It Popped

It was a fine afternoon for murder. The bell rang for dismissal and children poured out of classrooms into corridors, spilt into courtyards, escaped into streets. Within minutes, the campus was almost deserted, as even the adults began to make their less hasty exits on the last day of term. Into this scene of impending calm strode a group of boys. Coming down a flight of stairs, they turned and stood around the little pond just beside the stairs, jostling for position around the edge of the pond until they were all leaning over, distorted faces staring up from the rippling water.

In the pond, several tadpoles could be seen harmlessly swimming. The boys observed the tadpoles for several minutes, completely oblivious to the growing stillness of their surroundings. One boy produced a small plastic bag, and with one swift move, scooped up all the tadpoles. Having tied the bag securely, he and the other boys stepped away from the pond, grinning gleefully, completely absorbed in their sport. Holding the bag up high, he was about to turn and walk off, when he closed his fingers around one of the tadpoles, felt it squirm through the plastic, and squeezed. Hard. An explosion of murky fluid, the first of several.

Satisfied for the moment, he chucked the plastic bag into the bin, and chuckling with his friends, walked out the gates of the school. He turned left when they turned right. Unlike them, he lived uptown. None of them clocked the man standing opposite the school beside an idling car. He might have been a parent, waiting for a tardy son, except for the gun discreetly tucked into his belt. He watched the boys waving to each other, waited until the group that had turned right was around the corner. Then he cocked the gun, got into the car, and drove off after the one who was left alone.

This is a reprint of work originally published in LITSNACK.

Ian Chung

This entry was posted in Fiction, Reprint and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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