In the Eyes of the Law by Richard B. Knight

“Oh, shit. Oh, fuck.”

“Calm down. People are looking. Face me.”

“… I just.”

“I said face me, dammit. They’re filming.”

“I didn’t mean to.”

“You were scared.”

“It just went off.”

“Shut up. We have to get your story straight now. Let me look at your face.”

“We should cover the body.”

“Leave it. He ain’t going nowhere.”

“I thought he was coming at me.”

“I know. I was there. Hey, hey, hey. Don’t look at them. Look at me.”

“I wanted it to be a warning shot.”

“What’s done is done.”

“Oh, fuck. Oh, shit.”

“We’ll work something out. The important thing is to remain calm. They’re watching us.”

“Oh, God.”

“Stop acting like a fucking rookie. They’re getting this all on tape. Fucking animals. Acting like we’re the enemy.”

“…”

“Listen to me. You thought he was coming at you, so you defended yourself, right?”

“…”

“Right? Answer, goddammit.”

“…”

“Alright. Good. Just nod. That’s fine.”

“…”

“The important thing is to stick to your story. I’m sure he has a record of some sort. They all do. We’ll find it and use it. The rest of the community will have your back.”

“… I didn’t mean to do it.”

“Shut the fuck up and listen, will you? We have your back. He came at you and you shot him. Say yes.”

“…”

“Say yes, motherfucker.”

“… Yes.”

“Good. That’s all you have to say. We’ll get you through this.”

“… Fuck!”

“I’m going to call it in now. Stick to your story and don’t say a goddamn word. I’m warning you.”

“…”

“We’ll get you through this.”

“…”

“I have a 10-47 on MLK Boulevard.”

*****

Richard B. Knight teaches by day and writes by night. His two novels, The Darkness of the Womb and A Boy and His Corpse, can be found on his Amazon page.

Bending and Broken by Namarita Kathait

The funny thing about Wells Street is its alignment. It starts straight, like most streets, but the moment it meets its so-called sister Margaret, it changes focus.

Wells was born to go straight.

Look at Great Titchfield and Little Titchfield, those glorious twins—different in length, but so perfectly paved.

What went wrong with Wells? What caused it to lose sight of its path?

The bending of Wells Street would have been quite the story, quite the scandal, hundreds of years ago. The Street family would have been distraught! All its other daughters prescribe to the same orientation. But not Wells.

Perhaps she felt lost growing up. Perhaps she was seeking individuality. That she extended a part of herself, gave birth to a Mews of herself, speaks volumes as to her toil. Taking care of both herself and her Wells Mews would surely have been a difficult task, a lonesome task.

But perhaps love was brewing in Fitzrovia. Wells deviates from her prescribed path until she collides with Eastcastle Street. In that collision, it would seem, she realised her destiny. For it is not until she meets Eastcastle that Wells finally accepts one path in harmony, that she no longer deviates. And from Eastcastle, she rushes headlong toward even greater success: the famous Oxford Street, one of the big name Streets, with whom she will forever be associated.

The aim here was to unravel the mystery of Wells Street, the mystery of her bending.

But perhaps we will never know the full story.

When in London by Christina Alagaratnam

I don’t know where I’m going!

Wells Street bends left, it bends right—oh, wait. It’s actually a straight walk down.

Why did no one tell me that before? I totter toward the traffic lights, my fingers clutching my phone religiously. My ankle twists for the third time in five minutes. I knew I shouldn’t have worn these heels. I only wanted to look nice for the interview, but I know the rules. When in London, wear flats, because you never know when you might need to make a run for it.

Like now.

I glance at my watch and almost have a mini-heart attack. It’s just gone half two. The interview starts in fifteen minutes, and I still need time to find the place, congratulate myself, probably catch my breath, fix my walk, and maybe even go to the loo. If I have time.

There’s an unsettling chill prickling the air now. I know that feeling. Either there’s a dementor lurking around, or it’s going to absolutely piss down with rain. Balancing my phone and portfolio file in one hand, I root around in my oversized bag with the other and heave a sigh of relief as my fingers brush past the bristles of an umbrella.

My eye catches the familiar Sainsbury’s sign. I briefly wonder if I have any time to nip inside and buy a pasty before returning to reality.

A Stranger With No Agenda by Lada Redley

Wells Street is so well-hidden within the labyrinth of small streets in Central London. And like a red candy in a Skittles pack, it has its own flavor: there are little shops and cafes, there are houses and firms, and there is even a university. But other than that—the flavor—the street doesn’t have much to offer. If a stranger with no agenda were to walk past, he or she probably wouldn’t notice a single detail about the street, let alone its name.

That is exactly what happened the first time John Adwin found himself on Wells Street. His eyes were glued to the screen of his smartphone, where Google Maps shone brightly like a guiding light. John didn’t pay much attention to his surroundings, he was just following the impersonal orders of the app. What made him look up, he would never understand. But he did, and there she was—the beauty in a plain white apron. Her hair was up in a messy bun, her lips were stretched in a friendly smile. She was cleaning a table outside of a small cafe, and damn did John want to stop and help her.

“Hi.” His voice sounded hoarse and scary, but the girl’s smile didn’t fade as she warmly returned his greeting.

John hurried on, swearing under his breath, wishing he didn’t have to go to that bloody business meeting, wishing he could’ve stayed in that café where the girl was working. Sure, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about her, and yet John couldn’t stop thinking about her all the way to Oxford Street. It was not until he’d arrived at his meeting that he realised he had no idea where the café was. She might as well be thousands of miles away. John would not be able to find her in that web of London streets. Once again, he swore under his breath.

Naturally, during the course of the meeting, John forgot all about the girl and her friendly smile. It wasn’t until the following month that Wells Street mysteriously turned up in front of him again. John didn’t recognise it at first—it was just another street he passed on the way to another meeting. But then he saw her, the girl—smoking a little to the left of the café. She wore a grey apron this time, her hair hung in a ponytail, her lips were a thin line.

“Hi,” he smiled at her, and she offered a tired smile in return.

John’s eyes rushed to the wall of the nearest building. ‘WELLS ST,’ said the black lettering on a white metal sign.

Now he knew exactly where to find her.

The Funny Thing about Wells Street… by Sarah Gedye.

The funny thing about Wells Street is that there aren’t any wells.

Maybe there were when it was named, when wells were at rather more of a premium than they are now. Back then, the well would have been the focal point of a community, the water cooler of the day. It would have been the spot where people stopped and chatted about what was on T.V. last night, except of course the entertainment options were severely limited in the days when wells were a chitchat hotspot. Rather than ‘Did you hear what Joey Essex said on T.V. last night?’ or ‘Which film won Best Picture at the Oscars?’, the chat would more likely be based around the humdrum necessities of struggling to stay alive for another day.

‘Is there any water in the well?’ was a big talking point. Probably the biggest. In fact, had there been a survey industry back in the days when wells were the big cheese in the water supply world. ‘Is there any water in the well?’ would have come a comfortable first on the Family Fortunes quiz-o-meter of answers. Luckily for all, there was no Family Fortunes in those days, and precious little family fortune, to be honest. Lots of misfortune, to be sure. Misfortune by the bucket-load, but Family Misfortunes would have been a very different show. In fact, it would have run alongside the well chitchat for its subject matter.

‘We asked a hundred people if they had the Black Death, how many had the strength to answer?’

‘We asked a hundred witches if they could float, how many were scrupulously honest in reply?’

How could Vernon Kaye make a cheeky joke about that?

Okay, it’s not funny ‘haha’ that Wells Street has no wells—more funny peculiar—but what would you rather have? Dysentery, a low mortality rate, and spinsters being burned at the stake for simply owning a black cat? Or indoor plumbing and Vernon Kaye?

It’s a question for the ages.