Take him down

Copyright: Rich Voza

Copyright: Rich Voza

Average height, hair mousey brown. Sort of average looking, nondescript. Hard to describe. No particular accent.

She asked me to watch her bags while she went to the loo. Airport terminals are always a bit risky – leave your stuff unattended and it either gets stolen or it’s destroyed in a controlled explosion. So of course I agreed.

Average bags, not old, not new, seen some use. No name tags, no identification. I pulled them closer for safety.

The sniffer dog whimpered, its handler smirked. I protested.

In the distance the woman melted into the crowd.

“Average height, hair mousey brown…”


Written for Friday Fictioneers’ weekly 100 word challenge. Participants are whipped into order by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

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56 Responses to Take him down

  1. That’s scary indeed. I can see how it would happen also. A backpack left behind in a bakery here in Pune blew the place up killing and wounding a number of people some years ago. Also, about ten years ago, some guards at an inside gate in an airport smiled fondly at me, an older, motherly-looking woman, and told me to go on through. I doubt that would happen these days. Even then they weren’t doing their jobs well. Terrorists even use children. Well written, Patrick. —- Suzanne

  2. Margaret says:

    The lesson is that around airports the ordinary rules of civility don’t apply. We live in scary times. I love the pace and language of this, Patrick.

  3. madamewriter says:

    Subtle terror…it is so real and possible. Well done!

  4. mickwynn2013 says:

    Saw the ending because I’ve often wondered about this scenario. It would be hard to refuse her request and not feel rude but potentially dangerous. Well written.

  5. She sounds like either a terrorist or the kind of woman I would get. Nice tale!

  6. gahlearner says:

    I was pulled in by the first sentence already. Great build-up of suspense. I also like how vague the sniffer dog is. If it were drugs, she must have seen the officer coming.

  7. To add what the other commentors said, sometimes women won’t be trusting of male strangers, but a number of people may put down their guard when it comes to women. (A lot of criminals exploit this; if they know people expect a certain profile, they’ll send someone not matching that profile.)

  8. Great story! Nice twist at the end. 🙂

  9. Recently I was waiting at a station to board a train. I was early and noticed a suitcase and a backpack left on the chair nearby. As I looked around to see if I could spot the owner, the scenario of a bomb bursting, etc etc etc. Gave me the shivers as I was travelling back to join my family after a 4 day gap!
    Well done!

  10. Jan Brown says:

    Oh, dear! This is a cautionary tale for all of us. Good job!

  11. I was caught off guard by your story. A sucker is born every day. Great job Patrick.

  12. ceayr says:

    Very good, Patrick, excellent piece.

  13. Dahlia says:

    A great reminder to be careful – could be so easily a reality

  14. IB Arora says:

    they know that ordinary people are too trusting, for the system such ordinary people are easy to catch


  15. Oh dear.
    Found himself in a sticky place.

  16. Oye! Note to self, don’t look after strangers’ stuff in an airport terminal.

  17. wmqcolby says:

    Excellent, Patrick. Just plain awesome! It has that intrigue and suspense I so much enjoy.
    Nice work to the hilt. 🙂

  18. Ooooh, vice chair, that is pretty good, and like one of the bloggers said, I hope there were fingerprints because she can’t get away with it can she?

  19. The sad thing is many people would trust her – average height hair mousey brown – why would she be anything, but what she seems?

  20. Never trust the invisible ones… never trust anyone for that matter. Let’s hope there were fingerprints at least.

  21. Sandra says:

    There’s always a sucker, isn’t there? Let’s just hope it’s drugs and not explosives. Good one.

  22. michael1148humphris says:

    He was a bit too trusting, what a sad world.

  23. I really felt a terrible sense of creeping inevitability with this story. Nicely done.

  24. Dear Patrick,

    I enjoyed this bit of intrigue. It’s always the average looking person, isn’t it?



  25. neilmacdon says:

    I knew this ending was coming, but I still enjoyed its terrible inevitability

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