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A story for you to finish (well out of comfort zone, call it a lockdown distraction)

J is sweating profusely, although the rifle is steady as a rock. He’s a sniper with an anti-terrorist unit and he can see his target. The terrorist – call him X - is shielding himself with a hostage. J is an exceptionally good shot. The chances are 50/50 the hostage will escape injury or death – but only 50/50. J has few illusions: if the hostage is hurt or killed, he will be thrown to the wolves. The officer in charge has ordered him to wait for a clean shot but to end the business as fast as possible. There are at least 20 hostages, staff and shoppers, at stake.


At least 19 hostages at stake.

No-one knows why X is doing this – he’s made no demands, there’s no frenzy in his actions, he’s cool and controlled. He has executed a hostage every time the unit has tried to make contact. Three times a unit negotiator has tried a loud-hailer. Three shots were the response, three spatters of blood on the whited-out glass and the silhouettes have shuffled to take up the space. Since the third shot a child has been screaming and sobbing in either agony or grief.

The drama started two hours ago around 10 am, when a shopper tried to enter the popular greengrocery and found the door looked. She looked at the plate glass window and 3 people were painting it white on the inside with rollers, working with frantic haste. One of them was her neighbour, tears pouring down her cheeks. Their eyes met and her neighbour shouted HELP US! A shot rang out and her neighbour was flung against the window. Blood abruptly spattered the glass. As her neighbour slid to the floor the blood smeared. The white paint now covering that bit of the window is pink. Once the glass was painted the hostages were lined up along the window, their silhouettes clearly visible against the thin coating of white. Four of them are barely three feet high.

The unit has tried to phone the shop to speak to the terrorist. The phone was heard ringing once, twice – then a shot, and it abruptly stopped ringing. Using the loudhailer triggers an execution. The shopper who called the police has told them her neighbour’s mobile phone number. There is still a chance they can reach X that way. Or – get another hostage shot.

J can see a narrow angle of the shop from the window in the back alleyway. X is roaming restlessly round the shop, dragging a hostage clasped to his chest with one arm. Occasionally he passes J’s line of sight but so far the shot has been obscured by the hostage.

J has no problem with the morality of his job. He has only ever had to shoot someone who was directly endangering others, sometimes many others. To shoot through a hostage to reach his mark, that’s different. He will do it if ordered – but waiting for a clean shot could mean another life lost, or more.

It’s just a story. Read it and go on to the next blog, or add to it – why the terrorist is doing what he’s doing, starting a successful dialogue, miraculous intervention, J getting a clean shot . . .

There are no rules per se. I won’t comment on your comments and I will delete any comments that jeer at the comments of others (get a life, guys) although I’ll leave any that add to their story. dunno Anything obvious I’ve left out, point it out and I’ll add it to the narrative.

I’ll do a story more relative to singles at some point. I couldn’t resist trying one out of most blogger comfort zones.
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