A couple of weeks ago I went to Sledge Lit, a writer’s festival in Derby. In one of the workshops, we were challenged to write a piece of flash fiction told from the point of view of one of the characters in a bank robbery. I got the robber (yay!).
Here’s the story that resulted:
The Gun by Rachel McLean
Itching. Burning. It hurts. Stings. Pain, clawing at my legs, at my stomach.
The gun is cold and heavy in my hand. How did it get there? I stare at it, squinting. I’ve got no idea how it works.
They don’t know that.
“Now!” I scream. My voice is thin and rough. Can they tell how scared I am?
The pain grips my stomach. I squeeze my eyes shut, clamping down on it. Sweat drips into the collar of my torn sweater.
I open my eyes and look at the girl behind the counter. She’s pretty. Blonde hair, brown eyes. Too much make-up. She doesn’t look old enough to be working here. I imagine myself reflected in her eyes. Sweaty, grey, trembling. Scary? That’s just the gun.
I wave it at her, ignoring the people behind me. There’s a kid somewhere crying. A man, shouting at me. Shut up. Fuck off.
I lean forwards. I can see the pores in her skin, showing through the make-up. Her forehead is damp.
“Hurry,” I whisper.
She nods, her mouth tight. Her hand’s beneath the desk. A drawer of cash — or a panic button?
“Hands up!” I shout.
“But I can’t—”
I grit my teeth. The pain’s moved up now. It’s sitting on my shoulders, riding my back. I can hear myself breathing.
“Money,” I snap. Quieter this time. “Now.” My voice is hoarse.
She nods violently and pulls back. My vision lights up. There it is, green and soft in her hands. I take one hand off the gun and reach out. She fumbles the notes across the counter.
“Thanks,” I whisper. And run.