Commentary and Philosophy Fiction posted August 1, 2020

This work has reached the exceptional level
Things are not always as they appear. (470 words)

The Gift

by Robert Zimmerman

In the days of covid-19, the fear and anxiety of becoming ill fills every day and night. In the cities, violence and lawlessness is the cocktail of choice.
Daniel Redlich spent his evenings playing games with his wife and children and loving his family. This evening there was a deafening noise in the streets. There were bangs and flashes accompanied by screaming and yowling. This was a pernicious routine every evening. Daniel worried about the safety of his family with the fury in the streets every night.
His business suffered because of the pandemic, and his once confident psyche plummeted to a level that he never before experienced in his life. He dismissed many employees and became a target of ridicule and anger as people lost their jobs.
A mob gathered in front of the peaceful house, screaming obscenities and carrying signs identifying themselves as “THE GIFT.” The family doused the lights and retreated to the back of the house.
A pounding sound like a pile driver came from the front door. Daniel peered around the corner to see what was happening, but when he approached the door, it collapsed. Before him stood a giant of a man with black clothing, a helmet, and face shield. The frightened father crumbled to the floor with fear.
“ARE YOU DANIEL REDLICH!?” the monstrous voice bellowed.
“Yes, I am. Who are you?”
“I am Captain Ehre of the police SWAT team.”
“What did we do officer?”
“You’ve done nothing.”
“Why have you burst into our home and terrified my wife, kids and me?”
“We are here to escort you to safety. We must get you away from the protestors.”
“Why?  We committed no crime.”
“The mobs in the street are carrying signs with your name on them and we believe they are coming to terrorize, or worse, you and your family. That mob in the streets is coming for you.”
“What can we do?”
“There is nothing you can do.  You need to bring your family with us at once. The mayor and city council have forbidden us to intervene or interfere with the peaceful activities of the mob. We cannot stop them from entering your house.”
“Officer, they are not peaceful!”
“Mr. Redlich. If you want to be safe, you must come with us now. My officers and I will surround you and escort you to the tactical vehicle we parked in your front yard.”
“Where will we go?”
“We will take you to the jail. You will be safe there.”
“It’s the only place we can protect you.  I’m sorry, it’s imperative we leave now.”
They ran from the house, entered the vehicle, and drove away. The loaded van with its precious cargo exited through the screaming, hostile mob that waved signs calling itself, “THE GIFT.”


Flash Fiction Writing Contest contest entry


Names used in the story:
"Ehre" German for honor
"Gift" German for poison
"Redlich" German for honest, law-abiding
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© Copyright 2020. Robert Zimmerman All rights reserved.
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