Mark Johnson
3 min readApr 11, 2024
Dark alleyway

Larry cowered in the corner of the room, his head spinning. He pushed himself further away into the corner, trying to escape the goings-on in the room. Toward the center of the room, huddled around a table, stood Larry’s brother, Jack and Mason, covered in tattoos, fresh out of prison. They were friends who met up on the inside and are now still friends on the outside.

They were looking at a map, sipping on something dark and alcoholic, and plotting out a course for their planned trip. This planning also included Larry, yet the mindset of Larry was he wanted no part as any question posed him. He fought to answer, but when threatened by physical harm, he’d give up the fight.

What the two men were planning was something heinous and something they had been talking about since they had met on the inside. They had grown up unknowingly in the same neighborhood, only miles apart; they knew the same people and had the same burning grudge against the same person. That person was a young woman from the same hood named Claire Reinhold; she had gone to high school with the boys, now turned men. At this age, the two men saw that Claire had done them wrong in their eyes, and now they wanted to exact their revenge.

Larry’s role in all of this was that he was still close with Claire, whom he had somehow forgotten. Jack and Mason had changed her life, putting her time in high school behind her. She was now a successful therapist, and that was how she reconnected with Larry, being a pivotal force in his mental health.

The plan was simple: Larry would lure Claire out of the office, claiming he was having a crisis, hoping she’d come and meet up with him to calm him down. When that happens, Jack and Mason would swope in and abduct her, taking her out of state on a wild and violent spree.

The two men laughed, filling their glasses with something even more potent as they talked about the plan, knowing that if they got caught, they’d go back to prison, never to see the outside world again. With a spit and a handshake, a pact was formed by Jack and Mason shaking hands that they’d die at the barrel of a shotgun before being captured.

As for guns, they had an arsenal, which sent Larry squeamishly back up into the corner of the room in a panic. Larry eventually slipped away, making his way to the adjacent room, terrified to see his brother’s evil plan coming together. Thinking of how he might disrupt this vicious plan, he could hear Larry in his head yelling out not to tell a soul, or he’d be the one taking the brunt of it all.

Frot with fear, Larry stumbled outside of the house into the alley behind the home. Frantic, his thoughts screamed at him of all the possibilities. He wanted to protect Claire, she was always so nice to him then and now, but he also wanted to protect himself, the need for self-perseverance fucking with him. He knew he couldn’t go along with the plan, but who could he trust? He couldn’t do it alone. He needed someone to help him thwart the devious plans his brother and Mason were cooking up.



Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a University of Chico graduate, a lover of the creative arts, avid photographer, with an undying entrepreneurial spirit.