short story

Ryland

Real quick. You’re probably wondering what WordBound is. WordBound was created by Youtuber Kristina Horner in attempt to continue writing even after NaNoWriMo. After posting her video on youtube about her plan to continue writing, many subscribers were just as excited to join her on this journey, except there was no platform to make it happen. Thus, WordBound Wednesdays was created and now every Wednesday a new prompt is posted to help inspire writers to keep writing.

I’ve seen word sprints in the past on twitter but I never got into them. Maybe because there were too many new topic (a new one each day, sometimes every hour). It seemed so overwhelming so I didn’t bother to try.

WordBound is different. Since it’s only a topic every Wednesday, I think I can commit to it. Plus, the topics so far have been making ideas pour from my head with ease.

But anyway, let’s cut to the case. Here it is, my official first WordBound submission ^_^


Wed Jan 18, 2017
There is a door. It is closed.

Both his palms and forehead pressed against the closed door. The pain twisting inside his stomach borderlined being tasered on the side, something he experienced while entering the police academy, except this made him want to upchuck the cup of noodles he managed to force down the night before.

He hadn’t slept a wink, not sense that psychopath escaped from prison. The feeling of his heart racing as if about to explode at any moment was becoming the norm. So was his headaches, the lightheadedness, and the ringing in his ears. His body was in a constant state of panic, refusing to sit still, jittery from the constant flow of adrenaline coursing through his veins.

He was exhausted yet every time he closed his eyes, he saw him. Blood red hair and dark bottomless eyes with that haunting laughter pulling him from sleep.

He haunted his dreams.

No. He haunted every moment of his life.

Every thought was consumed by him. When would he strike? Who would he hurt next?  Was anyone ever safe?

That morning was the tip of the iceberg. Receiving anonymous letters came with the territory of being in law enforcement with the added bonus of being the Commissioner’s son in a twisted city where criminals ran rampant but pulling out black and white photos from the thick white envelope, discovering they were photos of him with his mother, his brothers, and with Casey sent a new wave of fear over him.

He was watching.

He’d been watching for a long time. Longer than he expected.

His usual snarky remarks, dark sarcasm, even the breathing techniques taught to him as a child witnessing his parent’s divorce. None of it was going to stop him. None of it was going to numb the aching in his chest.

Only one question remained: What had he gotten them all into?

“I’ll be right out.” Casey called from the other side of the door. It was only then when he stopped, realizing he’d been banging his head against the closed door. She must’ve mistaken it as him knocking on her bedroom door for the fifteenth time.

Not even a minute later, the door swung open. She slung her bag over one shoulder, standing in the doorway with her hair shoved into a messy bun.

He cleared his throat. “About time.”

Casey rolled her eyes, pushing past him and slamming the door behind them. “Is this really necessary, Ryland?” She asked, surprisingly skipping over the part where she usually criticized him for his ability to break into her house undetected and without permission. “James was Kerrie’s ex,” she walked into the lightly furnished bonus room, making her way to the steps leading downstairs, “I doubt he’ll hurt me.”

“You’re kidding me right?” Ryland quickened his step around one of the upstairs sofas. He sidestepped until he was in her line of sight, however she refused to look at him. “The James who strapped explosives to my chest and spoke a monologue while holding a knife to my face, debating whether or not to steal it? That James? Yeah, sure. Kitten status. He’s harmless.”

Silence followed his usual sarcastic remark. His chest tightened in the stillness, nerves taking his breath away. Was she going to refuse his help? He watched her hands turn into fist and shake against her body.

Ryland released the breath he’d unknowingly been holding. “I think it’s safe to say he’s not the same person he was before when your sister was dating him.”

Again there was a sickening silence that fell over them, their steps echoing against the open space leading to her front door. She paused when she reached the bottom of the staircase, turning to him but still unable to meet his eyes.

“He’s shot cops, put an entire mall of people in danger. He’ll hurt you too,” Ryland paused, forcing the next words out of his dry throat, “if it means hurting me.”

He hesitated, playing out his next movements carefully in his head, debating the consequences of overstepping his boundaries with her again. In the end, his hand found hers, calming her body enough to release her tight fist so he could entwine his fingers in hers. “I just want to keep you safe.” His voice was low, his eyes pleading. “Enough people have died protecting me. I don’t want to add you to the body count.”

Her fingers tightened around his, her eyes finally lifting to meet his. “What does that mean for me?”

“We’ll keep you in a safe house for now. Just until we capture him again.”

“And you?” Her question lingered in the silence.

Ryland took a deep breath. “I’m done running away.” He sounded confident but his heart continued to pound harder against his chest. “We have a plan. I think it’ll work. You just worry about staying safe.”

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