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Suspense Creative Nonfiction

She was at peace, she was

Calm, she was

Restful, she was

Stoic in the face of

Adversity; she had

No fear, absolutely

None at all.

The stone bench was abrasive against the undersides of her short-clad legs. It was sandpaper and she was a block of wood, worn into a shape by the perpetual tide of friction.

A man passed by, glancing her way but momentarily. She shivered, noting his heavy boots, heavy jacket. There was the handle of a knife peaking out above one ankle like a meerkat.

The stone table was abrasive against the skin of her elbows as she lifted her sandwich from its wrapping, bringing it towards her open mouth. There was the man again, turning the same corner he had turned but a moment ago.

Instinctively, her eyes shot to the spare lettuce that had escaped and now convened on the sandwich paper, holding a council of green against beige. Her feet flexed under the table, and she readied her hand at the phone by her side.

The man stopped but momentarily, reaching into the back pocket of his cargo pants for a pair of sunglasses. She tensed, she readied, she eyed the handle of the knife in his boot.

She was calm, she felt

Peace, she saw light,

She saw power;

She saw that it was

Hers, and she

Reached for it.

The man secured the sunglasses over his nose, adjusted them, and turned another corner. She saw her reflection in their darkness before he disappeared. She saw herself where she knew his eyes were.

The sandwich was good. She chewed, using her back teeth as well as her front teeth. She would not bite through her tongue. She had complete control over muscle, tissue, tooth.

A man and a woman passed by, juggling a toddler between them like an acrobat. There was the woman, wearing pink and purple and beige. The man in pants with many pockets, heavy boots, sunglasses. She tensed, she readied, she watched them pass and noted his hair that was black and not beige.

A man turned the corner, passed by with a knife in his boot. Her eyelashes let her look undetected as he passed: heavy boots, heavy jacket, pants with many pockets. She tensed, she readied, she exhaled when he disappeared. He could fit many things in those pockets. She pondered that as the taste of vinegar invaded her mouth.

She was safe, she

Had hope, she

Had the public on

Her side; it was

Daylight, no one would

Try anything here.

The water in the paper cup was cold, almost too cold. Ice met her lip every time she tilted her head to seek refreshment. Condensation gave the cup a waxy appearance. Gave her hand a small puddle in the palm. She said thank you in her mind for the water. Her feet flexed under the table in tennis shoes.

A woman passed by. She looked right, then left. Her gaze grazed the girl. Tennis shoes are the best running shoes. The woman wore sandals.

The woman stole sunglasses out of her back pocket, unfolding them deftly as she kept her pace toward her destination. Her sandals were beige, they wore buckles, her bare feet were white under the thick straps. Her eyes were covered with darkness by the time she turned the corner.

A man and a woman passed by. They wore the same darkness over their eyes; had beige hair, had boots, had sandals, had many pockets and many thick straps crisscrossing over their chests. Many bullets for many guns. Many pockets bulging with black metal, silver metal, sharp metal.

She could look away, she

Was safe, she

Could sit and be

Happy, and still and

Carry peace in

Her throat, and

Hope in her chest, and

Silence instead

Of a scream.

They held hands, they put one foot in front of the other, they turned the corner with swift feet. The man and the woman gone. Her feet relaxed; her lungs deflated. Two helium balloons in her chest constricted and fell languidly down, past her stomach, curled around her kidneys.

She bit down on a bell pepper. It was yellow, her tongue told her. It wasn’t wrinkled like red, skin stretched as tight as green. It was crisp and strange, and every chomp of her teeth coincided with the footfalls of passerby. Her feet flexed under the table, cocooned in her tennis shoes.

Her eyes stayed on the stone table, elbows scraping as she finished the last of her sandwich. Soft bread melted in her stomach, and she was a casserole in an oven. Head melting into her neck, feet melting into her shoes. Her eyes stayed on the table as she reached for her drink.

A pair of heavy boots approached, her ears told her. They sped swiftly toward her, and she willed them to continue to the corner. They didn’t. They stopped by the edge of her table. She willed them to leave, to determine her of no value, to continue and their halt be but momentary. They didn’t. They stayed. She tensed, she readied, she ventured a glance up through her eyelashes.

Twin pools of darkness, but

Darkness does not have

To mean danger, mean

Quickened breaths, mean

Balloons inhaling, rising

To clog her throat. It

Can mean good will, and

Peace, and

Hope, and curiosity.

A voice, gravelly, low, wandered into her ear. It stayed there for a moment, twirling, pirouetting in a puddle of confusion. Until it found the puddle was a river. It found a boat, hitched one leg over the side, then two. It paddled to her brain.

The twin pools asked if she was alright, if she was safe and sane and capable of raising her head and keeping it raised. They noticed she was alone. Her feet flexed; she knew they saw. Her hand readied at the phone by her side; twin pools lowered to observe. Her breaths quickened; her mouth widened into thirty-two white flags.

She raised her head. She kept it raised. Heavy beige boots containing knives continued passing by and turned the corner.

She stood, gathered the remains of her lunch, and left.

Running doesn’t always mean

Retreating- she runs, she

Makes use of her shoes, she

Doesn’t falter because

She knows where she’s

Going. And that is

Away, not a surrender, not

A retreat, but

Self-preservation; making use

Of the safe house, of the

Hole she dug, seated safe, deep

In the ground.

Her tennis shoes took her around the corner, and she shivered because this was where the boots had gone. The boots, the sandals, all the beige pockets and tiny trapeze-artists. A man and a woman passed by. She was calm, she had peace, she had hope. Her head was raised, fists balled only to imprison her trash.

She passed by an open window, glancing in but momentarily.

A head flew out horizontally, blood dripping from a pale mouth, eyes widened in terror.

Two helium balloons inflated, rose, clogged her throat and stung her eyes with their gases. She tensed, feet flexing. She readied, a scream building, high-pitched.

The head had a neck. She exhaled. The blood wasn’t real. One balloon burst. The face was a mask. The other sank swiftly toward her kidneys.

Her own blood pounded, making her rock in place. The head started laughing, drawing itself back up, inside the window.

She breathed peace, she

Breathed calm, she

Breathed light.

She let her feet continue and turned the corner.








July 21, 2021 17:36

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23 comments

Zz Entwistle
18:21 Aug 02, 2021

You are such an amazing writer, and this story is another gem full of detail and suspense :)

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Amelia Bowen
18:45 Aug 02, 2021

Thank you!

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Cannelle L
21:45 Jul 28, 2021

Wow! This story is amazing! The way you describe the scenes is perfect and very creative. It really does create the sense of paranoia. The whole story is like a poem. I like how everything keeps going on and on until it almost felt normal. This also scared me because to think that, to some people, this is their lives. No happy ending. No sad ending. They just keep walking. Thank you so much for sharing this. You're an amazing writer!

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Amelia Bowen
21:57 Jul 28, 2021

Thank you!! I used to struggle a lot with anxiety in public places so I drew from that a bit for this story. I tried my best not to make it too droning, so I'm glad it didn't seem so. Thanks again for the comment!

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Cannelle L
00:04 Jul 29, 2021

No, not at all! Your story is truly inspiring, and I hope you're not struggling as much with your anxiety anymore :)

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Amelia Bowen
00:07 Jul 29, 2021

Thank you! It's gotten a lot better:)

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02:21 Jul 28, 2021

I enjoy. Good luck. I have not been able to get in touch with my creative side lately. To much going on with life to get a enough free to even breath. That and none of the prompts had stood out. Maybe in a few weeks I will be back in touch with my creative mind and get back to enjoying a nice fresh restart... I still have to get a place in to reveal your inspired story... If a prompt Sparks it.

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Amelia Bowen
03:08 Jul 28, 2021

Thank you! Writer's block is the worst! I can definitely relate:/ Best of luck!!

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13:59 Jul 28, 2021

Thank you. Yeah. Surprised that with everything going on that I have not found something to write about.

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Eve Y
20:24 Jul 27, 2021

I love the way you described the scenario in the story! It was quick paced yet extremely detailed. I feel like each sentence flowed naturally, and I love the suspense you built up. Great job and keep writing!

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Amelia Bowen
20:26 Jul 27, 2021

Thank you sm!:)

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Steven Tezura
10:52 Jul 27, 2021

great conflict within

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Amelia Bowen
14:37 Jul 27, 2021

Thx!

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21:32 Jul 26, 2021

I love the disjointed bits here and there – really gives texture to the story!!

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Amelia Bowen
22:27 Jul 26, 2021

Thanks!!

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Shirley Medhurst
15:23 Jul 26, 2021

Fabulous! You set the scene of paranoia brilliantly and built up the tension so well - I especially loved the passage about the voice finding a boat and paddling to her brain - very vivid!

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Amelia Bowen
21:14 Jul 26, 2021

Thank you!!:)

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14:42 Jul 26, 2021

Great writing!

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Amelia Bowen
21:09 Jul 26, 2021

Thanks sm:)

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05:34 Jul 25, 2021

Such an interesting story! I absolutely love your writing style. It makes an originally simple story so in-depth! Once again, amazing figurative language, imagery, and writing in general. I look forward to reading more of your stories :)

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Amelia Bowen
13:20 Jul 25, 2021

Thank you so much!:)

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21:44 Jul 26, 2021

Took the words right out of my mouth. I love the way you made it simple but superb.

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Amelia Bowen
14:44 Jul 27, 2021

Thanks!

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