I was window-shopping when I noticed him standing in the rain-drenched street, intently staring at the screen in his hand. He was frowning down at it and periodically gazing around, too distracted to notice the oversized public transport barreling toward him. Most drivers prefer to use the above-ground transit systems since the city streets are rather confining for aerial vehicles, but occasionally larger vehicles are diverted here to alleviate congestion in the skyways.
I quickly cancelled out my transaction half-entered on the shop window kiosk and sprinted into the street, tackling him to throw us both out of harm’s way. We landed in a heap in the gutter, rolling to a stop in the middle of an unfortunately large puddle. He sat up, anger on his face, until the transport roared past us. His expression quickly changed to shock, and he stared down the street after it.
“Thank you,” he told me, gratefulness clear in his voice as he pulled us both to our feet. “Clearly I need to watch where I’m going.”
We both shook ourselves trying to fling the water that was clinging to our skin back into the street, and I agreed wholeheartedly with him, my excitement of saving a life momentarily dampened by the state of my clothing.
“What were you doing anyway?” I demanded, wondering what had been so riveting on that screen of his.
“Looking for someone. They are supposed to be here somewhere, but these concrete buildings are interfering with my tracking system.”
I had passed down this street often and apparently still in the gracious mood, quickly offered to help.
“That would be wonderful,” he admitted, turning back to his screen miraculously unharmed from our tumble and recited the name to me.
“That’s me!” I exclaimed, shocked and amazed at our serendipitous meeting. “Why were you looking for me?!”
He looked shocked as well, staring down at his screen before shoving it into his pocket. He glanced around at the streets before asking me if any more transports would be passing this way. Annoyed that he had ignored my question but empathizing with his shock at finding himself almost dead, I told him based on the density of aerial vehicles filling the sky above us, another would probably be passing by in the next few minutes.
“Most fortuitous,” he muttered to himself, and I had to agree. I don’t usually trek out of my living quarters on a rainy day, but the small room had felt stifling. Except for us, the streets were empty, and he undoubtedly would have found himself flattened on the road if I hadn’t been distracted by the flashing displays in the shop window and decided to stop.
“I suppose it’s time I tell you why I was looking for you,” he admitted.
I agreed that would be appreciated, though our interactions had been a refreshing break in my day.
“You see…” he began, turning to me with a grave expression. “I was sent to find you, and failing to do so would have been very…unfortunate for me. Now that we’ve met, I admit a certain reluctance, but consequences will be consequences, and I’d rather not be the one to suffer them.”
“What are you talking about?” I questioned, even more confused now than before he started talking.
“I was sent to kill you,” he concluded, shoving me into the path of a passing transport.
It’s been a terrible week for writing prompts. Thankfully I was able to get some work done on my other drafts, so I will count that as a win. Hopefully next week is better for getting more of these short stories out.
I finished reading The Children of Hurin (Tolkien). Wow… That book was heartbreaking and uncharacteristically emotional for Tolkien. I will hopefully be posting a response to it soon. Now I’m reading The Left Hand of Darkness (Le Guin). Her descriptions are infuriatingly good! She packs so much atmosphere into just a few words. It’s definitely work reading just for that.
Shout out to my amazing husband who got me an iPad for Valentine’s Day. I’m posting with it right now, and I love it.