Shadow of a Hero

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Leah's flip flops slap against the hot, litter-strewn pavement as she makes her way through the buzzing crowd. Its summer in London and the heat is intensified by the bustling mass of bodies making their way to the train station. Leah is walking against the flow of people; she is roughly jolted from side to side as she nervously tightens the strap of her bag. It would be easier, she supposes, to keep her head down and shoulder through the crowd, but she hasn't spent much time in the city, and she is trapped in the parade of different faces. Leah is quiet, and watchful- she studies expressions and movements, dips and rises in tone and inflection. She examines people, but in this overbearing crowd they move too quickly, disappearing in a flash so that she feels disorientated. She stops, trying to steady herself, but there is a sudden surge of movement through the crowd and Leah is pushed into the man beside her. She glances up to apologize, but the blankness of his expression makes her hesitate. His hand fumbles inside his jacket as he regains his balance, and Leah's gaze is pulled involuntarily to a flash of silver metal, quickly covered as he zips the dark leather and pushes through the throng of people. He is gone in a matter of seconds, yet Leah's mind still lingers on his vacuous eyes and the clash of his heavy jacket with the oppressive sun.
The crowd around her starts to divide into individual people, and the once blurred faces start to take definition. A little girl trips over her dress hanging limply on her body, a middle aged business man pushes through the crowd talking rapidly into a phone pressed against his ear, a group of teenage girls tug at each other’s hair and laugh loudly. Leah searches the crowd for the leather jacket. She shoves through the crowd, screaming at the top of her lungs, but her voice is lost in the noise of the city. Leah breaks into a sprint, loses a bright blue flip flop, and pushes herself to run faster. People jeer at her and push back, but she doesn’t break stride. The sun blinds her but everything is clear. Her eyes immediately fall on the black leather jacket directly in front of her. A sea of people idly passes a man standing on the sidewalk, not even glancing up from their own world to notice anyone else. A feeling of foreboding is enough to make her pause, so that when the gunshots shred through the city's veneer of normalcy, she is close enough to hear the laughter bubbling up from the man’s chest. Leah looks down at her arm, recalling the feel of the leather as it grazed past her skin.





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KaylaC said...
Jan. 30, 2014 at 1:21 am
This...is beautiful. I love how you created an environment of loss in a big city and illustrated the small pieces that create the mayhem of life.
 
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