A threatening text lures me out...
|I lifted one booted foot and crossed my legs at the ankle. Beneath lowered lids, I surveyed Hannigan's. The scarred tables and the lingering smell of stale alcohol hadn't changed since my last visit. The barkeep slid a bottle of beer to a waiting customer and I nodded in approval. If you were high enough in the instep to believe that beer should be drunk from a glass, you should be drinking elsewhere.
Hannigan's wasn't a cafe, a wine bar or a cocktail lounge. It was a pub. It wasn't politically correct, and it only adhered to enough 'health and safety' standards to stay open. Somewhere on the underside of one of the wooden tables scattered throughout the dimly lit room was my name, scratched in with the blade of a small knife on my very first visit. I had been fifteen. Certainly not legal, but what the law didn't know wouldn't hurt them.
No one paid me any mind, and I wondered where my adversary was. It was past four. There was no clock in the room - like all in the hospitality industry, the barkeep knew better than to remind his customers of the time - but I knew that enough time had passed that he should have been here by now. I felt the urge to check my phone again, but fought it. I knew what the text said.
"Meet me at 4pm at Hannigan's. Your life depends on it." I hadn't bothered ringing the number. You'd have to be some sort of stupid to answer the phone after sending a message like that. And while the text was overly dramatic, I was curious to know who sent it.
I nursed the beer and eyed the other patrons, and finally I checked my watch. It was five. Really, it was doubtful he was coming at all, whoever 'he' was. I sighed and was just sitting straighter in my seat, preparing to stand, when someone rushed in the front door, waving and yellling.
"Oi, there's a fire over at Cross Street! Big one! They reckon there's people trapped in their 'ouses and dead!" A swell of noise ran through the room, and a few would-be rubber neckers darted out, presumably to head over and gawk at the devastation. The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. Cross Street. I lived on Cross Street.
398 words. Written for "The Writer's Cramp" . Prompt: Your character gets a text saying "Meet me at 4pm at Hannigan's Pub. Your life depends on it."
First place winner of March 2014 round of "Invalid Item" . Prompt: Write a story without specifying gender.