This piece of flash won the December 2009 One Word Challenge comp’ over at Writers News Talkback Forum


The superstore was abuzz with shoppers. Clocking the newspaper headlines, “Local Paedophile Escapes,” Ged whisked Beth and Josh to the next aisle.

‘Right, stay close. No wandering.’

Ged became engrossed in reading the back of the supermarket’s own brand of Choco-pops. Instinctively looking down, his heart flickered.

‘Where’s Beth?’

Blasé, Josh clutched a box of Shreddies. ‘Daddy, can I…?’

‘Where’s your sister?’


Ged scanned left and right. He sprinted, stopped at each aisle.


Glancing behind, Josh wasn’t there. Panic swamped him. Torn, he back-tracked. His head pivoted back and forth like an owl on speed.

That headline! Shit. Make a decision.

Frenetic now, he ran for the exit, dodging shoppers. He bumped into a shelf-stacker. ‘Pleeease…lost my kids…Beth n Josh!’

He patrolled the exit foyer, head spinning, eyes manic. Children’s voices amplified, teasing him. Every man was a paedo’, every woman an accomplice. Lips pinched, fists clenched, teeth gritted.

The Tannoy boomed their names. Tears welled, palpitations intensified.

A security guard emerged from the crowd, Beth in one hand, Josh in the other.


Sobbing, Ged hugged his kids like never before.

A wide-eyed man in a trench-coat strolled past them, sighed then exited the store.

© Col Bury December 2009


2 Responses to Frantic

  1. Every parents worst nightmare, fortunatley a near miss. If not, I’d hope the MC would become the pedo’s worst nightmare. I know Iwould.

  2. Great sense of panic, and the perfect ending. Loved it!

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