56 comments

Crime Contemporary Fiction

"The line's out the door, boss!" Someone yells from the kitchen. My hands are scrambling to make an espresso faster than they ever have.

Trina's mopping up a spill on the floor.

Hames is helping Col figure out how to make one of the new drinks.

The soft bustle of the morning floats in the air. Multiple yawns are passed around the room. People waiting for work. People waiting for coffee. People waiting for pumpkin spice lattes. Not very patiently, but that's what's special about it.

Every year around this time, it can be felt in the air. The stillness of when people know what's coming. The announcement of something that changes their lives every fall.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte.

The day that it's released is the craziest, especially this year.

Starbucks had the crazy idea to not only release a pumpkin spice latte but a full line of autumnal drinks. Now, if you would please hold a drum roll for the introduction of our new initiates. First up we have, the Java Pumpkin Seeds, Roasted Pumpkin...and Falling Beans (aha get it? Falling leaves, falling bea-yeah). Don't they make you feel so...sick to your stomach?

Anyways, the buzz of this day always makes me feel warm. I walk into the door and smell the fresh coffee beans and know immediately what day it is. Cars whip into the parking lot, change rustles around in people's pockets, the steam from the coffee warms the air, and soft conversation fills the room with a hum.

It's only six o'clock but the room is filled to the brim with people, but one man catches my eye as he walks in. Someone makes an angry gesture at him, and yells that there's other people in line. My hands are currently empty so I walk over to him, pushing through the crowd of people.

When I approach him, I notice his cheeks are stained red from the cool weather outside. He stands about two feet taller than me so I have to look up at him, but he still doesn't notice me.

"Sir?"

Green eyes look down at me, straight, white teeth offer a friendly smile. "Ma'am." Freckles decorate his red cheeks, and I swear mine turn red.

"Hey, yeah. So I'm going to have to ask you to get in the back of the line. And wait like everyone else."

"Aw, you can't make an exception for a man in a hurry?" he says, pulling back his coat to glance at his watch. I shake my head and scoot closer to him as the crowd becomes bigger.

"No sir. Please follow the rules or-" He seems to have completely lost interest in our conversation because his eyes have drifted over to another man standing right in front of us. He glances at his watch once more, muttering the time.

6:02

I'm pushed to the side by his bulky arms covered by a bulky gray coat that hangs over his hands. I breathe heavily out of my nose, deciding to leave the situation alone and get the handsome but utterly rude man a coffee. 

Without pumpkin spice. His day doesn’t deserve the flavor.

As I’m grabbing a cup to pour the coffee into, the morning sun that’s just started to poke in through the windows catches something silver, reflecting light into my eyes. I figure it’s someone’s jewelry and when I realize that the glaring light is coming from the rude man, I know it’s his watch. My eyes linger on the peculiar man for a few seconds, his eyes are transfixed on the man in front of him, like he’s trying to burn a hole into the back of his head. 

A warm sensation tingles on the back of my hand, the coffee overflowing. It teases with warmth, then it burns my hand. I grab a napkin to wipe up the spilled coffee and Hames bumps into me, spilling another coffee. He groans but tells me it’s okay and grabs the roll of napkins. I've always had a thing for Hames, but he never has seemed to interested in me. I reach to grab one of the used napkins off the floor at the same time he does and our hands touch.

"I got it," he says with a apologetic smile. I smile back but the butterflies in my stomach are interrupted by my intuition.

Something's wrong.

Suddenly, the small coffee shop starts to become claustrophobic, the hum of conversations become miserable cries for help in my ears. As we’re standing up from being on our hands and knees, I have a mock feeling that I shouldn’t have taken my eyes off of the rude man. 

I stand up to glance at him, and for some odd reason, I’m not surprised to see a knife in his hand. It shakes as he holds it but by the look on his face, he’s filled with alacrity about what he’s going to do. The man in front of him stands there with a warm smile on his face, most likely put there by the coffee he’s just received. He’s older than the rude man, his face wizened with wrinkles, and a grey goatee covering his chin. I know what’s going to happen though. He’s going to turn around, offer a genuine smile to the man before he realizes who it is. His smile will falter and his coffee will drop to the ground as the knife enters his stomach.

But it doesn’t have to happen, someone whispers.

I’ve always watched the show What Would You Do? I’ve always wondered if I would be the hero that stands up and does something about the situation, the person that everyone says they would be like, but really they have no idea. It kind of ties in to the fight-or-flight response. Jokingly, with my friends, I would say that I would fly away faster than the speed of light. You wouldn’t even know I was there. 

I’ve always wondered.

I approach the man with practiced steadiness, focusing on the knife, and the rough, masculine hands that are holding the knife. People around me make way for the worker doing her job, simply smiling at me with generosity. When they don’t get a smile back they whisper that “someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed today,” but soon they will be whispering that “someone was at the right place at the right time.” 

The hero.

I will be the hero.

My hand reaches for the knife, quickly snatching it out of the man’s hand. When I look up at his handsome face, his freckles are lifted up with an apathetic grin. He turns and walks away and I’m too paralyzed with shock that I don’t see. I don’t see the wise man grabbing his stomach and falling to the ground. I don’t see the surprised people around me as all conversations come to a silencing halt. I don't see the blood covering the knife, dripping onto my hand with haste. I don’t see my boss running towards me while Hames dials 911. I just see the man walk out the door, climb into a car, and drive away.

Innocent.

That’s what I yelled over the variations of conversations in the crowded building after it happened.

Innocent. 

Is what I yelled when the cold metal of the handcuffs stung my wrists.

Innocent.

Is what I am.

Guilty.

Is what the judge declared after the wooden instrument hit the desk, echoing through the empty courtroom.

The metal bars shook as they closed, almost as if they were laughing in my face. Mocking me for wanting to be a hero, for just wanting to help.

October 12, 2020 17:02

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56 comments

Courtney Haynes
17:05 Oct 18, 2020

Must say. I really liked this story. I breezed through it in a minute. The spunkiness of the main character and the tone of voice are just my cup of tea. An amazing twist also. And effective use of the single word lines. I did get the feeling of what another reviewer said: some of the sentences seemed out of place. But since I got through the story so quickly, I had no problem getting the overall tone and action. I guess the only critique I can give is the one I give myself: look at every single sentence and make sure it's "doing" s...

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Anna Mosqueda
17:15 Oct 18, 2020

Thanks for reading! I will definitely use your advice, it's come to my attention that I sometimes have a lot of useless sentences, even in my school essays. So thanks for your advice, that's very helpful!

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Alexi Delavigne
01:15 Oct 17, 2020

Really nice twist at the end! Just a couple of points, you describe people waiting in line for pumpkin spice lattes and then say “The Pumpkin Spice Latte” on it’s own line, which was effective but would be even more effective if it wasn’t already mentioned in an earlier paragraph. Like have that line be the first time the psl is introduced. Also the twist was really good but I think it would be amazing to see even more depth, like maybe more detail showing her on trial and being arrested. Was it an terrible misunderstanding? Or was she actu...

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Anna Mosqueda
19:05 Oct 17, 2020

Thanks so much for the advice! I definitely see what you mean by including more depth in my story and I will work on that in future writings! Also, that is a good idea, to introduce the pumpkin spice latte only once, I wish I could've thought of that! Anyways, thanks for reading:)

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He!Do I.A.P.N
23:20 Oct 15, 2020

Whoa unexpected turn! I liked the ending especially. There are a few sort of random sentences in there I feel like, that don't really pertain to the plot line, but maybe you just didn't have enough room to elaborate on them...? The rest of the description was really good tho. Good job! Would you mind checking out one of my stories and giving me some feedback?

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Anna Mosqueda
15:02 Oct 16, 2020

Thanks! I do have trouble with that sometimes, putting random sentences in, so thanks for pointing that out!! I’ll work on that:) I will definitely look at your stories when I get the chance!:) Can’t wait!

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. .
06:44 Oct 19, 2020

I love the detail and depth! It was really creative and I loved the opening paragraph it really hooked me in. Keep up the great work

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Anna Mosqueda
11:39 Oct 19, 2020

Awesome, thanks!:)

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Whisty Boi
05:10 Oct 19, 2020

YAY ANOTHER PERSON WHO LIKES VOLLEYBALL!! What do you play as?? I used a be a setter before I quit because of school -_-

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Anna Mosqueda
11:37 Oct 19, 2020

Awesome! I always like being able to relate to other people on here;) I play as an outside hitter but also on defense, sometimes...But wow setter, that position's got a lot of pressure haha

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Whisty Boi
14:10 Oct 19, 2020

Yeah but I only played for fun, never actually made it to a practice match T-T Oooh nice! I'm TERRIBLE at receives but my brother is somehow good by watching volleyball anime (yes I tried watching all four seasons of the volleyball anime and STILL suck at receives) Being a setter is actually kinda cool because the spikers depend on you. Also I was like 4'6 IRL so that just made it really hard to shoot balls when the spikers are like 5'3 or something Oofsies I'm glad I quit, it really didn't fit into my schedule

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Anna Mosqueda
16:34 Oct 19, 2020

Haha yes, it does make for a very busy schedule, luckily my school season ends this week! It's probably bad that I'm excited for it to end lol, I just like my free time. That's also very funny that your brother got good by watching anime, I've actually never watched it. And yeah we love our setters XD

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Whisty Boi
05:01 Oct 20, 2020

Lol I LOVE BONDING OVER VOLLEYBALL Also the volleyball anime is called Haikyuu!! and it's really good! No forcing or anything but I think you might like it ^-^ Cri my exams start next week :(

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Anna Mosqueda
11:37 Oct 20, 2020

Haha thanks! I'll check that out as well! Good luck on your exams, I have no clue when mine are lol but I know they're slowly approaching;)

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Whisty Boi
14:12 Oct 19, 2020

Hey do you have any good books you can recommend me? I like basically anything as long as it isn't a really long autobiography. I'm kind of stuck on what to read rn SO HELP ASAP I'M DYING OF BOREDOM

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Anna Mosqueda
16:37 Oct 19, 2020

Yes! I love reading haha. I'm not sure what you're into but I like a lot of the dystopian genre and some mystery, also historical fiction. My favorite mystery book is And then there were None by Agatha Christie, it is an old book though. Another series I binged over the summer was The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. SO GOOD, the characters literally showed up in my dreams. Also Crazy House and the Fall Of Crazy House by James Patterson are amazing, I love his YA books. My favorite book that is historical fiction is Salt to the Sea by Rut...

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Whisty Boi
05:03 Oct 20, 2020

Oooooooooooooooooooooooooo nice!! Thanks so much! Not sure if you like comedy but The Tapper Twins Go To War (with each other) is HILARIOUS! It's actually a whole series tho lol Thanks so much for all those suggestions! I'll check them out! :D

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Anna Mosqueda
11:36 Oct 20, 2020

Awesome, I'll check it out too. Thanks:)

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01:15 Oct 19, 2020

Wow. This was powerful!

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Anna Mosqueda
11:35 Oct 19, 2020

Thanks, that's great to hear:)

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Hallie Blatz
23:45 Oct 18, 2020

Ahh! How could you do this to me?! Just kidding, but that twist really surprised me. I loved the beginning, the descriptions were great. I’m not great at critiquing, so I don’t have any meaningful comments but I just wanted to let you know I liked it! Sincerely, Hallie

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Anna Mosqueda
11:39 Oct 19, 2020

Thanks so much! I'm not very good at leaving critique either so no worries:)

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Rhondalise Mitza
17:01 Oct 15, 2020

Hi there, I'm Rhonny! I'll give you feedback on your stories soon but I wanted to let you know we don't put our ages in our bios and/or mention that we're teens. It's kind of a privacy thing and I just wanted to let you know. The young authors always find each other regardless so just chat with us but don't call attention to it. Sorry if this sounds preachy, I just kind of moderate bios for this kind of stuff. Welcome to Reedsy though, we're so glad you're here! Feel free to jump into conversations when you want to, we're all pretty close fr...

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Anna Mosqueda
18:28 Oct 15, 2020

Hey, thanks for letting me know! I would've changed that months ago if I knew! Anyways, yes I love Reedsy and the community it creates!

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Rhondalise Mitza
18:29 Oct 15, 2020

No worries! Didn't know you'd been on here for so long or I would have sent the welcome troops out. :)

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Anna Mosqueda
18:32 Oct 15, 2020

Ah, welcome troops are always...welcome :)

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19:22 Oct 18, 2020

*walks in* "Oh, hi there! I'm another one of Reedsy's young authors--though I've only been on for a few weeks myself." ;) I'll get around to reading and commenting on your stuff. Probably a bit later this afternoon.

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19:31 Oct 18, 2020

Just gimme a shout if you have any in particular you'd like a second opinion on. ;) I know for sure that I have stories that I'm more proud of...and ones that I'm not so proud of. XD

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Thora Porter
17:28 Nov 19, 2020

Wow! What a twist. I never expected when I started reading this story that the ending would happen as it did. I love how you make the character try to be a hero, but it ends up backfiring. A really great story and I never would have suspected the ending.

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Anna Mosqueda
17:43 Nov 19, 2020

Awesome! Thanks so much! I'm glad that you enjoyed the plot twist:))

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Mia S
18:46 Oct 25, 2020

Wow, this is good! I realize that I'm late but whatever. I really liked the ending. I only have one edit—you said "It's only six o'clock but the room is filled to the brim with people, but one man catches my eye as he walks in." Putting two "buts" in a sentence makes it sound kind of weird. Maybe you could say, "It's only six o'clock and the room is already filled to the brim with people, but one man catches my eye as he walks in." It just makes it flow better. I realize it's probably too late to edit it, but just for future reference or wha...

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Anna Mosqueda
20:08 Oct 25, 2020

Thanks! I seriously thought I edited that because I noticed it earlier as well but I guess I didn't (might've gotten lazy lol). Anyways, thanks for the feedback! I always appreciate it! I've got some free time right now so I'll head over to your page:)

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Mia S
22:55 Oct 25, 2020

thanks! :D

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Yolanda Wu
05:16 Oct 23, 2020

Wow! This is one of those stories that pack a punch! I loved the pacing, and the voice of the narrator was really distinct. I was on the edge of my seat, just waiting to see what happens next. And the ending, how they end up being convicted instead. I love how you reflected that the protagonist knows they're 'innocent', but then the judge hits them with the 'guilty' verdict. This was such an intense and well-written story. Amazing work, Anna!

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Anna Mosqueda
11:32 Oct 23, 2020

Thanks so much! Glad you liked it;)

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B. W.
21:43 Oct 22, 2020

Hm, i really enjoyed this story and i think that you had done a really great job with it. I'm really terrible at giving any type of advice though, so i'll just say that you should continue to make some more stories on here, i know that you'll do great ^^ I'm looking forward to more of your stories, i might check out some of your previous ones as well. 10/10 :)

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Anna Mosqueda
22:58 Oct 22, 2020

Thanks! I'd love that:) I'm very busy this week with school so I'm not too sure if I'll be able to write. Even though I LOVE the prompts for this week. Hopefully I can get a quick one in before the deadline ends:)

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B. W.
23:01 Oct 22, 2020

Maybe the newer prompts will all be something for spooky month?

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Anna Mosqueda
23:01 Oct 22, 2020

I hope so!!

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B. W.
23:02 Oct 22, 2020

If it's alright with you, could you check out "A strange place" and leave some feedback?

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Anna Mosqueda
23:56 Oct 22, 2020

Of course, I'll check it out once I finish my homework!;)

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19:41 Oct 18, 2020

Nice twist there! I get the feeling the story's all about the twist, yes? I really like the writing style you have, and the detail with which you immerse us into your world. The only thing I can say it that it seems to be a bit fluffy in the beginning--you spend a lot of time setting up the twist. Now, the climax of this story does occur very quickly and succinctly, so you might need the fluff to even make the Reedsy minimum word count. (1,291 words total) I know it's too late now for meaningful changes, but I would suggest (would've sugg...

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Anna Mosqueda
20:10 Oct 18, 2020

Alright, thanks for the advice! I can tell you really looked over it and that is awesome! I am especially going to work on replacing some of the fluff, I can see where I went wrong there and how it makes the story sorta less...interesting, for lack of better word. And yes! Subplot, I'm actually taking an online class on that right now so I'm working on getting better at it because it took me a while to realize how much you really need it sometimes. Thanks for reading, I'm heading over to your page now!

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20:12 Oct 18, 2020

Cool. ;) Yeah, I learned what little I know about writing from one course, one editor, and some books, lol.

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Anna Mosqueda
20:27 Oct 18, 2020

Haha, well I've read two of your stories so far and it seems to me that you know a little bit more than a "little" about writing. In other words it's great:)

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20:30 Oct 18, 2020

Meh, I'm not the worst writer on the site. ;) You should check out Rhondalise though (if ya haven't already)--she's both my superior in the writing department, and she has 76 stories out: plenty of reading material. XD

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Anna Mosqueda
20:32 Oct 18, 2020

I actually found out about her around two days ago and I adore her writing, I do find myself scanning her account for a story to read when I'm bored in school lol.

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Anna Mosqueda
16:39 Oct 15, 2020

I love feedback, so if you have time I would love to hear your thoughts. Also, I like to go on up voting sprees so if you comment I'll help ya out! ;)

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