Week three of Said Bree Flash Fiction Challenge 2018:
“Your MC is on vacation with a group of friends in a strange place. The next morning, one of them has disappeared….”, under 1000 words, and posted before midnight January 15, 2018. – The rules.
Well, unfortunately, the main character, in the story below, hijacked the story. Not sure if it qualifies as fulfilling the prompt anymore. Let me know what you think in the comments. Did I fail the prompt? Or is it more in the spirit of the prompt?
Either way, some times you just have to let your character have his way. Right? He does have the better POV.
From the parking lot across the road, Alan watched them pull up to the valet parking of the hotel through binoculars. The lack of recognition on their faces said it all. The memory implants were still solidly in place.
Crap! That was going to make this so much harder.
Five years looked good on them especially Faye, his former girlfriend. Research had it that Ward and Madeline were no longer together as a couple. Mick and Naomi were married with three and four year old daughters left behind with Naomi’s best friend’s mother. The five of them walked in together mostly laughing and joking.
Doing a quick visual sweep around his car, Alan activated his personal cloaking tech and climbed out the window of his car. Car doors opening and closing on their own drew unwanted attention.
Alan followed the group to their rooms on the first floor close to a back entrance. After their doors closed, he planted a small camera. Alan hoped that his cloak would work on the five of them, but there was no available research to confirm that memory implants impaired the Whastlean’s vision, as they have greater visual spectrum than Earthlings.
After moving his car closer to the back entrance with his cloak turned on, Alan approached Ward’s room. His hand held one of the small nodule injectors. Timing, it all came down to timing. He knocked.
“What the hell?” Ward muttered before falling into the door. Alan carried him to the second double bed. Coming to, Ward opened his eyes muttering, “What the hell, man?”
“It’ll become clearer in a few minutes.” Alan hoped Ward would be forgiving, but stayed close to the door just in case.
Ward rubbed his face sitting up slowly. “This is a lot to take in,” he said, as memories rushed in and others faded.
“The experts said it would. I wouldn’t know it didn’t work on me in the first place.”
“So that’s why you and Faye broke up?”
“Yeah, I couldn’t remember the events as the same as her since the memory implant didn’t work. So they pulled me out.” Alan explained.
“What did you end up doing?”
“Officially a training instructor at a local fitness center, unofficially, I worked with the new and upcoming teams.”
“Do they all have recall dates like this?”
“It varies depending on assignments and failure rates.” After a minute of silence, Alan continued. “I am worried about Naomi and Mick. They went and started a family.” Alan threw his hands up in the air.
“Well, at the time, it seemed like a good thing. Now, I see your dilemma.” Ward agreed, adding, “Are we bringing the girls with us at this time?”
“Originally, I was supposed to activate you all, but recent intelligence indicates I can only active one. I choose you.”
“We can’t accomplish the mission on our own.” Ward said standing.
“Not a problem to worry about tonight, but I suspect we will be using agents from other classes.”
Alan stood as well, “Are you ready to leave?”
“Leave everything. We’ll use the cloak to walk out without being seen.”
“Are we using that regularly?” Ward asked.
“The scientists have been able to tune the personal cloak into the human visual spectrum now.” Holding up his hands, black rubber gloves covered them. They slipped out the door, making their way down the hall, when Madeline opened the door.
“Hi, Ward. Alan, is that you?” she asked.
Alan put his hand holding another injection on her shoulder and down she went. Ward caught her and carried her. She blinked out of existence on the security cam.
“To the car, let’s hurry!” Alan whispered, “We can’t cloak voices yet.”
A few minutes later, Madeline came to in the car “Wow! I feel like I have been sleep walking for the last five years.”
With their cloaks activated, the three watched on planted cameras as Faye discover Madeline and Ward missing. The police were unable to do anything. Madeline and Ward were adults, no indications of foul play and a malfunctioning security camera.
Naomi, Mick, and Faye, not getting anywhere with the officials and nowhere to turn no matter how loud they protested, walked back in the glass doors of the airport. Naomi clung to Mick’s arm. Worry etched into their sleepless eyes.
“My flight leaves first from gate 14D,” Faye said, “You guys call me when you land in Philadelphia, please.”
Naomi nodded, “Please keep in contact. I sure hope they call us when they get back home as well.” Nervously, she chewed on her fingernails. They hugged and went their separate ways.
“Should we grab Faye today?” Alan asked. “Yeah, I know what intelligence reported, but no one seems to be paying any attention to them.”
“But if another one comes up missing on the same trip, from the same group?” Madeline questioned. She was the planner/organizer of the group.
“Alan, I know you miss Faye, but I think we have to listen to Madeline and intelligence.” Ward placed his hand on Alan’s shoulder.
Ward threw his hands up in the air. “Hey, man, it’s me, your friend. I know it’s been a long five years, but surely, you made other friends?”
“No, not really. Coworkers, acquaintances, not friends. There wasn’t time.”
“I’m sorry, Alan.” They echoed.
After verifying the planes left the ground, the three ambled to the car. In silence, the three drove to the nearest safe house.
©2018 Leann Holland
Edited 1/22/18 only to add link to the continued story.