Fear, focus, and the future. Here, C.M. Humphries writes about whatever.
Since some of you emailed me about this, here it is: Part IV of "Lucky Shot," one of the many stories rescued from the old files.
If you haven't read the first 3 parts, I suggest you do so before reading Part IV. Then again, you can do whatever you'd like. Hell if I care.
“Locked already?” Chance asked himself. He had no idea why the place was closed. Then, Chance looked down at the screen on his cell phone—seven o’ clock it read. He hadn’t realized how much time had passed it the parking lot, as he waited for the phone call. The front doors were only locked to public, he remembered. Whoever was inside working on the last of the pages was able to get out, but that was all—just a peculiar policy of the Long Brooke Sync.
Working at the Sync for so long, Chance only assumed he had some extraordinary knowledge about the building, yet as he searched the back of his mind, digging deep into his memory, he could find nothing of the sort.
How am I going to do this? Chance wondered, looking intently at the doors in front of him. Forthright, he felt stupid. Had he honestly not paid enough attention to his workplace to know it inside and out? As a journalist (for whatever short period that was) Chance seemed to find detail even in a single grain of rice. That’s partially--or mostly-- why he was to be removed from the writing staff; all of his new stories became too much like well-crafted short fiction narratives. He was usually unable to meet deadlines and word limits due to his abnormal involvement in each story. Like most fiction writers, Chance let his stories become a child. The offspring of his imagination.
Shaking his head, virtually conceding to his failure, Chance found a specific spot of his soul that became more and more flustered as more difficulties arose. His lack of knowledge and resources caused him to almost cry, because at stake was his wife and son. How could anyone do this to another human being?
Timely, Chance’s phone vibrated and sang its sorrowing song inside his pocket.
“Hello?!” Chance answered the phone without any hesitation.
“So, you’re still at the news room?” the caller said more as statement than a question.
“Yes, I can’t get in!”
“Figured you’d have a problem with that. Know that I am not completely inconsiderate. If you can’t get in, then I can’t get what I want and I’ll have to do in with your family.”
“Nothing much has been done to them. You still have a little over three and a half hours, so I haven’t acted. Let me explain what’s going to happen: Every hour on the hour that you aren’t here, I will cut either your wife or son. The first cut will be fairly deep and wide, but just know, each hour, I dig into the same spot.”
“You son of—”
“Don’t be so hasty, Chance,” the caller warned. “I’m not done talking. If you are late, every five minutes I will continue to cut until I reach a vital organ. Then I will switch persons. Now, there’s a problem: If you are late or never make it, I will dismember your family either before or after death. So don’t be late.”
“How is that not being inconsiderate?” Chance asked, struggling to keep his cool.
“I never said that was considerate. See, you’re having trouble getting in. I left a brick in your car.” the caller asked.
“Yeah…” Chance had a bad feeling about what was to come next. He launched that brick across the street earlier. He wondered if he was going to regret it.
“Well, that brick was to serve more than the purpose of destroying your windshield. It’s your key to the door. Just slam it into the glass. No alarm will go off. No camera will see you. I know, trust me. Go in, get the photo, and find me. Three hours, twenty-one minutes and counting.”
“How do I know where to find you? How do I know you’re not bluffing?”
“This is how,” the caller said, and then, Chance heard the sound of his wife screaming in the background somewhere. Afterwards, the phone call was terminated.
“WHO ARE YOU?!” Chance roared into the phone.
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.