Sunday, February 18, 2007

5 Minute Kill

My digital stopwatch ticked down, nearing the ever closing mark. I had less than five minutes to stop the inevitable, or the world would send it self on a chain reaction of destruction.
How do I know this, again?
I remember. He contacted me two weeks ago.
A man told me this would happen, a man who's face I've never seen; a man who I've never met; I man who I don't even know, and yet, I believe every word he says.

I stormed up the staircase into the third floor of the musty apartment building. The corridor was exactly like the previous one, and I had no idea which door the target was in.
I stormed toward the end of the hallway and stopped myself. I tried to catch my breath and frantically make sense of what I knew, and then make a decision.
Suddenly the pay phone behind me rang. I turned around and I ran up to it before it had a chance to stop ringing.

I picked up the receiver.
"Hello?" I was out of breath.
"What happened? Your cell phone is off." It was him, as usual.
"The battery died." I tried to catch my breath.
"I told you to bring a replacement."
"I forgot."
I looked around me at the empty hallway and then down at my watch. The digital counter was ticking down from four minutes.
"What floor is the sniper on?" I asked him.
"He's on the fifth floor in apartment 5F. You know, this is cutting it close."
I looked around and checked my pistol for ammo. The stopwatch was ticking down toward three minutes.
"Roger that, I'm going in," I told him.
"Wait--Remember what I told you."
"...Yeah." I hung up the phone and headed up the next flight of stairs.
Outside, I could hear the crowd cheering as the limousines drove up the street. I entered the fourth floor hallway and made a dash for the next floor. The hallway was dark and there were no windows. I could see the dust floating in the air and the paper peeling of the walls. Every time I ran I kicked up more dust from the old carpet.
Suddenly a middle-aged woman walked out of her apartment and I brushed past her. I reached the next staircase at the end of the hall and pulled myself up onto the fifth floor.


I took a moment to catch my breath. Then I pulled out my pistol from its holster and turned off the safety mechanism. I checked each side of the hallway for the apartment numbers.
5B... 5C...
The noise of the crowd could be heard even louder from up here.
The door was right in front of me and I turned the knob. Unsurprisingly, it was locked. I pulled out my ID card and sliced it into the side of the door, hoping to break the lock open.
It wasn't working. I tried again, and again and I kept shoving it, but it still didn't open.
BEEP BEEP. My watch hit the one minute point. I had 60 seconds left. The seconds ticked away and I had to regain my cool.
The ID card wasn't working. I tried it again and shoved my whole body into the door. I made a slight bang and the door jarred open.

The room was empty. It was run-down, just like the whole building. The air was dusty and the walls were old and rotting away.
40 seconds.
I could feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins.
I slowly walked forward, looking left and right. He had to be in the bedroom; he had to be. I approached it from the left. I carefully pushed the door open, refraining from any unnecessary sounds.
The bedroom warily revealed itself as I pushed the door foward. Every second that passed I could hear the crowd outside and my watch ticking down.
There he was: a middle-aged man wearing a leather jacket, staring out the window. He had the sniper locked in his hands and he was preparing for the kill. His back was to me and he was completely unaware of my presence. I had to act now.
20 seconds.
I had my gun drawn and ready to fire. I approached him from behind, he still being oblivious to my presence.
"Drop the weapon." I said it as calmly as I could.
The shooter, still with his back to me, didn't move or make a noise.
"Drop the weapon!" I tried to sound as if I meant it.
13 seconds.
"DROP THE WEAPON!" I took two steps forward.
The attacker suddenly turned around and aimed his gun at me.
I fired my gun and the bullet flew out. The room shattered in echoes from the loud noise. The bullet connected to his forehead and the blood splattered against my face and my clothes.

I couldn't breathe. I needed to get used to killing other people.

I tried to rub the blood off my face and jacket. Face down on the floor, the sniper lay dead in front of me.

Beep, beep, beep.
I took a sigh of relief and tried to breathe normally again. It was over-I did it.
I looked out the window at the bright, cloudy day and I could see the UN ambassador exiting his car down on the street. He was greeted by his security guards and the other ambassadors. My eyes took a moment to adjust to the glaring light. It was a long way down. No one would ever know.

Suddenly the phone rang from the entry room. I walked back into the main room and spotted the green phone on a small table. I picked it up.
"Hello?" I answered.
"You hesitated." He always knew where to find me.
"I killed him."
"With five seconds to spare."
"The ambassador's alive. That's all that counts."
"That's right. Maybe I can trust you after all."
"So, who are you? Really?" I asked.
"Another time, another place. But good job on the kill. I'm going to have to wait and see if the history records update."
I stood there in the apartment and took a seat on the chair next to the phone.
He spoke up again. "We did it. The ambassador will finish the peace talks in the next week. You successfully averted the third world war."
I looked across into the bedroom and could see the sniper's body laying on the floor. The window allowed a slight breeze to enter the room. By killing one man, I saved another, who would save millions more.
"You know how hard that is to believe, right?" I said.
"For you, yes. But it doesn't matter now. The world is saved. Good job Mr. Kent."
I looked out across the room and took a deep breath. I didn't feel like a hero.
"So now what do I do now?" I asked.
"You do nothing. Go back to work. You will be a forgotten hero in the history of mankind, but I'm sure you can live with that."
I took a deep breath. "Will I ever talk to you again?"
There was silence. I could hear him thinking.
"Perhaps, if ever the time comes," he said.
"Are you sure you can find a phone?" I asked.




At 3/11/2007 10:12 PM, Blogger ifedajay said...

Great story...I only wish I knew some more if the guy had some military background or if they guy on the phone was really good or bad.

But other than's great.

At 3/21/2007 11:15 PM, Blogger TheJBurger said...

O rly...?


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