THE PRICE OF TREASON

A beautiful day in the Old Town, or what remained of it.

The buildings that had stood for centuries were now reduced to rubble.

As Farouk walked through the cluttered streets there were signs of life re-emerging. Children’s voices could be heard. Groups of people gathered and gossiped as they had done before the war.

The occupying forces had left. The time of immediate danger was over.

The chalk sign on the door to his house had been a surprise. Two dashes with a curve – meet at midday in the main square cafe.

He had thought all the international agencies had left the country.

A last farewell perhaps, maybe a final reward for the information Farouk had provided over the years.

The table they usually met at was unoccupied. A piece of paper was lying on it.

His stomach lurched.

In Arabic letters it read: ‘Do you know the price of treason?’

The world went dark as a black bag smothered Farouk’s face.

Passersby carried on walking. They had learned to look the other way.


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Copyright Grant-Sud

Written as part of Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story in around 150 words, based on the weekly photo prompt. Thanks as always to the challenge host Priceless Joy. For more information visit HERE.

To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

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SNAKE EYES

Hank pulled at the collar that was irritating his neck. He felt the clammy sweat on his skin. What had happened to the air conditioning in here? The Stickman offered him the bowl with five dice in it. Hank reached out and selected two. He held them tightly in his moist fist. His turn as the shooter. Just one more big win, he told himself.

The evening had started with little expectation of success. A final, desperate attempt to raise enough money. Win or bust. Hank was exhausted having driven Route 80 from Sacramento. He had left his house at nine that morning and arrived in Vegas at seven in the evening. He checked in to the hotel, changed into his suit – the only luggage he had brought with him – and been on the casino floor by eight.

He had never gambled in a real casino before. He’d played on the internet. He’d played in a couple of backroom games with friends and people he knew. He’d made modest gains and modest losses. Playing these small scale games would never bank him the money he needed. He had run out of time to wait for small amounts to accumulate. He needed a big win and he needed it tonight.

Poker and Blackjack were too dangerous in a town like Vegas for a newcomer. Experienced pros would make quick work of him. He never fancied the odds in Roulette. Craps seemed like his best shot. In Craps, the gambler has only two options – to place their money on the Pass line, or on the Don’t Pass line. The rest is entirely down to Lady Luck.

Joining the table he’d started with a couple of small stakes on the rolls of the other shooters. The first one was a bust when the shooter threw out a three and a four, a Natural Seven, on the come out roll. Hank lost the chips he had placed on the Don’t Pass line. He had better luck with the next shooter who came out with a four to establish the point. With the next roll they threw a five, then a six and then repeated the four. Hank’s chips on the Pass line were returned to him with his winnings.

Then the dice passed to the woman who Hank would remember for the rest of his life. Auburn hair, tied in a bun on the top of her head, with loose strands flowing down to her pale slender, neck; dark green eyes that flashed across the faces she looked upon; pale pink lips raised in a confident half-smile. She wore a scarlet dress revealing toned, slim shoulders and a necklace of gold that glinted under the table lights. Continue reading “SNAKE EYES”

RETURN TO THE PAST

The heat was relentless. Even under his straw hat, Phillips could feel his scalp burning. The locals stayed indoors during the middle of the day, when the sun was at it’s peak. That was why he chose to take his daily stroll at this time.

His cane slipped on the uneven cobbles as he wandered through the empty, narrow streets. Rounding the corner he took in the view of the Mediterranean beyond the cliffs. Across the inlet Sainte-Tropez sparkled.

He had settled into the relaxed anonymity of the French Riviera. Too settled. It would be time to move on soon. To where he hadn’t decided. Perhaps somewhere a bit cooler. A bit less blue. His thoughts turned to home. He missed the grey and mild climate of Britain. The leaves would be turning now, from lush green, to crisp gold.

Never being able to return to his country of birth was just one of the sacrifices he had made. Faces of those he had loved, lost, befriended and betrayed haunted his memories. In the glare of the bright sun he closed his eyes and saw the ghosts again. Pawns in the great game, and he was just another one. Continue reading “RETURN TO THE PAST”

Z IS FOR ZEBRA

The sun shone on Oslo, the signs of Spring finally showing. There was warmth in the sun and families sat on picnic rugs and played games on the grass. Sand and Gabi walked along the path. Gabi’s arm was still in a sling. The bruises and swelling on Sand’s face had receded. He moved stiffly with two broken ribs and the stitches in his shoulder.

It had been a week since Sand had been picked up from the yacht. Dag Moen was missing presumed dead. In the stormy sea the chances of anyone being able to swim back to shore were zero. In the sub-zero temperatures he would have frozen to death in less than a minute.

‘He stole the yacht as part of his plan?’ Gabi asked. Sand hadn’t been back to work yet. Although they had spoken briefly on the ‘phone, it was her first chance to get the full story.

Sand nodded. ‘It was supposed to be his getaway, I think. He should have killed me on the whaler and then got away before anyone missed me. They found the owner of the yacht in his apartment. Moen had followed him home one night, broken into his place and left him tied up in the closet. Took the keys for his yacht.’

‘He was lucky to get away alive. If Moen was evil or insane, why didn’t he kill him too?’

‘Nothing is black and white,’ Sand said. ‘I’m not convinced he was pure evil. There was motive to what he was doing, and he had a plan that made sense in his reality. I was the target all along.’ Continue reading “Z IS FOR ZEBRA”

Y IS FOR YACHT

Sand sprinted as fast as his aching body would carry him along the dock. In the storm he kept losing sight of Moen until the dark was illuminated by a fresh lightning strike and he saw the toiling figure ahead. They ran clear of the hulking whaling ships, now it was private yachts and sailboats that were anchored in a marina, bobbing about on the surf caused by the strong wind.

Moen turned sharply and leapt onto one of the yachts. By the time Sand had drawn level with him he had untied it’s mooring and started the engine. He looked back at Sand as the gap of water between the dock and the yacht grew. Sand could only watch. The sea water would kill him in minutes if he jumped into it, and Sand wasn’t a great swimmer.

Bakke arrived, out of breath. ‘He’s gone,’ he puffed, bending over, hands on knees.

They watched the yacht motor through the harbour. Sand followed the direction it was travelling. ‘It’s never over,’ he said. He left Bakke standing gulping in air as he sprinted along the marina walkway. Continue reading “Y IS FOR YACHT”