A Short Contest Entry
DICK AND JANE GO CAMPING
See Dick run. Run, Dick, run! You better run faster, Dick, because they’re getting closer!
Dick doesn’t know how close they are, but he has to stop for a minute to catch his breath. Sweat is pouring off of him—he feels like he’s going to melt in the 110 degree heat—and with the sun directly overhead, shade is practically nonexistent here in the highlands. He looks at the long, jagged claw marks on his arm where they almost got him. They’re not bleeding anymore, but infection could certainly be possible.
He wipes his brow and stands up. Somewhere off in the distance he hears them calling for him.
“You can’t run forever, Dick!”
He thinks about Jane. Where is she? Is she safe? Is she still alive?
“We can smell you, Dick!”
~ ~ ~
See Jane cry. Cry, Jane, cry. Plaintive tears roll down her cheeks because she doesn’t know where Dick is, but others are of joy because she’s found safety from her pursuers in a small cave, at least temporarily. She’s tired and thirsty, but unlike Dick, she has some shade.
She and Dick have been running since the sun came up, and they’ll most likely be running until it goes down, maybe longer. Maybe all night, maybe for the rest of their lives, or until they are caught, at which point their lives will end anyway.
Jane wonders why they’re running, if all this is pointless, if they’re just prolonging the inevitable. She wipes her tears away and then sees something off to the side of the cave: a full skeleton, the eyeless sockets of the skull staring at her, as if to say, “There’s no escaping, Jane. As you can see, not even this cave can save you.”
~ ~ ~
Dick is no longer running, Jane is no longer crying. They’ve been reunited just before dusk after being captured, and now they’re sitting together watching their captors discuss plans around a large bonfire about what they want to do with them. Heavy chains are padlocked around the couple’s ankles, securing them to the rear bumper of an old, rusty truck. A crescent moon watches them from above.
Jane tells Dick about the skeleton she saw in the cave and what she imagined it told her. Dick apologizes for taking them on this trip. Jane tells him it’s not his fault, that she came along willingly and neither one of them thought something like this would happen.
They’re no longer fearful. They’ve resigned themselves to their fate.
A grizzled old man (the leader?), his clothes filthy and torn, approaches them with a machete in hand. Dick recognizes him by his fingernails alone, the same fingernails that made the claw marks on his arm.
The man smiles. His teeth, the ones he has left, are yellow and chipped. He leans down and sniffs the air.
“You two sure look good,” he says. “I just hope you taste as good as you smell.”