Curfew

Helping another curfew breaker is a sure way to get himself into trouble…

…but can he really leave the dazed and confused man to face punishment without trying to help?

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(c) 2012 Simon Goodson.
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Curfew

Curfew

Pressed against a shadowy wall and breathing as quietly as he could manage Roger stared down the moonlit alleyway, studying the kneeling figure some twenty feet away.  The alley was narrow and strewn with rubbish overflowing from several commercial bins.  The figure Roger was studying knelt in one of the few well lit areas, head in hands.

When Roger first spotted the figure he’d been wary, suspecting a trap.  Curfew had started hours before, most of those still about in the city would be up to no good and many would be involved in organised crime.  The papers were full of stories about ill advised curfew breaking leading to gruesome deaths at the hands of the gangs.

After several minutes of careful observation Roger was pretty certain no one was hiding in the shadowy alley.  He couldn’t rule out the possibility of people waiting poised behind the alleys doorways waiting to leap out, but why bother?  He was one middle aged man with a touch of arthritis.  Slightly built and old before his time, any gang member could easily run Roger down and subdue him.  The only other likely target for a trap, the curfew enforcing militia patrols, went around with so much high tech gear and weaponry that any attempt at a trap would turn into a bloodbath for those springing it.

The kneeling figure didn’t seem like a normal curfew breaker either.  Roger had detected almost no movement during his minutes studying the stranger.  Now Roger had a decision to make.  Approach or leave.  He chose to approach.

From the first step Roger’s heart started to beat faster.  The space between his shoulders itched, expecting to be struck.  As he moved closer Roger was able to make out more details of the kneeling figure.  The kneeling man he now saw.  The man was wearing strange clothes, some sort of all in one outfit covering him like a baby grow from his feet to his neck.  The material was plain and dark grey though strong looking.  As Roger moved closer he could see the man’s hands were also covered by the outfit, it split into gloves covering his hands and fingers.

The man had very short dark hair, the exact colour impossible to pick out in the moonlight.  As Roger neared he realised the man was bigger than he’d first thought, probably over six feet, with a muscular build.  And still he didn’t react to Roger’s approach.  While Roger was being careful he was far from silent.  The rubbish strewn across the alley made sure of that.  Roger stopped several feet away, out of easy reach.  Still no reaction.

“Hey, are you OK?” Roger asked softly.  Hardly the most original line but good enough.  Still no response.

“Hey.  You OK?” Roger repeated, louder this time.  Again no response.

Heart pounding Roger stepped in closer, leant down and at full stretch gently touched the man’s shoulder.  The material felt slippery and cold.  The man jerked his head round to face Roger who stumbled back several steps.  He might have run then, but the look on the man’s face stopped any such thoughts.  The man looked lost, uncertain, scared.

“Where am I?” he asked weakly.

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