Pursuit (Flash Fiction)

It is night and I am on my own.

Out of breath, I run panting down the rain-slicked cobblestone lane, my boots slipping on its wetness.

Gaslights cast shadows in the mist like shrouds that threaten to engulf me.

I hear them now. The low thrumming of angry voices.

Closer.

I turn down a side alley past shuttered shops of fine linen and sundry goods.

One keeper, still open, looks at me, hears the mob and quickly steps inside, bolting the door.

I run on. I must get to the river and the ship… to safety.

My heart is ready to explode.

The mob is closing in. I see the flicker of their torches bouncing off stone buildings.

I approach the dock and emptiness. The ship has sailed with the tide, not waiting for an errant sailor.

At the top of the lane leading down towards the quay, the mob stops, buzzing like angry bees ready to sting.

No escape.

I walk to the edge of the dock, turn and face them, the dark mass of the river swirls behind me.

With arms stretched out as if to embrace my tormentors I lean back and fall.

Oblivion my master, the river my ship.