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Short story winner: Devious Dexterity

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My clammy hands tightly gripped the leathery wheel. I could see the pink flesh on my knuckles turn a ghostly white. Though my body grew stiff, my mind grew calm as I gazed into the dark night. While the car rumbled and bumped over the gravelly road, I could hear my silver cylinders clinking in the back seat. My thoughts disappeared, the sound mesmerized me. The trance broke when my friend whispered, “Stop up here” and stretched his long finger to an alleyway. I rotated the heavy wheel towards the curb, and the car screeched to a stop.

My heart began to pound, but my hands did not shake. I pulled my weighted feet out of the car, and grasped a handle that popped the back door open. There I saw the glimmering cans begging me to take them. I immediately snatched one up; my fingers wrapped around it so naturally. A grin began to spread to each ear. I could feel the adrenaline rushing through me. My friend disturbed my bliss again, posing the question, “Are you ready?”

“Yes,” my lips uttered without hesitation.

We waltzed up to a dewy side of a building, illuminated with a dim streetlight. After I gazed upon it, the canvas appeared clear. I could see the potential it had for me. I violently shook the can, then approached the promising surface. I raised my brush close to the surface, and pressured the top. I heard a crisp sound burst from the opening. I felt the wet tickling upon my cheeks like sea spray. I could smell the intoxicating fumes and taste the bitter paint. I immersed myself into my work, it flowed with me. I became Michelangelo; completely involved with the painting. Suddenly, I heard a set of tires crackling towards us. Then, blinding rays beamed over us and our work. My heart began to pound as fast as it did before, but in a different manner. A black silhouette, outlined by the glowing light, rapidly grew closer. It then called out in a booming voice, “Stop right there, vandalism is against the law!” My fingers froze. The voice inside my head amplified, “run…,” my heart beat bashed my eardrums, “Run…,” the fear exposed every nerve, “RUN,” yet I could not move. I tried to lift my legs, but they stayed bolted where I stood. My lip began to shake. This never happened before. I longed to turn back the clock. I remained stuck, utterly helpless.

Then, somehow breaking through my curse, my friend moved my hand. He made the decision I could not, he jerked my arm and yelled, “Run!”

I broke from my icy stiffness, and strided my legs. Through the excitement, I heard a blurry message from the policeman, but I paid no attention to his cries. A thought repeated through my head like a broken record as I fled: “He didn’t see your face, it will be fine.” My mind moved on from the guilt. My legs sped on, but detached from my body. I could only hear my record, and feel the adrenaline. I looked out into the dark night and saw the stars, glimmering just as bright as the brush I left behind.

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Short story winner: Devious Dexterity