FFM 2021 12: Seen

This week, the sidequest is about pacing: you need to write a story with a slow pacing, one with a fast pacing and one with a bit of both.

I initially started to write this as one with slow pacing, but the result turned out to become a mixture of both.


Raiyo slouched in the supermarket, praying that he would not come across anyone who knew him. He was no longer bleeding, but dried blood was caked on his chin and he was certain that he was already sporting either a black eye or a bruise elsewhere on his face. If he had had any idea where he could stay the night without going bankrupt that month — already a constant risk every time he had to unexpectedly diverge from the cheapest pasta he could get — he might have felt better about his current predicament. If only he could find a living arrangement that cost less than the so-called “rent” he was paying his mother…

Raiyo’s legs brought him to a halt faster than he fully realized that, like always, his prayers had not been answered.

Just a few meters in front of him was the man who had done the bulk of his training — and probably noticed his bruises — at work, Levi, with an older man whom Raiyo had seen driving Levi to and from work. If his memory served him right, Levi had called the man Warren.

To make matters all the worse, the man noticed him and waved. That attracted Levi’s attention. The black-haired pale man’s rising eyebrows sealed his fate.

Raiyo turned on his heels. He had to leave now.

Once he got out, he ran. His legs were already screaming but he ran. He had to cover as much distance as he could.

Suddenly, a change in the paving. Into the air and back onto the ground. Luckily, it was the park’s smooth sand road.

Raiyo picked himself up. He had to cover more distance. He had to… he had to…

He probably had to rest at the bench first. And contemplate resigning. No, no, that would doom him. And tell the others that something was amiss. Levi would talk, surely he would talk after this. Levi would tell about the bruises for sure. And if Levi talked, someone would take action.

And if someone took action… his mother would kill him.

Raiyo closed his eyes. It was probably for the best to sleep on this bench through the cold night. Maybe he would never wake up.

A raven laughed at him somewhere among the trees.

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