500 word flash fiction. Based on the Baltimore riots.


1. Riot

   “Justice!” a man next to Cecilia screamed. She echoed him, along with the rest of the crowd. To be honest, she had no idea what they were even rioting for. Her friend’s uncle was hurt being arrested, and somehow the two of them (planned by the friend, unexpected by her) ended up playing along “Playing.” Not exactly the correct term. More like fighting.

   People all around Cecilia were screaming, crying, and throwing matches, candles, and even torches onto buildings near them. It had started raining, but that was stopping no one. They had a point to be made, and that point was . . . who knew?

   But she was already a part of it, and so she poured her anger into it. That cop who gave her a ticket the other day, she saw him. And she took one of the whatever-it-was that people were throwing at cops, and threw it at him. He had a shield thing, but that didn’t stop the feeling of satisfaction she felt when it exploded with a nice crack!

   Then she noticed something that made her stomach drop. People were throwing fire onto the city hall building. And she remembered what the riot was about. Or at least what her dad had said it was about.

   “It’s not really about anything,” her dad had explained. “A man got arrested, he resisted arrest, and got hurt. And the sad thing is: people really don’t care. They use it as an excuse to riot, set things on fire, attack an officer who gave them a ticket” – Cecilia cringed – “and such. They need to realize that we don’t live in a world where you can do something wrong and get away with it. Imagine that, Cece, if you could steal anything you want, kill anyone you want, do anything you want and not get fined, or arrested, or receive a death penalty. Right now, if you do something bad, you get consequences.

   “I don’t ever want to live in a world that my sister could kill me and continue life as normal. Maybe instead, one day I could no longer have that fear of my sister – not specifically her, I guess – could kill me, or steal from me, or anything.”  

   Cecilia gulped, remembering then what he told her next. “If one of my kids joined that, they’d be kicked out. I want to be known as the guy who always did the right thing. And I want my kids to do the same.”

   Swallowing the bile that rose in her throat, she shoved through the crowd as fast as she could. He could never find out.

   “Where are you going?” a person asked her. She couldn’t look up.

   A news reporter walked up to her. “Tell me, wh-“ Cecilia turned away quickly, hoping the camera hadn’t caught her face.

   Then, far enough away from the crowd, she crouched down, trying hard not to throw up her lunch from earlier.

   “What have I done?” she asked herself.

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