Fourth Fiction: Round Nine

Round Nine challenge for Outside Participants is to incorporate the following:

1)  a hoax
2)  a revelation
3) the number four

Word count: 444 words

Four streets from the Dead Zone the PDA bipped. Sylvie slowed and considered her options. She could risk the denizens and drug dealers on the street, ease into the curb or keep going and hope she didn’t come across a lone police car while reading behind the wheel. In this part of the city, with boarded up windows, rows of shoes slung over the electrical wires and regular patrols either was as likely.

Knowing it would be an update, she stopped. Reaching across for the PDA her eyes caught the reflection of a car, a few blocks back. It slowed and the headlights dimmed, the after glow of the bulbs illuminating the blackness for a few moments. Sylvie waited for someone to get out or get in, but nothing happened.

To her right another car rolled to stop in a side street and the headlights were killed. The PDA bipped again. The screen lit up when she touched it and the words “URGENT: HOAX” leapt out at her. The hair on the back of her neck prickled.


Still no movement outside. She rested her head on the steering wheel and thought about Doug’s phone call. Even in one of his most selfish moments he would never have accused her of the things he had. In a sickening moment of clarity it all became clear. Doug’s call had been a ruse. She’d been traced.

Sylvie slammed the heel of her hand into the wheel cursing. The sharks were circling, waiting to move in for the kill. Had it not been tonight, it would have been tomorrow or the night after. The agents must be congratulating each other on their luck. She was glad she was alone.

But she refused to be easy pickings. Fuck them!

She jumped out of the car, opening the back and pretending to prepare her midwifery gear. Instead she found the wheel brace and jammed it beside the oxygen bottle in the suitcase. Throwing the unlocked suitcase on the back seat, she climbed in and locked the doors. Using as much momentum as the small space allowed, Sylvie smashed the wheel brace into the dashboard, shattering the navigation screen. She kept hacking until it was a tangled mess and she was certain the GPS had been knocked out permanently.

Keeping the headlights off Sylvie started the engine and invoking a prayer of protection, eased the accelerator down, rolling along the gutter as slowly as possible, putting inch after inch between her and her pursuers. At the end of the block she held her breath, slammed her foot down and sent the SUV hurtling down the street towards the Dead Zone.

Round One

Round Two

Round Three

Round Four

Round Five

Round Six

Round Seven

Seven Eight

1 thought on “Fourth Fiction: Round Nine

  1. You incorporated the challenges fluidly in this one. None of them seemed forced. I also noticed you restricted yourself to 444 words though there was no limit on outside participants. Since you’ve got NaNoWriMo underway, maybe the minimalistic route isn’t a bad idea.

    I also see you incorporated something else here that wasn’t one of the challenges: the “rows of shoes slung over the electrical wires.” I’m guessing this was a conscious reference to the shoes hanging from the wire in the Round 9 video. Either way, it’s great.

    I can’t help but see Nicosia every time I read your references to the Dead Zone. I used to do sentry duty during my brief stint in the Cyprus military on the UN Green Line, otherwise known as the Dead Zone. It makes for a bizarre parallel backdrop to your story.


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