Time’s Up

As a lawyer in the mid-sized town of Troy , “exciting” wasn’t quite word Robert would have used to describe his job. But then again neither was “boring”. The case he was working on was definitely unusual. It wasn’t everyday that he testified against a powerful drug lord. But sitting alone at work at 11 in the night, Robert would have quite preferred a less-demanding case. The silence surrounding him was only occasionally broken by the sound of him clicking his mouse, while he read a document. A short “ping” tore the veil of silence. It was an email. At a late time such as that Robert was surprised to receive an email. Nevertheless he opened it. There were only two lines of text.
“Is it strange to know you have only 60 minutes to live?”
– Felix Reyes Toleno
That was the name of the drug lord he was prosecuting. A chill went down his spine. Perhaps he had made a mistake in accepting this case. But he continued working, and tried his best to ignore what he had read. Surely he would not be deterred by a thug trying to scare him. Some time passed before he received another email. This one was more chilling than the first.
“Are you afraid to be alone at work? It will end in 40 mins.”
Robert was now scared. Was he being watched? He picked up the phone to alert the police but the line was dead. He made up his mind. He picked up his bag and made his way to the only entrance to his work space but it was locked from the outside. He tugged at it but to no avail. Panic slowly began to set in, followed by disbelief. He sat back down and tried to breathe slowly. Suddenly he heard a loud bang and the room went dark. All the lights were out as was his desktop computer. A first cold drop of sweat made its way down his neck that was covered with goose bumps. He was alone in the dreadful combination of darkness and silence. His phone rang and he jumped; it was an SMS.
“Alone in the dark. 20 mins”
Robert got off his chair and crawled under his desk. He had to hide from whoever was coming to kill him. The thought of an armed assailant out to end his life was something the average middle-class man saw only in movies.
His eyes were beginning to acquaint themselves to the darkness. But that terrified him even more, for every few moments he would imagine a silhouette and hold his breath in fear. He removed his mobile phone from his pocket. He willed his shaking fingers to dial the police. But this line was dead too.
His eyes were fixated on the door, the only entrance for an assassin. In his hands he tightly gripped a box-cutter. It was the only weapon he could find. He was sweating from every pore in his body but was shivering at the same time. He wasn’t ready to die but the suspense only made it worse.
In the back of his mind he heard the creaking of his office door. “Hallucinations” he thought to himself. But he saw with his own eyes a large silhouette emerging. The assailant had in his hands a shimmering object. This coupled with his attacker’s stance communicated to Robert that he had brought a box-cutter to a gun-fight.
The silhouette made its way slowly towards Robert. Instead of rising up to fight Robert pushed himself backwards as if to hide. The figure stopped in front of his desk and Robert was staring into the barrel of a Glock-17 semi-automatic pistol. A single loud “BANG” and a flash of light ended his misery. It was over.
The TV went silent and Johnny was all wired up. “What a movie” he shouted to his friend “what a movie!”
Nischal Nadhamuni
Grade 10 IGCSE