A New Life – a short story by CJ Ryall
Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Australia: 2007
Chris Jeffers was out celebrating on the night of his death. He had won an ‘all-expenses-paid’ overseas trip for two around Europe, and took his wife Madison out dancing. At around 3 A.M. they decided that they had imbibed enough alcohol for the night, could not dance anymore, and that it was time to hail a taxi and head home.
They left the smoky atmosphere of the Gold Coast nightclub and inhaled the fresh night air as they stumbled outside. A couple of young punks almost bumped into them, but Chris was wary enough to steer Madison and himself out of their way. He’d read too many articles in the news lately about early morning attacks by youths, lethal ‘king-hit’ punches and alcohol-fueled violence; he wanted to avoid any trouble if he could.
“Got a light, mate?” somebody behind him asked, and he spun around. He couldn’t see the young man well, due to the poor lighting on that part of the street, but he did detect that there were two more burly looking men behind him. He shook his head.
“Sorry mate, I don’t smoke.” He nudged Madison along and cursed the lack of streetlights. Up ahead it was much brighter and he could see a couple of taxis parked.
“Well how about some money to buy a lighter then?” came the same voice.
“Sorry buddy, I don’t have any money left on me. Goodnight.”
“Like hell you don’t!” the man grumbled. The blow from behind was sudden and hard, and pain exploded in the back of his skull with the impact of the punch. As he fell on to the concrete sidewalk, he saw Madison’s face twist into an expression of horror.