Short Story: “A Hard Place”

The following story was created as part of Stories on Stage’s “Words of Art” initiative. Writers were charged with taking inspiration from an assigned piece of artwork integrating the written word: “Hopestone Detail,” at left, was created by Denver artist Gayla Lemke

Part 1

“So how far are you willing to take this?” the hostage said, his hands bound, his feet tied to the chair, a blindfold effectively executing the job that blindfolds are made to execute.

The older man lay back on the tattered motel bed, drew in a deep and deliberate breath and let time pass before exhaling.

“That depends,” the man with the gun finally answered … “How far are you?”

Then, nothing. If silence could talk, these two would never get a word in edgewise.

At last, the ring of the cell phone punctured the quiet of this squalid little motel room that wore the stench of smoke and liquor for wallpaper. It all looked straight out of 1988, but then, Ronald Reagan would still be president, and our hostage would still be a gleam in his father’s eye.

The captor barely got out the word, “Yeah?” before being cut off by pitched pings and pangs that told the captive this was his mother on the phone.

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