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The Planning Application

The Writers' Block #27 - Theme: (The) Planning Application

When Martin came to, realising it had not been a nightmare, he stared at his left hand, pinned to the table by the knife, his blood still seeping, the ache almost overpowering. As long as he didn’t move, that is how it was: a simple, deep, never-ending ache. A constant reminder in rhythm with his heartbeat; a pounding, a drumming.

As he watched its motionless form, it was as though it was not real. Like a fake hand, a prop, with a clichéd injury.

His gaze followed the rivulet of merlot-like blood. A snaking stream, winding its way between his fingers and along the desk, over the papers on which his hand slumbered, then along a grain in the wood, until, at the edge, a slow-motion cascade down to the ever-increasing puddle on the floor.

He was tired. Needing sleep, he wanted to close his eyes for ever. In his dreams he would be free, not pinned to a table like an unread notice on board, something to be dealt with later, unimportant, unnecessary. Yet, when he moved or twitched the pain would bolt through him. So strong a rude awakening followed.

Unsure what to do, he sat still, waiting for something, anything, to push him one way or the other - a release from the situation, good or bad, would be welcome.

Then he noticed the papers he was attached to, stapled as though he was an addendum.

With his right index finger he thoughtlessly moved the blood away, but this inevitably smudged the lot and he used his middle finger to try to clear up the mess. Beneath the redness he saw he was connected to a planning application form for an extension to somewhere. As he alternately obscured and revealed with his wiping, he could just make out an address. One he knew. Connections in his mind began to fire. He understood the silent phone call, the car shunt, the bag over the head and, now, this.

He looked around.

Where was he?

An office. Empty, cool, darkening as the light outside faded.

The view?

He could just make out some treetops reaching up to a thunderous sky.

A digital clock on the wall opposite silently pointed to Sunday. 17:15 hours.

No one will be here for another twelve hours or more.

What to do?

Then, movement. A door at the far side of the open-plan area moved. A sudden burst of sound from a hand-dryer in the toilets. It came and went.

What to do?

The desk he was attached to was devoid of assistance. Nothing on it or near it. He felt his heart rate increase and the ache surge. He put his hand in his jacket pocket. At first he couldn’t fathom what it was: cold, pointed, smooth. The bibelot from the museum.

What to do?

Then an idea.

He smiled. A crooked, pained smile. It would soon be over. Rebels like him are not kept down for long…


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