Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer
We swerve down an alleyway and tuck ourselves up against rubbish bins. Try to catch our breath. What a fiasco. Supposed to be the first demonstration against the British State Act, turned into a series of running battles.
Most of us were only there to object to the shitshow the government are running over us. The police had other ideas. With their new powers, they concluded we were all about to ‘engage in violent activities liable to intimidate or harm’ and decided to pre-emptively arrest everyone. Any attempt at reasoning was met with pepper spray and a spot conviction for resisting arrest. Faced with a situation where they were going to be done for fighting whether they fought or not, most people decided to get stuck in.
We made it out thanks to a group of sabs who were helping oiks like us get clear. After that, Tommy, Bet, Col, and me ran for it. Ended up huddling against these stinking bins.
We set off again. It’s a couple of short runs before we realise we’re a man down. None of us saw what got Col, but all of sudden we’re very aware of being in an industrial area with nobody on the streets except us.
That’s when I hear it. The soft ‘shupshupshup’ of ultra-stealth rotor blades.
Bet pulls up short and snarls: “Don’t start with your ghostly helicopter shit.”
I peer upwards, then point towards a dark teardrop shape between us and the stars.
Tommy cuffs me round the back of the head: “She’s right. We’ve got enough to deal with.”
The shape is gone.
He rounds on me, expression turning hard: “She’s right. Focus on running.”
There’s no use arguing the toss when he’s got a cob on. But running away from whatever that was works for me.
Crossing a main road is a dash from dark to light and back into dark. Tommy goes first, I follow. The rotor noise intensifies as I cross the road, but the lights about hide the sky from me.
I pull up next to Tommy. We look back at the black rectangle of the alley we came from. There’s no sign of Bet.
“Danno, what the fuck did I just hear?”
I look at Tommy.
“Don’t ask me, mate. Nobody knows what they are. All I know is we’ve attracted the attention of one. You want my advice? Fucking leg it.”
Over in the states, they have black helicopters. After I found some of the articles that opened my grandfather’s eyes, he lent me a couple of books, then told me about the more dangerous variety we have over here. Back in the seventies there were all sorts of sightings – even official investigations – of ‘phantom helicopters’, but they petered out. The authorities said most of the reports were hysteria. Grandpa pointed out they said ‘most’. He reckoned the phantom helicopters just got better at disappearing anyone who cottoned on to them.
“Tommy? Tommy! Where are ya, mate?”
I’m toast. Still running, police far behind, but fucked anyway. I need to be among people and in the light to avoid it. But if I’m out there, the police will likely have me…
Might happen, might not. But being banged up is better than being disappeared. I run faster. Got to get somewhere crowded and bright – and do it soon.
There’s a lull in the traffic noise. The noise comes again. Somewhere up there is an urban legend, and it’s coming for me.
Good dystopian flash fiction. Believable enough that I might need to put tin foil around my head!
The 70s phantom helicopter scare info is genuine. 🙂
If you enjoy my stories on here, you might like to try my flash fiction collection – https://lothp.org/book/between-the-thunder-and-the-sun/ – or some of my other books.
They’re available as ebooks for all devices, paperbacks, hardbacks, and OpenDyslexic font paperbacks. You can find details of all currently available titles on my website – https://lothp.org/published-work/ (each book page has non-affiliate universal links for every available edition).