Welcome to The Spot Writers. September’s prompt: mistaken identity—a story where a mistaken identity plays a major role.
This week’s story comes from Cathy MacKenzie. Cathy’s novel, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama, is available from her locally or on Amazon.
MISTER WOLFE (the sequel) coming soon!
New York 2019
by Cathy MacKenzie
Although Jane often read horoscopes and took quizzes, she had never been upset over the outcomes, but this one was too ominous to ignore. As a result, she and Ned would have to cancel their annual trip to New York City.
We’ll go somewhere else, she thought. Anywhere but New York. Togetherness mattered, not the destination. No way would she enjoy herself with such a dire premonition hanging over her.
She’d make up an excuse, for Ned wouldn’t understand. He’d laugh, call her a silly cupcake, but in the end, he’d acquiesce. Couldn’t she be tired of the same place every year?
She broached the subject over dinner. “Let’s go somewhere different this year.”
“But it’s tradition,” Ned said. “We love New York.”
“I know, but can’t we skip a year?”
Silent for several seconds, she sighed. “You’ll make fun of me.”
“I promise I won’t.”
She produced a paper. “I took a quiz on Facebook that tells a person when and how they’ll die. It told me I’ll die by a sniper’s bullet in New York City in 2019.”
Ned, rolling his eyes, ignored the proffered sheet.
She glared at her husband. “You promised you wouldn’t laugh.”
“I’m not laughing. It’s coincidental but kind of farfetched, don’t you think? A sniper? And this year?”
“We go every year. What’s coincidental about that? I can’t go. I’d be peering over my shoulder every second.” She laughed, trying to lessen the impact of her demand.
Ned sighed. “Okay, we can go somewhere else. Atlantic City?”
Jane and Ned settled into the Atlantic City Hotel. After a sumptuous dinner, they strolled the streets, which bustled with tourists. Throngs of people congregated at casinos and bars, but everyone minded their own business. Ned felt he and Jane were inconspicuous.
“What a beautiful evening.” Jane glanced at the sky. “Another hour until the sun sets.”
“A beautiful night for sure.” Ned had barely spoken the words when he noticed a young man approaching. Drunk, he figured, but his long dark coat was uncharacteristic of the mild temperature. His skin prickled, and he gripped his wife’s hand. When the man made eye contact but quickly passed by, Ned relaxed.
Then, almost immediately, shots rang out. Seconds—or was it minutes?—passed before he realized Jane had fallen. People screamed and raced away while others dropped to the ground as his wife had.
Ned collapsed beside her, cradling her head in his arms. “Jane!” He crushed his wife to his chest. Tears careened down his cheeks, disappearing into her grey hair. Images appeared before him in slow motion: Jane wearing a wedding gown, Jane birthing two children, Jane’s welcoming greetings at the kitchen door.
“9-1-1,” someone shouted.
Later that evening, the police advised Ned that he and Jane had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. The deranged individual, a native of New York, who had recently relocated to Atlantic City, had aimed indiscriminately. Jane had been the sole victim.
Weeks later, Ned discovered the Facebook print-out he had neglected to read:
You will die by the hand of a New York sniper in 2019.
“Oh, Jane, you misread everything,” Ned mumbled.
The Spot Writers—Our Members:
Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/
Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com
Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/