Bounty:Fury Riders MC(3)By: Zoey Parker
To my surprise, he grinned. I didn’t know why I was surprised—most people smiled when I showed them their shots. Maybe because he was so scary-looking. But I knew he wasn’t scary at all. Just a guy on a smoke break, probably worn down by life. He actually thanked me before I moved on. I made a mental note to send a print to the address of the shop.
I did this a few more times. Once with a group of kids eating pizza while sitting on the doorstep to what looked like an abandoned house. Once with the gang behind the counter of the Chinese restaurant—I managed to see back into the kitchen, where there was a symphony of motion taking place at the time. Once I took a shot of a homeless man with his cart of possessions and handed him ten dollars when I was finished.
This was all well and good, but I wanted something more. Something urgent, something exciting. I knew my images had power. They told a story. But I wanted a little extra spice.
I walked on, surveying my surroundings. As long as I kept quiet and didn’t make a big deal about what I was doing, I seemed to fit in all right. No one paid me much attention, probably because they usually ignored certain things that happened around them. I guessed it was safer to mind one’s own business.
Ironically, just as I had that thought, I heard what sounded like an argument in an alleyway just ahead of me. I approached with caution, afraid a bottle would come hurtling out at me, or worse. I peered around the corner of an old brick building to check out what was going on.
There were two men standing beneath a light, and they were fighting. My fingers itched—it couldn’t have been more perfect. There was so much emotion on their faces, and the overhead bulb lit them perfectly. I had to get a shot. They couldn’t see me behind the building, so I felt safe. I crouched down, focusing in on them.
I snapped a few pics as the fight got more intense. I felt a shiver, knowing I should leave. Neither of the two men looked like anyone I’d want to tangle with. Something kept me rooted to the spot, though, no matter how loudly my instincts screamed for me to get the hell out of there.
Then, the unthinkable. Instead of fists flying, as I’d assumed, the glint of light off the blade of a knife. I gasped softly, taking another picture without thinking. When I looked at it all through the camera’s lens, it seemed like it wasn’t really happening. Maybe that was why I didn’t run.
But it was happening.
The man with the knife, the one who had been yelling, stabbed the other. It all happened so fast. One moment the knife was there, the next it had disappeared into the belly of the other man. He cried out in pain.
I don’t know why I did it. It had to be shock. I was shocked by what I was seeing. I had never seen a person getting stabbed.
I screamed. I couldn’t help it.
The injured man fell to the ground, and the man with the knife looked around. I was still frozen, shock making it impossible for me to move. Run, dammit! I thought. My heart was thudding in my chest. All I could think was that it had to be a nightmare. A surreal nightmare. But I could smell the blood. I could feel the cold bricks under my hand as I leaned on the wall for support.
He saw me just before I ducked behind the corner. I heard his feet moving toward me. He knew I saw everything.
Finally, my feet could move. I jumped up, turning around to run just as the man with the knife reached the end of the alley. I didn’t know where I was running to. I just had to run.
Why had I come here? Nothing was worth this! My life flashed before my eyes as I ran down the dark street. This was a residential area. I should have turned in the direction I’d come from. There were people there. Here there were only boarded up houses and locked doors. No one came out at night. Even if they heard a girl screaming for help. Maybe especially if they heard it.
What would my parents do when they found out? They’d probably blame themselves for letting me do something like this, even though they didn’t know I was coming here. It would kill them. I was sorry to put them through the pain.
My days of running cross country paid off, even though they were years earlier. My feet flew over the concrete. If only there was a passing car or pedestrian! But no one, no one at all. There were lights up ahead, and I knew it was a major intersection. Someone would help me there. There might even be a cop car parked at the corner. I prayed there was.
I heard my pursuer behind me, but he wasn’t very close. I just had to keep up my pace.
I still held my camera, its weight heavier the usual in my hand. What had I seen? I couldn’t take the time to think about it as I fled in terror.