Flash Fiction: Instincts

“Trust your instincts,” he’d told me. “It’s the most powerful thing in your arsenal.”

I had, and now I was standing on a rooftop, pointing a gun at my crazy informant who wanted to jump. My instincts could go blow themselves.

My instincts said he wouldn’t run. Then my instincts told me he’d go down the stairs, not up. If I hadn’t paused to listen to his echoing footsteps, I wouldn’t have changed direction. I’d only just made it up to the roof when I caught him nearing the edge and shouted ‘Freeze!’.

But he hadn’t jumped yet.

“Just calm down, aight? Let’s talk about this-”

No!  I’m done hearing you talk! Now you listen!” He stepped backwards, heels now against the ledge. “I can’t…” He gasped, trying to control his wavering voice. “I can’t do this anymore…”

“Look, mate, that’s fine. Everyone’s gotta know when to quit. We’ll get you to a safehouse-”

“They’ll find me. They will! They…” One foot went up on the ledge, then another.

“You don’t want to die, mate. I know you don’t.”

“’S’better… better doin’ it this way.” He started to turn towards the drop, and that’s when I shot him in the leg.

The bullet ripped through his calf. He screamed, buckled, swayed…

And fell back onto the rooftop.

I tucked my gun away as I called for an ambulance. He was still awake as I took my jacket off and pressed it against his wound.

“Arrgh!” He screamed again. “You shot me!”

“You fell back on the rooftop.”


“You know the one instinct everyone trusts? Self-preservation. It didn’t matter you were trying to jump off a building – your instincts kicked in, and you fell back to the safe side of the edge.” I grinned at him. “Trust your instincts.”


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