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The Finish Line

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Silence is the loudest indicator of evil at work.

I stood, bathed in the pale moonlight and lit a cigarette. I brushed some dirt from my suit jacket and stared back at the moon. This is a bad, bad city. I blew out a thick cloud of smoke and embraced the stillness of the night. I always worked better in the silence. The pretty girl was sat on a bench now, overlooking the lake. She was like the first flower of spring; alone, delicate, beautiful. I finished my cigarette and approached the bench on which she was seated, joining her at the opposite end. She didn’t recoil. For a moment, none of us spoke. We just sat and allowed the silence to enfold us, absorbing its unconventional splendour. After what seemed like a while the pretty girl turned and faced me. I watched as she analysed my presence, her eyes reflecting the innermost fascination at my being there. “I’m Laura” said the pretty girl.
“Nice to meet you, Laura” I replied. 
She tried a smile. I tried one back.
“What brings you out so late?” she asked, her voice not disclosing even the slightest trace of fear.
“I like the world better without noise”
She tried another smile, to which I again honoured with a suitable return. We sat in the silence a while longer. My focus switched from Laura to the lake that fell opposite the bench, the calm ripples of the water complimenting the serenity the night had gifted us with. I sat and watched them for a while, until a swan appeared, ruining everything. I turned back to Laura. She was already facing me.
“I’m scared.”
“Then stop running” I replied.
Her sweet face was immersed with trepidatious ponder. “How do you know that I’m running?” she asked, her tone implying the slightest degree of fear for the very first time.
“I know you’re running from something, because you wear a look that I’ve seen a thousand times. In my experience, whatever it is this that’s forced you to run and hide, is probably big and bad enough to catch and find you, or at least do such a good job trying that there isn’t ever going to be a time when you’re not scared. The only way in which fear can be beaten, is by standing up and facing it.”
She turned away.
“I can help you,” I continued. “I know fear. I work with fear. I know it can be beaten, if you do it the right way.”
She stayed turned, unable to speak.
I looked out to the lake again. There were a few swans now. With their trumpet like calls, they told me that they were enjoying spoiling it all. Abruptly, I stood up and began to walk away. I strolled for about 30 seconds until I heard the choir of gravel from behind me that echoed the pretty girl’s imminent arrival. I felt a tap on my shoulder, and turned to face her. She was smiling properly, probably for the first time in a while.
She took a breath.
“I want you to help me” she told me, still smiling.
“Good.”
“But, I don’t even know who you are” she said, still looking for breath.
“Inevitability” I replied, and shot her three times.
As she lay there, like a fallen angel, I watched as an ocean of scarlet surrounded her lifeless body.  Her smile had faded now, but she was free. I looked at the pretty girl for the last time, and then left. Walking, I lit another cigarette. I was alone with the silence again, isolated with my thoughts. I’ll leave in the morning. This is a bad, bad city.

 

 

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