The Observation Deck: 1 – Set Limits

Last week, after looking at ‘The Observation Deck – A Tool Kit for Writers‘ many a time, I finally succumbed and grabbed a copy, deciding I would put it to the test and use its writing prompt cards to get something written regularly, even if each piece only ends up being a piece of flash fiction.


First card out of the pack was ‘set limits’.  I’m sure that recent events and the whole race against time thing had some influence on what this first exercise became:

Set Limits.

Brett checked his gun.

Three shots – that was it, just three, then it would be all over – one way or the other the night would end.

He pushed his back tight against the dumpster, tried to raise his leg higher, his boot dragging on the ground, but the wound in his knee screamed in pain as he moved.

One damned lucky shot, that’s all the guy got, just one – but it had been enough to fell him, chipping his kneecap and sending him crashing to the ground.

Brett was alone.

The news had come in suddenly. He’d got his break – the bomber had been located, his latest device ready to be set – and, he’d been close, real close. A lucky break, at least that had been his first thought. Now, sheltered in the darkness, shredding pain roaring up his leg and knowing that time was fast running out, he wasn’t so sure.

Holding his gun arm tight to his chest, Brett knew it was time to act, to do whatever he could. Back-up was too far away and, besides, he was too exposed to risk using his radio, so had silenced it as soon as he’d entered the alleyway.

It was just him. Just him and him alone that could do anything to stop the next explosion.

His ears still filled with the rushing sound since the firefight, Brett slowly eased himself down until he was lying on his side and then he cautiously began to roll his body over and out from behind the safety of the dumpster, his handgun held out firmly before him, his elbow locked in an attempt to steady the shaking that had begun since taking the bullet in his leg.

He squinted in the darkness, at first seeing nothing but then, like a wonderful epiphany, he saw something up ahead, a quick and small flash of red in the darkness.

It was the LED display of a digital clock counter. The timer on the device. A device still held by the bomber. A weapon he was yet to prime.

Three shots, that’s all he had. Three shots and no time.

Brett knew that he had no choice but to take the shots, risking that all of them might go wide of the target he couldn’t actually see.

Two close to where he’d seen the red light, one to either side, then one a little higher and central – it was all he could choose to do.

He felt his eyes close as he pulled the trigger, in the darkness they had offered him little in the way of help anyhow, one shot, two shots and then the third, each ringing out into the quiet of the alleyway, and then he waited.

At first there was no sound, just the hum in the air as the sound of the gunshots faded away into the night.

And then came a clatter – the sound of something metal hitting the ground.

Brett opened his eyes and saw the glow of the red display in the distance. The bomb timer was directly facing him where it had been dropped. The display didn’t appear to be moving.

And then a shadow fell across the display with a sickening thud.

The bomber’s face lay inches from the red LEDs, their glow casting a glow to his cheek and eye.

His open eye.

His dead eye.



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