I know I’ve posted enough today, but as I was visiting a few of the contributors to Stream of Consciousness Saturday, I couldn’t resist a challenge posed by Doobster over at Mindful Digressions. In response to the prompt (the incorporation of scene or seen), Doobster wrote a piece of flash fiction. Readers of the story were curious about what happened next and the challenge is simple – continue where the story left off and either complete the tale or keep it going. I’ve posted the original story below, and added an instalment beneath. If you would like to carry it on, please feel free. It’s the kind of ‘game’ I can never resist!
I seen it all
Trying not to panic, Ralph’s eyes darted all around the busy sidewalk in search of his younger cousin, Henry. Ralph knew that Henry wasn’t quite all there, but he had promised his Aunt Sarah that he would take her son with him when he took the bus into the city that Saturday.
Henry had been walking right behind Ralph just a few seconds earlier, but he seemed to have disappeared into the throng of people on the sidewalk. Ralph was feeling frantic. He started to walk back in the direction they’d just come from, glancing from side to side hoping to catch sight of his cousin.
And then he saw Henry running awkwardly toward him. “Hey Ralphie, Ralphie!” Excited and out-of-breath, Henry leaned his head up against Ralph’s shoulder once he caught up with him.
“Ralphie, I seen the whole thing,” Henry said, breathlessly.
“Huh?” Ralph said. “What did you see?”
“The whole thing, Ralphie. I seen the whole thing,” Henry repeated, still trying to catch his breath.
“What whole thing, Henry? What the hell are you talking about?” Ralph pushed Henry, whose head was still nestled into Ralph’s shoulder, away from him. Then he placed both of his arms on Henry’s shoulders and looked into his cousin’s eyes. “Calm down, Henry, and tell me what you saw.”
“I seen HER,” Henry said, brimming over with excitement. “I seen HER,” he repeated.
“Who’s ‘her’?” Ralph asked. “Who did you see?”
“I don’t know who she is,” Henry admitted. “But I seen her, Ralphie. I seen her back there.” Henry turned and pointed to the intersection behind him.
Ralph had never seen Henry this manic and it worried him. He wondered exactly who or what Henry had seen.
“Henry, can you show me who you saw?” Ralph said in a voice as calm and quiet as he could muster.
“I’ll show you what I seen, Ralphie,” Henry said. “Come with me.” Henry grabbed Ralph’s hand and pulled him in the direction from which he had just come running.
They walked to the corner and Henry pulled Ralph to the right. Ralph saw that the side street was blocked off about a third of the way down the block by several blue police barricades. A crowd of maybe 20 people had gathered around the wooden barriers.
“That’s where I seen her, Ralphie,” Henry blurted out, pointing to where the onlookers stood.
They walked toward the crowd and Henry pointed to the center of what was clearly a crime scene. The cops were attaching yellow police tape to the barricades to create a perimeter. In the middle was the body of a young woman.
“That’s her, Ralphie, that’s the woman I seen.”
“Henry, did you see what happened to her” Ralph asked.
“Yeah, Ralphie,” Henry responded. “I seen the whole thing.”
Ralph again grabbed Henry by the shoulders and looked straight into his eyes. “Henry, this is important. Did you see what happened to her?”
Now agitated, Henry responded, “Yes, Ralphie. That’s what I just said. I seen the whole thing. I seen what happened to her.”
“Henry, will you tell the policeman what you saw?”
“Yes, Ralphie. I’ll tell him what I seen.”
This time it was Ralph who grabbed Henry’s hand. They walked to the nearest police officer.
“Officer,” Ralph said.
The cop interrupted him. “This is a crime scene, son. You need to move on.”
“Officer,” Ralph said again. “My cousin says he saw what happened to the woman.”
The cop looked the two of them over. He seemed skeptical. “Wait here,” he said and walked over to another man who was not wearing a uniform. The cop and plain-clothed policeman glanced back that the two teenage boys.
The plain-clothed man approached the two boys. “I’m Detective Morrisey,” he said when he reached them. “Did you two see what happened here?”
Henry stood as tall as he could. “Me!” he said proudly. “It was me. I seen the whole thing. I seen it all.”
“What did you see, son?” Detective Morrisey asked, eyes narrowed, attention sharp.
“I seen them.” Henry paused, as though remembering something important. “I seen them.” The light in his expression dimmed a little. When he turned to Ralph he looked afraid. “They hurt her, Ralphie. She tried to get away, but they hurt her.”
“It’s okay, Henry. The police-”
“I seen it all,” Henry interrupted, his voice shaking. “I seen it all and they seen me.”
Ralph glanced around, the ominous echo of his cousin’s words rippling along his skin. When his gaze fell on Detective Morrisey, he saw the officer signalling to another plain clothed on the scene.
“Why don’t we step over here,” the detective said, in a voice that set Ralph’s nerves on edge. “You can tell us exactly what you saw.”
Ralph grabbed his cousin’s hand again as they followed the detective to a spot behind the tape, away from the gathering crowd. “It’ll be okay, Henry,” he said, trying to reassure them both. “You tell them what happened and we can get out of here.”
“I see them,” his cousin whispered. “I see them and they see me.”
Ignoring the prickling sensation at the back of his neck, Ralph held Henry’s hand a little tighter. There were dozens of eyes on them, he could feel the curious attention burning into his back. It was natural, he told himself, forcing his feet to move. It was perfectly natural to be shaken by what Henry had seen. It didn’t mean they were in danger. They were doing the right thing.
If you want to join in, continue the story from where I left off. Don’t leave me hanging – I’m curious to know what will happen to Henry and Ralph!
Thanks for stopping by