Will woke up and realized he was using the TV remote as a pillow. This was the third night in a row he fell asleep on the couch, watching the shopping channel into the wee hours of the morning. Sitting up, Will cracked his neck, yawned, and checked the clock on the wall. 10:35.
He considered his options.
A week ago he’d have been sitting in Conference Room B, attending the weekly project review meeting and flirting with Beth, the graphic designer. Beth had a spell on Will. He even got a tattoo a couple weeks earlier when he found out she was into “bad boys”.
Of course, now that he was unemployed, unshaven and unsure the last time he took a shower, Will was less the bad boy and more just a bad choice.
Brushing the Cheetos off his laptop, Will logged into his email. Five new messages. Two job alerts from Workopolis, one multi-million dollar offer from a Nigerian prince, and one message from Mom with the subject: Do you need money?
Ah, the joys of getting laid off.
Will closed the laptop and looked out his front window. Across the street he watched his neighbour Tina knock a garbage can over with her car as she pulled into the driveway.
Tina. Good friend. Terrible driver.
Heaving a sigh, Will mustered up the energy to stand up. Grabbing his jacket he crossed Marshall Street to help Tina clean up the mess she just made.
“Let me get this straight,” Tina said as she poured Will a cup of coffee 10 minutes later. “You got a tattoo. Because you thought some girl at your office would go out with you?”
Will buried his head in his hands at Tina’s kitchen table. “Uh-huh.”
“You do realize I treated some dude on my shift tonight who got Hep C from a tattoo?”
“You’re not helping,” Will said, looking up. “And besides, it’s not as if…”
Will trailed off as his eyes moved past Tina to her front window. Across the street a black car with tinted windows had just pulled into his driveway. Four men in suits stepped out.
“Expecting visitors?” Tina asked, looking over her shoulder.
Will’s brow furrowed with confusion. “Not unless it’s the bank coming to repossess my house.”
Suddenly one of the men across the street kicked Will’s front door in with a massive boot. From the safety of Tina’s kitchen Will watched in confused horror as three of the men drew guns from their belts and stormed into his house.
The fourth man waited outside, standing next to the car, calmly scanning the area. Even from across the street Will could tell that this was the man in charge. An air of authority seemed to surround him.
“Tina, call 911!” Will said as he moved away from the window and away from the penetrating gaze of the Man in Charge.
“I can’t,” Tina said, wide-eyed. “My cell’s dead.”
“Well use your landline!” Will hissed.
“Who has a landline anymore?!” Tina said, peeking out the window. “Who are those guys?”
“I have no idea.” Will’s head was spinning. Why would armed men break into his house? It was obviously some mistake. He just hoped they would leave before figuring out he was having coffee across the street.
As if reading his thoughts, the Man in Charge turned his attention to the frozen ground outside Will’s front door. Will stopped breathing. If he had left tracks in the snow, they’d lead straight to Tina’s place.
Suddenly updating his résumé was the least of Will’s worries.
February 2nd is Groundhog Day. As the superstition goes, depending on whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow will determine how much longer winter will be. Wiarton Willie is a popular groundhog from Wiarton, Ontario and a perfect Plot Hinge to kick things off.
So here’s how we’ll decide how chapter 1 unfolds:
- If Wiarton Willie sees his shadow on February 2nd (signifying more wintery weather on the way) then there will be fresh snow on the ground in which Will has left his footprints. The Man in Charge will spot his tracks and find him at Tina’s (and chapter 1 will be written accordingly).
- If, however, Wiarton Willie does not see his shadow, then the man will not spot Will’s footprints, allowing Will and Tina to avoid being discovered (and chapter 1 will be written accordingly).
Chapter 1 will be posted on February 2nd. After that, Run will be a weekly serial with a new chapter and Plot Hinge added every Thursday. Be sure to subscribe in the top right so you don’t miss a thing!
Bonus Content – Place your bets!
Vote on which outcome you think will occur. If more than 50% of voters guess correctly, additional bonus content will be posted. This chapter’s bonus content: A profile of the Man in Charge.
Voting is now closed. Results:
- Wiarton Willie will see his shadow on Groundhog Day: 63%
- Wiarton Willie will not see his shadow on Groundhog Day: 37%
Since less than 50% of voters guessed correctly, the bonus content will remain hidden. Sorry
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