Additional related casualties were prevented

A response to a writing-prompt, first published on 2nd January 2018


“Huh, this is strange.” murmured Michael to himself, “What is?” asked Jessica and looked up from her eBook Reader. “It asks us to put on Seat-Belts and to remain seated” he replied while pointing at the Display.

This humored Michaels Girlfriend: “They never do that.” She pushed him away to see what the Public Transport Car they were currently occupying demanded. But as soon as she saw the Message, she could nothing but agree.

“Odd. What do we do now?” she asked, not to anyone specific but to the world at large. “Well. Guess we should do as it says?” answered Michael pitching in for the world. Both moved back into seats and watched the display concerned.

After some long minutes, Jessica asked in an almost whispered voice: “What happens now? Should we call someone?” But Michael did not care to react and instead watched the display intently.

On the outside the rain was still falling and the sun was about to vanish behind the horizon. The turning signals sounded and the car steered down a different road. The street narrowed and changed from asphalt to colourful brick cobblestone. Jessica looked outside and recognized the inner city: “This is market street, isn’t it?” But Michael could only wonder: “Yes. But why are we driving down here? There is no route to our place from here beside right back again.”

In the next moment the people outside became a blur. As the car jumped forward both were forced into their seats. It struggled to gain more speed on the wet stones. But before they could do as much as scream they were thrown towards one side of the car. With loud screeching the tires slithered.

There was a loud thud, more sense numbing screeching and then finally silence again.

Time runs slow in these moments, still dazed they opened the passenger door and moved outside. They were already engulfed in people, and there was shouting. Jessica looked around and found the origin of the strange noise they heard seconds ago. Throwing her hands up and pressing them over her mouth was the only way to stop her scream.

The mangled body of a small girl was folded over the front of the car. A puddle of blood beside the forward tires made it clear that there was no sense in rushing to help her. Michael almost jumped as something dropped out of the girls hands onto the bonnet.

It was a strange device, looking like the trigger from a power drill. A spiralling cable lead into the girl’s jacket. A slow realization overcame the couple as they made the mental connection to the explosive device hidden beneath the clothing.

The message visible on the cars display changed:

“Additional related casualties were prevented.”