By Tony Lukas
They had followed him into the
passageway and now had him cornered in a bend in the alley. They smirked
and ridiculed him, predators confident that they had treed their
listened to them, what they were saying being really nothing he hadn’t heard
before in one form or another. He stood with his back pressed against the alley
wall, wishing to somehow just pass through it and flee.
His fear was nothing new to him. He had been afraid all his
life, crippled by shyness, intimidated by just about everyone from store clerks
to school bullies, from telemarketers to the type A personalities at his jobs,
from a stern father to insurance salesmen. He’d always resolved after each
incident of being cowed or taken advantage of to do better, to stand up and not
be manipulated and shoved around. But he never did, at work or anywhere. He
always caved and hated them and himself for it.
And here it
all was manifest in two smirking punks, all the crap he had swallowed his whole
life personified in a pair worthless, arrogant nothings. He stared
at their mocking faces and felt his lifetime of frustration and fear and
the rage...rage...rage boiling inside him.
deep within, a pounding in his very core, then rose as a growl deep in his
throat; his mouth opened and vomited out a wail that rose to a howl that
smashed into the alley walls and pounded the air. He screamed and
screamed, his arms rigid, his hands claws, his whole body emptying out the
years of abuse and humiliation in a scream that would not stop. The fetid
air of the alley pulsed with it, the waves roaring out from him and slamming
into the punks and shoving them back and back and back, pounding them down to
the filthy pavement, their bodies contorting as their bones snapped and blood
gushed from their gasping mouths.
He heard none of that over the anguished
wail that was still pouring from him, until it slowly weakened, trailing off to
nothing as he sagged against the alley wall, spent, empty, now hearing
only his own quiet sobs and what sounded like the bubbling mewing of a dying
cat coming from down the alley.
Lukas, firstname.lastname@example.org, of Petaluma, California,
who wrote BP
#82’s “Scream” (+ BP #77’s “Smith’s Emporium”), is a retired attorney and
chocolatier, now spending time working t-time in a national park and writing a
story or two. He has previously been published in overmydeadbody.com, bewilderingstories.com,
and Yellow Mama.