Trip to Paris

By Toni Kief




By Toni Kief​​ 


​​ In the silence of​​ terror,​​ a thin arm reaches​​ for​​ a​​ toolbox​​ and with​​ steady almost​​ invisible​​ movement,​​ Peggy​​ picks​​ up the hammer. ​​ Slowly​​ she​​ brings​​ it back to​​ the​​ cubbyhole​​ beneath the stairs. ​​ She​​ has no plan just an unspoken desire to survive, so she waits. ​​ This was her first trip alone, and​​ she​​ had​​ chosen the​​ journey​​ of a lifetime. ​​ Peggy​​ remembers​​ just moments before she​​ gathered​​ her phrase book, map, cell phone,​​ and her false bravado to march from the hotel room. ​​ She had a​​ plan,​​ and step one was to not allow Paris to intimidate her. ​​ A quick stop at​​ the deli for​​ a supply of snacks and a light lunch​​ then​​ she​​ would fulfill a lifetime appointment with​​ the Louvre. ​​ 


The delicatessen was​​ busy​​ when she arrived, but the​​ unusual​​ French​​ sounds and​​ foods​​ added to​​ the​​ adventure. ​​ Peg​​ wandered​​ the aisles trying to blend in, but felt​​ noticeably​​ American. ​​ Towards the​​ rear​​ shelves, she​​ chose​​ the final​​ item​​ to stock her backpack for the long​​ anticipated​​ afternoon. ​​ As she​​ turned toward the​​ counter,​​ there was​​ a commotion at the front door. ​​ Two​​ people​​ dressed in black​​ stormed in and blocked the​​ entrance. ​​ Customers scattered​​ with​​ a​​ universal scream​​ that​​ took on a life of its own. ​​ She saw​​ a mother​​ snatch​​ her baby from a stroller and​​ run through a​​ rear door​​ with a clerk. ​​ After a​​ brief moment,​​ Peggy​​ followed. ​​ 


As she​​ started down the​​ stairs,​​ she saw​​ the​​ clerk lead​​ people into the freezer,​​ and shut the compartment. ​​ By time Peggy caught​​ up,​​ it was​​ already​​ locked down. ​​ Searching for any place to hide she​​ found​​ a narrow pocket​​ beneath the stairs. ​​ She​​ moved a box to cover the opening, but she could still​​ watch​​ between​​ the steps. ​​ Suddenly​​ she realized if they looked back, they would see her.​​ ​​ With a rudimentary​​ command of​​ French,​​ she heard herself mutter​​ merde.​​  ​​​​ 


She listened intently to the commotion and gunfire from upstairs. ​​ Creeping out of her hiding place, she broke the overhead light with​​ a​​ gentle​​ stroke of​​ the hammer.​​ Everything went​​ black with the tinkling of the glass followed by a hush. ​​ Did they hear the breaking bulb? ​​ Had​​ she revealed her location? ​​ In the​​ total darkness of death, she inched back to her​​ refuge and made​​ no​​ other​​ sound. ​​ 


Peg knew that if they came, she would not go​​ easily. ​​ Not only worried about her personal survival,​​ she​​ acknowledges​​ she was the last obstacle between the terrorists and the people shivering in the freezer. ​​ Surprised how the simple tool gave her the determination​​ and confidence​​ that​​ she​​ could​​ fight and possibly survive.​​ ​​ There was movement​​ above,​​ and the​​ muffled footsteps​​ seemed to be coming closer. ​​ Acutely​​ aware that​​ stillness and a hammer stood between her​​ and Paris,​​ she vows​​ that​​ they​​ would​​ be damned​​ to eternal hell​​ if they​​ ruin her​​ vacation. ​​​​ 

About The Author

Toni Kief, a child of the 60s, Midwestern by birth, Northwestern by choice, Toni challenges the boundaries for women of a certain age. After a long career as an insurance adjuster, she fell into writing through a challenge from a friend. She has released her first book, Old Baggage, with two others in the grinder. Toni never dated Mick Jagger, but marched for civil rights, shared bread with icons of politics and art. She is spending her retirement, gathering stories prime for embellishment. Writing has taught her inspiration without perspiration is just a good idea.