One Picture, One Story
The sun began it’s descent behind the large elms that lined Paul’s quiet neighbourhood. He stood on the sidewalk, watching it disappear. The cool chill of the evening penetrated his thin jacket, but he took no notice. The beauty that was before him was worth any amount of discomfort. The shadows grew longer as the sun sank lower and Paul smiled slightly at the length of his own. Having taken in the moment, Paul began to stroll towards his home, tip toeing through the intermittent puddles of slush. He was beginning to notice the cold and began to walk a little faster. As he rounded the corner that led to his house a black SUV stopped in front of him. Paul stopped, startled, and proceeded to attempt to walk around. He heard footsteps behind him so he turned to run, but was met by a pair of suit clad men who grabbed him, one on each arm and threw him in the back of the truck and placed a canvas bag on his head. Paul tried to stay calm, hoping they would let him go. There was complete silence other than the sound of the engine. The bag let no light in so he tried to decipher the turns and stops, but gave up after only a few minutes.
Paul had given in to his fate and decided to shut his eyes and rest. He saw no point in struggling and thought he could use the rest. He drifted in and out of sleep and lost track of how long they were driving. The vehicle stopped abruptly, sending the unsecured Paul flying into the seat in front of him. He immediately felt the blood flow from his nose.
He lay still, waiting for the vehicle to begin driving again, but it stayed stationary for, what seemed to Paul, a good amount of time. The sound of car doors opening was soon followed by muffled conversation from 2 or 3 men. The door opened by his head and laughter filled the air, assaulting his ears, as the men saw the predicament in which Paul found himself.
“I guess we should have buckled you up, hey Mr. Ramsay?”
Paul froze. Mr. Ramsay?! He was Paul Smith, not this mister Ramsay person. It was a mistake! He felt a slight relief as they tore the mask from his face. He would simply explain the mix up and be on his way. Be on his way?! He had just been kidnapped! Even if it had been a mistake he would never be let go! He was a witness and if years of watching crime dramas had taught Paul anything, it was that the witness was always collateral damage. He could tell in their eyes that they knew their mistake. Paul didn’t even see the barrel of the gun before slamming to the pavement. He watched his blood slowly pour onto the road as his life escaped him. Paul Smith, collateral damage.