Furious Fiction – April 2021
The brief of the AWC Furious Fiction—April 2021 short story competition was as follows:
- Your story must begin in some kind of queue.
- Your story must include the words CROSS, DROP and LUCKY.
- Your story must include a map.
The Next Clue
I’m standing in a queue behind people I’ll never know in a beige office building, following the orders of The Madman. I’m sick of this psychopath screwing us around, but now the stakes are too high and I have no choice. I thank God, rubbing the Cross around my neck between my thumb and index finger, that my own child is safe and sound at the moment.
I’ve been instructed to go ‘Tony’s’ window. ‘Tony’ is one of The Madman’s lackeys who I would prefer to arrest for being a co-conspirator, but on the captain’s orders, I can’t do that until all the missing children are safe, so it’s his lucky day today. There’s only one more person in front of me, who also drives me crazy by dropping her handbag on the floor. Considering she’s also waiting to see ‘Tony’ for whatever reason, I can’t help but wonder if she knows who I am and if she’s doing this to me on purpose.
I finally face ‘Tony’, I flash my badge and ID without a word. He nods, also without saying a word, and hands me a large, folded piece of paper. I open it up in front of him, it’s a map of the national park, with a red circle around a walking trail, a matching red arrow pointing to the circle and the words ‘meet me here’ next to it.
I haphazardly fold the map and run, hoping that The Madman will confront me in person and we can end this once and for all.