Suspense Thriller Contemporary

Everyone knows of the cameras in the streetlamps and on the tops of every doorway. On certain benches or decorative pots filled with plants. They are aware they have no red light, or shuttering lens to announce their presence, but are there all the same. 

Most try to turn away from them, as naturally and innocently as they can. Often it is useless, and all the seemingly meaningless movement does is put them in front of a separate camera, resulting in a tingle that goes up their spine. These small rebellions against security protocols are not often paid much mind. They are let go and forgotten about in what is claimed to be good faith. The more skeptical say it has nothing to do with anything good- and far more with the fact the number of people they'd have to haul off would be obscene if everyone was punished.

Surely there isn't enough room, enough police for all that a brave few whisper in dark rooms almost too quiet to hear. 

People with hoods or masks are given less leniency. Ever so often they are pulled off the street and into cars or vans. The individual returns, shaken but safe and crucially lacking any desire to ever cover their face again. 

It's the haunted looks in their eyes that stops most from protesting more than that, even when the security system that is supposedly employed to stop crimes like theft does nothing to stop much of it at all. Everyone questions the purpose of the cameras, and the microphones if they aren't used to better everyone in the long run. These feelings, though, never leave the citizen's hearts and minds. 

Sitting on a bench, a man watches one of the cameras back as nonchalantly as he can. Goes from scrolling on his phone to stealing glances at the tiny round dome on the street lamp within arms reach every few moments with a practiced natural rhythm. 

It's sweltering outdoors and the sun beats down on his plain black button-up. The backpack he carries holds no small amount of heat close to the body on top of it. All that, though, wouldn't cause him to sweat just as much as he is. 

He takes a deep, calming breath in an effort to ease himself. A mother sits next to him, with her child's face hidden in her shoulder seemingly intentionally- as children are the only ones these secret eyes seemed uninterested in following and watching every waking moment of the day. She politely gives him a half smile which he returns with a half wave of his hand while slipping his phone back into the pocket of his jeans. Letting the now free hand run through his blonde, messy hair. 

"You going downtown?" He asks. 

"Ah, yes actually."

"Why don't you head to the next avenue bus stop? Talk a walk, enjoy the sun." 

"No, I-"

"Please. Really, it'll get you there quicker. I insist." 

Both of them are well aware this is a lie, judging by her skeptical look. But tension leaves his chest when she nods before quickly picking up her book, her baby, and begins walking to the next street over without so much as a wave. He watches her carefully as she strolls out of view and more importantly, out of the camera's view. That was good, better for everyone and he spares a few glances to double-check that they turn the corner out of the area. 

After a few more seconds, he lifts the heavy rock out of his pocket and smashes the little camera he'd been eyeing before smoothly walking out of the bus stop. 

No one follows him yet, so as he makes his way down the street, he climbs and smashes a few more. There is another woman, close to his age that appears on the other side of the street. Boldly wearing a thick, furry hood and brandishing a rock of her own, a few broken cameras behind her as well. They share a look and continue the assault on the cameras.  

People notice, and begin to be nervous as they go on for about a block. A handful of times, when someone seems particularly interested and supportive of their actions, the two of them hand off other rocks. With others joining in, they send them down side streets. 

He gets about ten minutes like this, destroying the hidden cameras systematically. Long enough for each of them to reduce two or three blocks worth of surveillance into spots of broken glass, metal, and plastic. Just as he hops down from climbing a lamplight, it comes into few. A black and white truck, driven by men with uniforms turning the corner. Even through the glass, he sees their eyes focused on him exclusively. 

His partner, now with her hood down, nearly barrels him over when she comes from another ally. When she glances at where his own eyes go her green ones go wide. 

"Run!" She hisses, wrenching on his wrist and he is already being pulled into a full-on sprint before he can register things to move much on his own. 

He had been told they'd be caught, to expect being picked up like this, and prepared to face the consequences. Before it seemed like a scare tactic, something done in hopes of talking anyone out of it who perhaps didn't entirely want to commit to what they were doing. But as his body kicks in and they begin to run from a car that is quickly gaining on them, the reality sinks in. 

They go another block. Their legs can only carry them that far before one or both of them trips. Just as they were gonna turn onto the long stretch of road out of town, he and the other young girl tumble to the ground and couldn't even manage to get their face out of the dirt before being set upon by two burly-looking police officers. 

He is too tired to fight more than make it hard to hold him still. The girl in this with him though has no such lack of energy, and starts tugging and pulling them wildly; even sinking her teeth into a third officer who joined them. 

Thrown in the van, they catch their breath. 

"You alright?" She asks. 

"Yeah, yeah." He wheezes. "Good, you?"

"I'll make it." She says, oddly lighthearted. "I hope the ones we passed rocks to got out." 

He nods. 

As it ends up, most of them did. Once the officers seem to ready themselves to leave, only one other person is thrown into the transport vehicle with them. A boy, somehow younger than them, that he'd handed a rock to. When he is tossed into the back, both of them help him sit against the stark grey metallic walls and talk.

"We'll start with this, what's your name?" She asks. 

"My name is Taylor." He says, still hesitant. 

"I'm Sara. This is Manny. We're sorry you got caught up in all this...but I think you know why this happened, don't you? If you didn't, not sure why you helped."

"I do." He says, a rush of confidence comes over Taylor as he sits up even straighter. "And I want to help more, if I can." 

January 27, 2023 15:31

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Shirley Medhurst
11:05 Feb 27, 2023

How chilling! - And, unfortunately, how 'real' this sounds....


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Jack Kimball
22:26 Jan 30, 2023

Hopefully we will fight back when the surveillance begins (it has already of course) but I doubt we will find the collective conscious to do enough. The best line was, 'Run!" She hisses, wrenching on his wrist..' Like how you used the present tense also. I enjoyed reading it. Jack


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