Sorry for the wait, but here's Part V of "Lucky Shot," a story from the lost archives.
He wanted to throw the phone and run to his family, however, that was not the logical thing to do. He didn’t know where this guy had taken his family; he knew nothing about the guy except for that he wanted the photograph, and if he didn’t have the photo, his family would die. Already, in twenty minutes his wife or son would be pierced by the caller. More correctly, his wife had already been hurt.
“Damn you…” Chance said under his breath.
No time to waste, he thought.
Running back to the parking lot, Chance searched for the brick he disposed of earlier. He stood alongside his car and looked out as if he could determine the exact angle he hurled the brick into the air at. Straight from that spot, he ran across the road and into a wooded spot. The brick seemed to have vanished, for Chance could not find it, though he searched high and low for it.
Stumbling, Chance looked back at where he had just walked. Thank goodness he was lucky enough to trip because he had just found his key to the front door of the Long Brooke Sync.
Back towards the aluminum-sided news building, in which he vigorously used to work as a reporter and now slacked his way to perfection as photographer (though he did enjoy his current state), Chance charged with the brick in hand. The brick was surely causing small punctures in his palm; it felt rough like a brick should, but it had a few sharp spots and corners. Despite all this, there was no way that he was going drop the brick or let it disappear from his sight.
As he stood before the front doors of the Sync, Chance suddenly felt awkward and as if what he was about to do was wrong. Alternatively, what could happen to his family if he failed became a strong enough reason to shatter the glass of the front door enough so that he could reach his hand in and unlock the door.
There was only one thing wrong about breaking the door’s smudged pane. The caller was erroneous. There was an alarm. A sequence of sirens, that chirped like crickets hyped on crack, nearly deafened Chance.
“Do you hear that?” Steve, a page editor, asked his assistant Bryant.
“You know how those alarms are. They always go off.”
“Maybe, but I think we should take a look.”
“Go for it,” Bryant said, “but I’m stayin’ put.”
“C’mon and get off your ass.”
Bryant shook his head and got out of his desk chair. Both men headed into the hallway.
Most of the lights in the building were not off, merely dimmed down to signify the building was closed for the day. The Sync offices and press seemed to be the only place in Long Brooke that had doors that used key locks rather than automatic electronic key guard locks. Never had this bothered Chance until now and for an understandable reason. Really, he did not care to break into the place, but it was what had to be done in order to secure the future and well-being of his family.
In the hallway, Chance searched for an elevator that went to the bottom floor of the building, where the press and design rooms resided. Unlike most surrounding buildings, the Sync's second floor was the one accessible via front entrance. You had to take the elevator or stairs to get to the press.
Just as he found his way through the dark and into the elevator, Chance reconsidered his course of action. It seemed wiser to go upstairs to Brian’s office and retrieve the original photos and delete the computer files. It was doubtful that the picture had already been sent to print.
His finger quickly approached the outside control panel of the elevator just after the UP button started to glow. Someone was coming up from the first floor. Chance couldn’t expose himself to anyone. The less anyone knew the better. That way he couldn’t be connected with the broken window (which the alarms were still sounding because of the break-in) or the stolen photographs. If all things went to plan, he could walk out with family and no one would ever have to know.
Quickly, before the elevator reached the level he was on, Chance moved in a swift sprint to the darker part of the main floor and hid behind the entrance desk.
Two men emerged from the elevator as it dinged and the doors open. Chance couldn’t get a good look at their faces, but he was almost positive that it was Steve and Bryant, the editor and assistant editor in that order.
“Look,” Bryant said to Steve, “I told you it was probably just the door goin’ nuts.”
“Maybe you’re right,” Steve replied, “but I just want to play it safe.”
While the two men were busy with the alarm, Chance ran hard into the elevator and pushed the fifth floor button more times than he could have ever needed to.
“Who the hell was that?” Bryant asked Steve, barely catching Chance in the corner of his eye.
“I told you someone was in here,” Steve said.
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.