Writing Prompts: Mystery and Thriller
(A stranger sits down next to you on a train and gets up, leaving a package behind. Do you investigate the package?)
The man had been reserved, but polite. They exchanged the usual inanities about the weather (hot) and the economy (lousy). Once they had observed the courtesies, they lapsed into silence.
He left the train three stops later, and it wasn’t until they had started moving again that Mimi noticed the package under his seat. Curious as always, she bent to pull it out. As she did, the big feet of the conductor paused at her seat. “Help you with something, Miss?”
“Uh, no, I’m–I dropped something. I have it. Thanks!”
Now, why had she done that? Should have given it to the conductor and been done with it, but no, Curiousity always won out. Mimi loved a good mystery.
She turned the small but heavy box around, then flipped it over to look at the back. She took a quick breath when she saw the message printed in red:
“If you open this, it will become your problem!”
She dropped it as if it were a snake! It landed back on the floor, and Mimi pushed it back under the seat with her foot. She glanced around, The train was nearly empty, and she was sure no one had seen her.
Her curiosity nagged at her while she waited through three more stops. Finally, she could walk away from that terrible package and forget about it!
Mimi gathered her purse and her briefcase, adjusted her scarf, and was on her feet before the train had come to a full stop. She usually enjoyed this ride through the countryside, especially in the fall, but not this time. Her nerves were all wide awake.
She stepped off the train into a solid wall. A pair of hands grabbed her arms to steady her. A very handsome young man, whose chest had been that wall, was watching her carefully. He said, “I’m so sorry. I was hurrying and not watching.” He lowered his voice, pulling her close, and spoke into her ear. “Did you pick it up? Do you have it?”
“WHAT? Wha–why–who–who ARE you?”
“You don’t need to know. Do you have the package?“
“No! What pack–” The man shook her lightly, once, pulling her away from the train as people began to board.
“Let me go! You have no right!”
“Look, lady, just give me the package and we’ll pretend we never met,” he said, in a pleasant tone. His eyes, however, were not pleasant. And he was still holding her arms.
“I can’t! I-I–put it back under the seat! I was afraid!” Mimi blurted, embarrassed and more terrified by the minute.
“You didn’t! We were sure you wouldn’t be able to resist opening it. We thought–well, we guessed wrong. Okay, look, you’re coming with me. We need to get that package!” And he dropped one of her arms, but held firmly to the other, dragging her along as he fast-walked back to the train.
Just as the door was closing, and the conductor waved them away, he saw two men watching them. He shoved Mimi in front of him and turned them both around, looking for cover. He dragged Mimi into a crowd of people coming off another train and followed the pack toward the depot. By this time, Mimi was panting, trying not to cry, both angry and terrified.
“I’m Mark,” he whispered in her ear. “You can trust me. Just go along, and I’ll get you to safety as soon as I can.”
“No buts! Now move!” He dodged into the small depot, quickly crossing to the exit. He glanced out the nearest window, spotted their tail, and turned instead to the restrooms.
“Noooo! I’m not going in there!” cried Mimi. But she couldn’t resist his shove.
“If you want to get out of here with a whole skin, you’re going to have to trust me. Those guys believe you have the package, or that you gave it to me. We have to hurry. Do exactly as I say, no questions. I’ll explain when we can find a safe hiding place.”
She had no choice, really. She did what he said, amazed at his ingenuity. She thought maybe they’d pull it off and get out of there safely.