities so that they would have to pay the ticket fees.

     The money was being directed into false bank accounts named after charity projects that led right into the official’s pockets. When he wrote an article about it, the article was not allowed to run in the paper, and not even a week after that the incidents started to occur.

     The man decided it would be best to lie low for a while. His old college roommate had a house in Canada where he would ask to stay once he crossed the border. The border wasn't more than two hours away by car; the man figured he could make it there before Midnight. He also figured he had a small lead on the people after his head.

     After a quick meal of a hot roast beef sandwich, he checked his watch. He had been at the diner for thirty minutes, which was almost too long. Dropping a five on the table for the waitress, the man turned and started his car through the window with his key fob. It was far too risky to walk outside twice. 

     He watched his car lights turn on as the engine started. Then he watched as it erupted in a ball of hot red flame and blew up into a million pieces.





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