Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Short Story Mystery

Look Before You Leap
by Elizabeth Ludwig

Part 1

“Hand over all your cash. Your jewels and valuables, too.” Jerry lifted the gun higher, making sure all of the passengers aboard the plane got a good, long look.

He loved this part—the thrill of the job, the rush of adrenaline. It all made him feel…so alive.

“C’mon, lady,” he urged, brandishing his weapon at a stout woman seated at the rear of the small passenger plane. “I haven’t got all day.”

Lips quivering, she rose and stared Jerry in the eye. “I won’t do it. I won’t give you my wedding ring. You’ll have to pry it from my cold—”

The young man next to her, a grandson, perhaps, grabbed her arm and tugged. “Don’t. It’s not worth your life.”

Turning her head, she eyed him disdainfully. “What would you know about it? Your grandfather put this ring on my finger fifty-six years ago, and no common thief,” she directed a firm glare at Jerry, “is going to take it from me.”

Jerry sighed in exasperation. It never failed. Someone always had to mess things up, make his job difficult. “Forget it,” he said, waving his hand. He swung the gun so that it encompassed the entire cabin. “Put on your seatbelts, all of you. You, too, lady,” he demanded, shoving his gun toward the stout woman’s face.

With a huff, she complied.

Jerry motioned to the pilot, an elderly gentleman with hair graying at the temples. “You, take the fire extinguisher next to you and use it to smash the radio.”

The pilot’s eyes widened. “What?”

“Just do it,” Jerry growled, his temper flaring. Little old ladies were one thing—he’d have no problem shooting the pilot.

As if he read the grim intent on Jerry’s face, the pilot lifted the fire extinguisher in his shaking hands and held it above the radio.

“Do it,” Jerry ordered, his voice a harsh whisper.

Drawing a deep breath, the pilot lifted the fire extinguisher high then, with an agonized cry, brought it crashing down.

FOR DISCUSSION: What do you think Jerry intends to do now that the pilot has smashed the passenger’s only means of communication?
Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of Look Before You Leap.


Cathy S. said...

I think Jerry intends to land the plane in a field or an unusual place, not on a runway. He doesn't want the pilot to use the radio and inform anyone of where they will land. He told everyone to put on their seat belts in preparation to land. He's a pilot and if he kills the regular pilot he can still land the aircraft.

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Hmm...I like the way you think, Cathy S.