Two weeks ago I joined a writing challenge on Chuck Wendig’s site: Terrible Minds. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/11/22/flash-fiction-challenge-200-words-at-a-time-part-one/comment-page-1/#comments I wrote a 200 word opening for a story and posted it. I was very interested in what someone else would do with my beginning. While I waited, I went ahead and finished the story. You can see it below. Note: Someone, Ken Crump, did pick up my beginning and wrote a really good 2nd part. You can see it here: http://brickhousepiggy.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/terribleminds-com-flash-fiction-challenge-200-words-at-a-time-part-two/
This is fun! I’ll try and follow the story as others write it and post the links here. In the meantime, here’s my take on the story.
The Hacker and The Girl
Ewan Gilroy backed out of the library stack in a hurry. He peeked around the corner. Oh no.
He crept along the next row to watch the co-ed over the books. Ewan sweated as she checked the paper in her hand. She’s looking for something specific. Can’t be my book, no one’s checked it out in three years. She ran her finger along the titles. He froze as she pulled a book from the shelf. That book has the stolen code. I can’t finish this hack without it!
At the check-out Ewan walked up behind her with a random book.
“Nice to see you again, Brooke,” the librarian smiled. “Science of Computer MetaPhysics and Interdimensional Theory,” she stamped the lending card and her record book and handed the book to Brooke. “Research?”
“From Professor Ingles’ additional reading list for my final paper.” She tucked the book under her arm. “It looks like heavy reading.”
“You’ll do fine. Have a good day.”
“Thanks, you too.” Brooke left.
“May I help you?” the librarian asked.
“Uh, no, changed my mind, thanks.” Ewan dropped his book on the counter and hurried after Brooke. He’d follow her and with luck, get the book back.
Ewan followed Brooke to the Student Union. He called his partner. “Malcomb.”
“Yeah, where are you? I expected you fifteen minutes ago.”
“I’m at the Student Union. Some chick named Brooke snagged the book just before I could. I followed her but I don’t know what to do next.”
“Holy Guacamole, Ewan! If we don’t get this hack done the mob is going to string us up! Why’d you let her get the book?”
Ewan ran a hand through his buzz cut sandy brown hair. “Tell me something I don’t know, Malcomb! How do I get the book away from her?” He could hear the chair Malcomb sat in creaking. Malcomb was a good 300 pounds. He wouldn’t be able to run from the mob.
“I don’t know! See if you can’t borrow it long enough to get the codes out of it.”
“Yeah, good idea.” He hit the end button and hurried to the coffee urn. He didn’t need any more acid in his stomach but it was cheap. Until he could get out from under the gambling debt he and Malcomb owed the Mob, he watched every cent. Taking a breath, he strolled by Brooke’s table. She had the book open to the first chapter. Good, at least she’s not flipping through it.
He stepped past her table then backed up, staring at the book. She looked up at him. Ewan grinned, “Oh, sorry. Isn’t that Science of Computer MetaPhysics and Interdimensional Theory?”
Brooke’s eyes went wide. “Yeah. How did you know?”
“I read that four years ago. Deep topic.” He held out a hand. “I’m Ewan. Nice to meet you.”
She shook his hand. “Nice to meet you. I just started it. I’ve got a paper to write.”
Ewan pulled out the chair next to her. He could hardly breathe looking into those deep blue eyes. Keep your mind on business, he told himself sternly, but it was hard to ignore how fast his heart was beating. “Do you mind?” he asked as he sat. He put the cup down and deliberately tipped it over. Hot coffee sloshed all over the pages.
He leapt up and grabbed the book. “Oh no! I’m so sorry! Let me clean it up.” Ewan ran to the men’s room at the far end of the cafeteria. He ripped paper towels out of the holder and blotted the coffee from each page. The pages mostly dry he flipped the back cover open and pulled up the cover paper. There was a small square of microfilm. He pulled it out, tucked it into his pocket and smoothed the back paper down over the cover. Before he left the bathroom, he grabbed a few more paper towels. On the way to back to Brooke he made a show of blotting the pages. She had wiped up the mess on the table.
“Sorry,” he said. He wadded up the paper towels and gave the table a last wipe. “I hate defacing books. I don’t even write notes or highlight in mine.” He handed the book back to her.
She sighed. “The pages are still wet. I’ll have to dry it open tonight.”
“I’m so sorry,” he apologized again eyes on the table. He looked up at her out of the corner of his eyes. “I feel like such a klutz.”
His tone of voice finally got through to her. She stopped flipping the pages and smiled. “That’s alright. I guess it could happen to anyone.”
Ewan grinned. “Look, I’ve got to go, but I’d love to discuss the book. He scribbled his phone number down on a scrap of paper from his pocket. “Call me.”
She took the paper and nodded.
When Ewan got back to the apartment, Malcomb spun around in his chair. “Did you get it?”
“Yeah.” He pulled it from his pocket. “Who uses microfilm?” He handed it to Malcomb. “Can you read it?”
Malcomb held it up to the light. “Yeah, I can get the data.” He set to work. Now that they had the code, they finished the hack.
Ewan didn’t want to know what the buyer was going to do with a hack into the University’s research center. He only cared that they paid on time. The mob wasn’t going to wait.
Malcomb and Ewan were high-fiving each other when Ewan’s phone rang. “Hey,” he said after checking the screen. “I’m glad you called, Brooke.”
“Yeah, I’d love to meet tomorrow. Coffee at the Student Union sounds great. See you then.” He clicked off, grinning.
“You got a date?” Malcomb asked, wide eyed. “From the chick you poured coffee on?”
“I didn’t pour it on her,” Ewan protested. “But yeah, she seemed to like me.”
Malcomb shook his head. “Unbelievable.”
Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html