Timing is everything
|Lena had broken her leg, she could tell. And the C-4 was timed to detonate in 90 seconds. This had never happened before. After all, she was trained. “This has never happened before,” she said to Leif, through clenched teeth.
Leif stared at her. “How could you fall down the stairs?” he shouted. “There are only five of them!”
“I don’t know,” Lena replied with an even stare. “It’s dark.” Leif looked at the infra-red goggles still perched on Lena’s forehead, under a band of gleaming sweat. Lena said, “Look, we’ve got about a minute for you to re-set the timer, so stop talking and do it!” She glanced up at the yellow packet of explosives Leif had attached to the sub-basement girder. She knew it was exactly 65 inches from the floor, just like they had rehearsed. Leif was very careful about his work, very precise. Lena always thought it was why they were still alive.
Leif dug into the equipment pouch strapped to his body. He came up empty. “I can’t find the timer!” he said, looking desperately into Lena’s eyes.
“What?” she screamed. “Then pick me up and get us out of here!”
“No time,” Leif said. “The C-4 is a monster! We can’t get away fast enough!” He glanced frantically around the floor for the timer. “It was here a minute ago!”
“Leif, look at me,” said Lena quietly. Leif looked. “How long have we been a team?”
“What?” Leif cried.
“How long?” said Lena.
Leif stared at her for a long moment. “I don’t know, Babe,” he said softly. “Ten years. More.”
Lena reached out and clasped his hand. “Well, find the timer,” she said. “Or we’ll be together forever.”
Thirteen seconds later, she was right.
(Word count: 291)