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  • J. J. Hanna

Ink Blot: I Had to Say It

Updated: Mar 2, 2020

Welcome back to Ink Blot, a section of my blog in which I write short drabbles from online writing prompts. If you enjoy what you're reading, please share it with your friends! Have a prompt you'd love for me to write a response to? Send it to me!

Today's prompt comes from oopsprompts on Tumblr.


I followed her through the streets. She was not going to get away from me this time. That villain. That creature of the night . . . How she'd gotten through life thus far with her manners and her mentality, I had no idea. But I was not going to let her get away with more senseless murder if I could do anything about it.

We'd been walking home from the Broadway show. The night had been clear, and we'd made it past all of the normal Times Square night traffic and all the way into the train station. We'd made it safely to our stop. We'd made it out onto the street again when she'd walked up to us.

"Excuse me, miss . . . Could you lend me some money?" She seemed unstable. Her eyes drifted here and there, glancing for some unseen threat behind unkempt hair. "I'll pay you back."

My friend glanced at me. Had we both forgotten to put on the mask we always wore in public? The mask that said, "Talk to me and you'll regret it?" The mask that let people know that "No, we aren't tourists," and "No, we don't want to take your bike tour or bus tour or have a free sample."

"I'm sorry, ma'am, but I can't right now."

"Miss, please–" She seemed desperate.

"I told you, I'm sorry." My friend turned to walk away and we headed down the street, continuing on toward the apartment complex where we lived. It's how we'd met. I still remember seeing her out on her balcony when I was trying to set up the umbrella over my small table. She'd made some comment about Billy Joel while his music poured out of a speaker on her own porch, and we'd been friends ever since.

"Wrong answer." I heard the shot before I saw its effects, the noise echoing around the streets. This was New York. People died out here every day. Who was going to care about one gunshot among the rest at three A.M.?

My friend crumpled and the woman had run off, vanishing into the darkness as I fumbled for my phone, dialing 9-1-1 in a panic.

Now, now I had her cornered. You don't take a person's only friend from them on the streets at three in the morning. You don't kill just because you can. Well, maybe you shouldn't. But she had it coming.

Only two days after the funeral I'd gone and bought myself a pistol. I didn't know how to use it, not really, but it couldn't be that hard, could it? The bullets go in, you secure them, you point, and you squeeze the trigger. I'd read that somewhere. That if you pulled the gun wouldn't fire. It had to be deliberate. It had to be a squeeze.

"What do you want from me?" she asked, her back against the wall in the alley.

"I want you to acknowledge what you did." Was that my voice? Was I really that . . . cold? My how this city'd changed me.

"Oh. You're the other lady. Come to reconsider your friend's stupidity?"

"Don't be daft." My hand shook as I held the gun in place. Support it with your other hand. Isn't that what it said online?

"For what it's worth, I'm sorry for killing your friend."

"That is worth absolutely nothing to me," I muttered.

"I know, but I had to say it."

I squeezed the trigger and watched her slide down the wall, blood seeping through her shirt. It would have been nearly impossible to miss at this range.

It was only as I walked away that I began to wonder if I as any better than her. Had I not just killed a woman? Not an innocent one, but a stranger nonetheless?

I went to the river later that night and tossed the gun as far as I could. No more. Never again.


To read more snippets like this, please go visit this list of my Ink Blot blog posts.

Thanks for reading!

***Please note this is a work of fiction. All characters and events are solely fictional. Any relation to real persons or events is coincidental.***


J. J. Hanna graduated from Taylor University with a degree in Professional Writing. She's currently working with literary agent Cyle Young, learning to be a literary agent, and working as a freelance writer and editor. To hire her for editing, writing, speaking, or consulting, see the services tab. In her free time, she can be found cuddling with a cat, reading the latest suspense novel, or filming YouTube videos about the publishing industry.

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