Day 2: Free Prompt.

Well, today’s prompt is a free for all. I don’t like that, so since the words used were ‘free prompt,’ I’m using those for my story. You can’t get away with not giving me a prompt! I’ll be prompted by your lack of prompt! Promptly even! Enjoy 🙂

The crowd milled and rambled in an orderly fashion outside the courthouse. Reporters and their camera-men stood anxiously waiting for someone to push through the large doors.

Edgar shuffled around between the onlookers, searching for someone to talk to. His back was starting to groan, and his bum knee needed a break. His hand-made protest sign was leaning back over his shoulder.

He approached a young lady with curled blond hair wearing a long black coat. “Shame what they done to poor Prompt, isn’t it? That fella wouldn’t hurt a fly and they know it,” he said, shaking his head and heaving a sigh.

The woman forced a smile and stepped back, pulling the young man next to her into a conversation.

Edgar shuffled on. He straightened his suit jacket and wiped his nose on a handkerchief, then set his eyes on another lass, this one wearing thick rimmed glasses and a plaid scarf that pressed straight black hair against her neck.

“Shame what they done to poor ol’ Johnny Prompt isn’t it?” he said, pausing a moment to see if the woman tried to escape. “He’d never do all those things, I just know it, it’s in his eyes!”

“It’s the establishment, man,” said the young lady, lighting a long, black cigarette. “The government and corporations, you know, like, our liberties. John Prompt stands for freedom.” She blew out a cloud of fragrant smoke, and Edgar nodded, trying not to sneeze.

“Poor Johnny wouldn’t hurt a fly,” said Edgar.

A murmur rose from the crowd, and people began to push forward. Edgar looked up to see a short, brown-haired woman wearing a smart pantsuit and dangling pearl earrings pushing through the doors. The various reporters quickly surrounded her with microphones and cameras. The crowd started a chant of ‘free prompt’, which quickly faded as the woman raised her hands for silence.

“The jury has reached a verdict,” she said in a strong, clear voice. “John Prompt has been found not guilty on all charges.”

The crowd burst into cheers and claps, drowning out the last few words. A moment later the door was opened again and the crowd shouted in a frenzy as John Prompt exited.

Edgar found some strength and hefted his sign, which had the words ‘John is a good man’ written in shoe polish. “John! John!” he shouted.

Cameras surrounded the thin, pale, dark haired man. He had bags under his eyes,  his shoulders were slumped, and his tweed suit was crumpled.

“Mr. Prompt,” said a reporter with slicked back blond hair. “How does it feel to be free?”

“I’ve killed seventeen people,” John said flatly.

The crowd erupted in laughter.

Edgar grinned and shook his head. “Ol’ Johnny, such a jokester,” he said to the young lady with the cigarette. She didn’t look at him.

“What will you do now?” asked a second reporter, flashing a grin full of thick, white teeth.

“I’m a serial killer,” said John Prompt. “I cut people up for fun. You have me on video! Does no one care?” He held his arms up and let out a long roar, turning his face to each of the cameras in turn.

The crown showered him with applause and the reporters pushed their microphones closer.

“Is it true you’re writing a book?”

“Are you going on the Tonight show?”

“What do you think of Lady Gaga’s new dress?”

“Do you wear boxers or briefs?”

John let out a howl and pushed his way through the wall of cameras and into the crowd. Edgar shuffled forward, trying for a better look, but his bum knee and weak arms didn’t let him get very close. Then, against all odds, John Prompt came right up to him, and grabbed the sign out of his hand.

“Of course you can have it, Johnny,” said Edgar, beaming with pride.

John tore off the sign and swung the wooden post at full force into the group. People ducked away screaming and holding their faces. John swung until the post snapped on someones head, then he thrust the jagged edge into a young woman’s belly and pushed her to the ground. A policeman rushed to her side.

“What happened, who did this?” asked the officer, holding the woman’s wound.

“I did, you idiot.” John dropped the wooden weapon and held up bloodied hands.

“Did you see anything, John?” said the officer.

John snatched the officers gun from its holster and shot the cop in the face. He fired five more times into the screaming crowd then put the gun against his own head.

Blood splattered on Edgar’s suit jacket.

~

Edgar sat at his dinner table and squinted through misty eyes at the front page of the morning paper.

Local Hero Dies, Defends Crowd From Madman

In a tragic event at the courthouse today, local celebrity John Prompt was killed by an unidentified man after diving in front of one Edgar Simmons, 55, and stopping the bullet…

Edgar set down the newspaper and wiped a tear from his cheek. He stared at his untouched eggs.

“Poor ol’ Johnny,” he said to himself. “He wouldn’t hurt no one.”

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