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CHAIN GANG

By KE Toppin All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Fantasy

Chapter 1

Sharice checks her watch -- 2:30am. She walks alone to the subway as she anathematizes her boyfriend, Gabe under her breath.  He deserts her after she receives a call from a friend in need. Sharice decides to go on to aid her alone.  The flapping in her ear reappears briefly just before she enters the subway mouth.

The sounds of flapping in her inner.  It an inner ear condition she’s lived with all her life.  To this day -- still no diagnose for its occurrences. It had handicapped her as a child but as an adult it became soothing – reappearing randomly.
Returning to the sidewalk because the token booth is closed, she staggers to keep her balance. The subway station across the highway is open apparent by its lit green bulb. Without a token in her possession, she must cross over and back to take the train home. She holds onto the post for support and pushes the button. Minutes pass with no indication to cross the highway as traffic flew by. A pedestrian arrives and starts to enter the subway’s mouth.
“It’s closed. Have a token …” She hiccups “… then you’re good. Otherwise …” She points to the station across the highway. “… buy one.”
“Really?”
He stands there for a minute thinking. She watches him closely. His manner is familiar somehow.
Sharice never took chances in life. She kept it safe -- always walks the straight and narrow path and never to stray. In wonderment at how daring she’s been tonight, she figures - keep it going. The excitement of it all is new and thrilling.  Drunk for the very first time.
“I have a token. We can share it." Sharice slurs.
"Been out drinking, huh?” The pedestrian remarks with a smirk. “You’re in no shape to cross the highway … come with me."
“Sure.” Sharice slurs steadying herself as she follows her savior back down the concrete subway stairs.
He deposits the token in the slot. Together. they pass through the turnstile. Taking a seat on the bench, Sharice dozes off only to be awaken by the slap of cold steel around her wrists. She looks up at the police officer peering down at her. Her heart almost leaps out her chest and a nearly slips of the subway bench.
“What’s ... uh .. what did I do?” She asks.
“You're being charged with trespassing, Miss.” Sharice looks to the man who had encourage her through the turnstile on the one token. He stands before Sharice in shackles.  A chain connecting to the his cuffed wrists.
“Do you know each other?” The officer asks.
Forehead furrows. This isn’t the same guy I jumped the turnstile with. Or is he?  Sharice ponders but says.

“No … just met.” Sharice answers as she teeters behind the stranger.  Both follow the officer into a room off the station’s platform. Inside sat four more cops and about twelve cuffed strangers. Sharice and the stranger unknowingly joins a bandwagon of trespassers. A chain gang of fourteen offenders are transported to the nearest police station. Sitting shackled to several mute offenders, she’s explodes in a fit of hysterics.
“You think it’s funny, Miss?” The officer remarks.
“No … Ah! Really? Shit yeah. This is a farce … a set up … deliberate and premeditated. Go catch a murderer or rapist already. The damn button doesn’t work at the crosswalk fix it. I could have been run over by a fucking vehicle on this shit of a highway. And for what? A stinking $1.50 subway token. Give me a break! How’s about that officer.”
“Ma’am … be quiet or you'll be charged with obstruction of the law.”
Whatever, she thinks but voiced, “That’s wacked!” Followed by a hiccup to which she shushes with a finger to her pouting lips. “Oops! Sorry … Officer … Sir!” The cop tunes her out at this point.
Sharice takes in the man across from her. She harbors fornicative thoughts … things she would love to do to him and with him in spite of the apparent wedding ring. She is excited, her heart races behind her ribcage. Another first, she thinks to herself. I also cursed out a cop.
The flapping sound floods her mind.  It is rampant and unsettling this time. She leans forward cupping her ears to silence the noises – to no avail. Typewriter keys did its tap dance across paper and stops after her credentials were complete and stained the sheet. She is left parked on a bench with and among lesser and perhaps greater criminal minds in the mix.
I’ve made the leap. No more miss-goody-two-shoes! She realizes as she is led away to another room to be sentenced. The soulful sounds of Isaac Hayes’ Shaft followed by Donna Summers’ I, Love to Love You Baby fills the room. Nonetheless, Sharice listens in on a conversation between a cop and a streetwalker wearing a hipster with bell-bottoms.
“You don’t look forty.” The officer remarks as he scrutinizes her license he held in his hand.
“Thanks.” The woman responds.
“Yeah but your hands a tattletale … years of dish washing, eh?”
“Fuck you! Yo mama! The woman shrieks, "Pig!” On her feet, she snatches the pen from its decorative holder off the desk. Implants it into the officer’s forehead. Blood spurts everywhere blinding him.  As he jumps to his feet, she extracts his fire arm from its holster. She grabs Sharice off he bench and hold her before her holding the gun to her temple.
“Move or I’ll spatter her shit for brains over these here walls!”
Cops flank the crazed woman with guns drawn. Sharice is calm, perhaps a result of her alcohol saturated system diminishing the severity of her situation. No! She is focused on clearing her head of the flapping sounds intensifying.
Sharice’s life has been ridden with near death experiences – adding this one to the list.
Sharice's boyfriend did not leave her at the club but was close. He watched over her in this instance and throughout every moment in her life.
Although the gun is one with Sharice’s temple and discharges, the bullet did not penetrate her skull. She is suddenly hoisted up -- thrown toward the ceiling. The bullet met the opposite wall instead. The pedestrian reappears slamming the crazed woman to the floor with his body. The gun skids across the linoleum floor. He returns to the air shielding Sharice with his massive feathered and outstretched wings. Below the officers are firing in successions. Their bullets riddles the streetwalker's body.
“Michael! Where … I’ve not seen you since kindergarten … How are you doing this?"
“Sharice, I’ve been with you since then disguised to protect my true being. I am Michael the Archangel and I have been commanded to protect you in this life, but my charge ends this day. You have failed his tests. Therefore I can no longer safeguard you. You chose to jump ... stray from the path destined for you by our master.”

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