Here's another short that gave me fits getting started, but I enjoyed how it turned out once I latched onto a scenario I liked.
The text message simply said, “Very clever.”
Jeremy stared at his phone in confusion. The number sending it wasn’t programmed into his phone. It didn’t even look like a real phone number. It only had five digits instead of the usual seven plus area code.
“Wrong number,” he texted back. Jeremy closed his phone, shoved it back into his pocket, and continued on his way to work. The phone vibrated in his pocket and chimed his text notification again. Rolling his eyes and huffing in annoyance, Jeremy pulled his phone out again expecting an unnecessary sorry message.
“No, you’re Jeremy Monterey,” the text read instead. “You live at 2149 Oak Ridge Way, and you’re siphoning money from all of your clients into an account in the Caymans.”
Jeremy’s heart skipped a beat, and his mouth went dry. His hands trembled as he unlocked his screen to answer the text.
“New phone. You must want the old owner. Wrong number.”
A new message popped up before he could exit the text feature.
Jeremy stopped. Feeling dizzy, he stepped out of the flow of people and leaned against a lamppost. Glancing about him at the sidewalks teaming with people, he fought hard to keep his cool.
A picture of him standing with his phone out and gawking around like a guilty fool popped up on his screen. Another picture, this one from his employee ID with his name emblazoned underneath it followed a second later.
“You’re Jeremy Monterey,” the next text read. “I know everything.”
“Who are you?” Jeremy’s hands shook as he tapped out the letters with his thumbs. His phone wobbled as he hit send, and he jumped forward a hair in his attempt to keep from dropping it. “Why are you doing this?”
He spotted the security camera his picture was pulled from perched over a nearby ATM. Jeremy pushed away from the lamppost and rejoined the stream of pedestrian commuters, making sure to keep his head down.
“I’m the net, little fish.”
“And I can.”
“What do you want from me?” Jeremy hit send and stopped a half second short of ramming into the people in front of him, who’d stopped at a red light. He held his phone close to his chest, so none of the others crowded around could see the screen. The fwoop of another message coming in sounded as the light turned green.
“I’m giving you a sporting chance. Swim away, little fish. The net’s closing in.”
Jeremy went cold. Whoever this was found him out and turned him in. Twenty years of embezzling pennies at a time, and now, it was all a waste. He pushed his way through the crowd faster and faster.
A police siren started up just down the street. Adrenaline surged through Jeremy with the sound, and he bolted through the slowing people. He never saw the bus coming.
His phone clattered across the street.
“LOL! Humans are such fun,” read a message across the cracked screen.
How did you like it? This story was my first attempt at writing a nonhuman protagonist. I hope it came across well.
As always, these stories are based on first line prompts I get either from a random first line generator like the one shown above or from reader suggestions. If you have a prompt you'd like to see written, comment below. I'll screenshot your comment and add the prompt to the bank I've been building. So far I've used the random generator exclusively, but I would love to make this series more interactive.
I truly enjoy the chances I get to interact with the people who read my work or enjoy the soaps, perfumes, and colognes I make. C. L. and I were able to talk to a bunch of folks at Huntsville Comic and Pop Culture Expo this past weekend. It was an absolute blast, and it left me pumped for our next show in late June.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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