Abort! (short story)

“ABORT!”, his instincts were screaming, but John continued driving. For several weeks now his mission had been to keep surveillance on a suspected arms dealer, to uncover who the client is of one of the biggest deals known to be in the works. Each day the man had taken the same direct route home from the office. His day job a cover for the lucrative business he was running in secret.

Today, however, the drive took a circuitous turn, the dealer heading further away from his home and into a less respectable part of town. John started to worry that perhaps the dealer had discovered he had a tail and was working to lose him. “ABORT!”, his instincts continued. However, John was not going to throw away weeks of work and return to the office with failure yet again. Not after last time. Anyway, the deal was not supposed to happen for several days yet but the bureau was certain there would need to be contact between dealer and client to finalize remaining details. THIS could be that moment of contact!

He convinced himself to continue on, the tail lights he was following seeming brighter now that dusk was settling in. The dealer slowed down upon entering an old warehouse district. Grafiti lined all the buildings, glass littering the street below empty window panes. The tail lights in front of him stopped moving. This must be the place but he couldn’t just stop and give himself away. He continued driving on down the alley, looking ahead as he passed the dealer’s car, intending to look like he was headed for some place further down.

John hoped he was now far enough away that the dealer would not hear him stop. He opened his car door quietly, grabbed his binoculars, and doubled back on foot approaching where the dealer had parked. He clung to the shadows and ducked into a doorway near the dealer’s car. A car now empty. He strained his ears listening for footsteps, voices, anything that would indicate the direction the dealer had headed.

A muffled noise sounded from the warehouse on the other side of the alley. “ABORT!”, the feeling as strong as ever now, yet still he did not heed it. John continued across the alley and climbed up onto a dumpster nearby, hoping for a view through one of the broken windows. He hadn’t noticed the moon rising over the horizon, so intent was he on finding his quarry. As he stood to get a better view through the window, the moon behind showed those inside the warehouse a silhoutte much like those on paper targets. There was a flash of light somewhere across the warehouse, a sudden impact taking him from his feet, the bang of the gunshot resounding a moment later. He fell to the ground limp, his strength fading fast. His last thought now too late…”AABBOOORRRRTTTT…”

[The End]

Word of the Day Challenge: Circuitous

Special thanks to moritz320 for the Binoculars image!

Thoughts or comments welcome. I have some issues with short stories where I feel like the story starts with a problem and resolves happily or in a positive solution. Or starts at a low energy spot with background information building up to a problem then ends in tragedy without resolution. Trying to cover both in a single story tends to increase the length beyond what I feel qualifies for a blog posted short story. Suggestions?

Thanks for reading!

copyright 2018 – James Sponseller – mindescapes.net

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Categories: Fiction

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