This was written for Daily Prompt: Choose Your Adventure:
Write a story or post with an open ending, and let your readers invent the conclusion.
I stand just above Upper Falls on the Yellowstone River. So beautiful, so majestic. I have been working in the park for a little over a month. My journey to Yellowstone National Park has been a tumultuous one. War. Alcohol. Drugs. Loneliness. I look out into the vastness of beauty before me then take a deep breath. No one is around. I spread my arms out as if I can fly……(fill in the rest)
Your challenge this week is to write a post based on the above picture.
As I walk down the cobblestone sidewalk I finally see her in the distance. She is as beautiful as in her pictures. I glance around to see my surroundings. It is a peculiar location. A little alley with tall apartment buildings on each side the street car tracks. As I stand and wait for her to reach me, the street car has stopped to unload its passengers. I carefully eye each one as they exit. I look back down the hill as she is finally approaching me. We look like casual tourist. I say Hi to her in her native language which brings a smile to her face. As she reaches for me we hug. I feel her slide the mini container into my pocket as my eyes look around hoping this goes unnoticed. With her thick Ukrainian accent she says to hug longer. I comply as I reach in my pocket and pull out the syringe. I quickly poke her in the stomach. Her body goes limp as the streetcar begins to move forward. She struggles to get away from my grip but can’t. Her body is slowing down as the drug quickly takes away her capacities. The street has stopped next to us. I quickly drag the female around the front and reach the door. As we enter I move past the driver and softly lay her down on the floor. I feel the street car moving forward as I stand up. My heart is racing as I walk back to the front behind the driver.
“The duffel bag is on the rear seat. Go to it and get dressed. Quickly,” the driver says. “I believe we have gone unnoticed. But hurry. We’ve got to get her delivered and you out of here!”
I stand and walk towards the rear seat as instructed. I look in every direction as I reach the seat. Everything is as planned. As I casually take my seat next to the duffel bag I take one final glance out the rear of the streetcar. I am relieved that no one appears to be following us. I remove the clothes from the bag and quickly change. Casual slacks with a nice bright-colored Chaps shirt and loafers. Inside the duffel bag I find my wallet, passport and ID badge. I am now ready for my flight back to the United States. I stand up and walk to the front of the street car. I stop at the head of the woman on the ground and bend down. I feel for a pulse in her neck. “She’s still breathing Harry.” I then rustle through her bag and find what I actually met her for. Another larger disk is inside her bag. Ah, like magic I think to myself. I stand, brush off my clothes then walk toward the front of the street car.
Harry is at the controls of the street car. He is an agent for the Italian SISMI, an agency of the Ministry of Defense. I am sure that is not his real name. His real name is probably Baldovino or Fiorello. But at this moment I could care less. He is my partner in this joint mission between the United States and Italy. The SISMI set up this exchange of information between myself and an agent from Ukraine. A few years planning for a couple of round disks and less than two minutes to execute. “Two years,” I think as I take a seat behind Harry. I place both disks inside a brief case behind Harry’s seat. It is the most important mission in my young CIA career. Finally able to relax, I feel the cool morning breeze blowing in my face and take in the scenery around me. I have not slept much in the past week. Soon this will all end! A car will pick me up at a drop-off location and take me to the American Embassy. Soon afterward I will fly home like I was on a summer vacation.
As we move along the street I notice a car parked across the tracks ahead of us. Harry looks behind and just nods his head upward. He then brings the street car to a halt. He looks at me and says to stay in my seat. As he exits the street car my heart races with anticipation. Is there something going wrong with our plan? Who are these guys? I wasn’t aware this scenario. This was not how the mission unfolded in the briefing yesterday! The rear window of the car rolls down as Harry peers inside. Suddenly another car stops next to the street car. Two men slowly exit and enter inside. Without a word they grab the woman and carry her off the streetcar into the rear seat of the vehicle. My heart is again racing as the car speeds off.
As I look ahead of me I see Harry stand up and turn toward me. He adjust his shirt and begins walking my direction. My mind is racing. Is something very wrong about to happen? Harry reaches the street car then takes his seat. As he begins to move the street car forward he turns around and says “a little change of plans Michael. But it went down smoothly. Now off we go to get you back to the embassy. Mission accomplished.”
Not far down the road Harry stops the street car. I notice a man in the suit right in front of where we stopped glancing our direction. I stand and exit onto the street. “Thanks for taking the street car today sir, have a great afternoon. Enjoy Italy,” Harry says to me. I turn to him as he drives away. He smiles and give me a little wave. I walk to the man on the street who causally opens his wallet to reveal his embassy credentials. We walk toward the car without saying a word. I take my seat in the rear of the car. My body goes limp as I breathe a sigh of relieve. Yes Harry, mission accomplished.
I am from a small town in south Louisiana. Everyone knows everyone. Even though David was 4 years older than me, I knew him my whole life. Along with being from the same town, we both attended an all boys catholic school in the neighboring town. When he was in senior I was in the eight grade. We never really had any in debt conversations but we did talk on occasion and we’d always say hi to one another.
It was homecoming day 1977. A Friday afternoon, last period. I look across the hall and I see David. He is looking towards the center of the class and I don’t recall him ever looking my way. I don’t know why I just noticed him there today. It’s the first week of November so we have been in school for a couple of months. Maybe he was assigned a different desk, who knows. I just remember seeing him there. So clear. Like a snapshot in my mind. Still so vivid all these years later.
That Friday evening David was murdered. He was with his girlfriend after the homecoming dance when two me approached their car and kidnapped them. They drove to a rural location and raped the girl then shot them both. Now that doesn’t happen in a small town in the late 70’s. To someone I know. It was shocking to say the least. All the kids that attended this school from my town were forced to go to the funeral. It was frightening to be so young and see such a young person dead. The same person I had seen only a few days before, hours before his death. To make things worst we were all interviewed by law enforcement at school the following week. It was a dreadful experience.
If you ever saw the movie Dead Man Walking with Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn you know the story of the man who was convicted of these murders. I know the young man murdered. The story is about the friendship between the murderer and a nun from New Orleans who he wrote while on death row. It is a good movie with great performances by both. I find the book is much better.
The reason I told this story is I wonder if it was really that particular day I am remembering. I have always believed it was that day. However, does our mind play tricks on us when we think back? I have always wondered about this memory, this moment in time. Maybe I saw him a week before and that is when my mind took that picture of him. Maybe I did indeed see him that day. I suppose it’s just God’s way of making me remember him. I see him, so clearly in that desk. So full of life. That is my memory of him.