Friday, April 24, 2015

                                                       A SHOT IN THE DARK

                                                                                  by Sandra Moulin

     Exhausted and disheveled, she dragged her bags into the lobby of the Motel 6. It was past midnight. Although she was worried about bugs and lowlifes, she kept her eyes down and limited her registration to few words. No screw-ups every second counts one mishap and the whole plan fails. All she could think of was unloading her heavy duffle bag and bulging backpack and collapsing on the bed. She didnt even plan to undress; she could clean up in the morning. Every step timed to the second. She prayed for a night of uninterrupted sleep, but she knew that was wishful thinking, and she would be forced to deal with whatever glitch might arise.

At 5 a.m., her cell rang. On the third ring, she awoke from a deep sleep and grabbed her phone.
Its me. Are you coherent?
We are all set. Do you have your equipment?
Yes, its all here. Ive got the backpack and the knife.
Now, dont forget. We need to stick to the schedule we discussed. A few minutes off can destroy the plan, and then were dead.
I got it. Will you be there when I arrive? It should take me about four hours barring construction or emergencies.
I told you Id be there, and Ill be there. Dont get squirrly on me. This is a once in a lifetime. We cant blow it. Well have him right where we want him. He cant escape.
I told you, Ive got it.
I will not contact. Its on you now.

     She crawled back into bed. Nervous fits and starts left her dragging her weary body off the bed an hour later. The hot shower made her feel almost normal. While the water trickled down her back, she reviewed the plan in her mind.

      If they only knew, she thought. Yeah, if they only knew. Lord, maybe they already knew--if they did, it would be all over. . .

     She couldnt allow herself to consider the possibility.

   She pulled up her long dark hair and stuck it under the black baseball cap. While she tugged on her black sneakers, she looked at herself in the full-length mirror. Black pants, black tee-shirt--perfect. To be easily mistaken for a guy was part of the plan. No one would suspect that a woman her age would carry out this mission. She knew that camouflage was crucial to survival. Having read numerous passages in mystery novels about remaining invisible before the strike, she knew this was a no-fail plan. If she were spotted, everything would fail, and her reputation would be ruined. She had to plan every second precisely and be prepared for last-minute glitches.

     It was time. She was ready to begin her mission. Her contact had insisted on no communication until she was at the site. They had timed every step to the second.

     She checked her watch and sped down the highway.

     Right on schedule. Just stay calm, she muttered to herself.

     She had driven the distance several times in the past to determine exactly how long it would take to get there, considering traffic or construction. Exactly three hours and 49 minutes later, she arrived. Locating a remote parking spot, she locked the car, and headed toward the site. After the long drive, it was pure adrenaline that kept her moving. Checking the battery on her cell, she made sure she had all the necessary tools in her pockets and in the large backpack. Go.

      A silver slice of moon lit the rocky wooded trail that would lead her to her destination. The cabin was about six minutes away. She already heard voices. There should be about fifty people there by now--all of them clueless that she was closing in on them.

     Two minutes. She was now outside the cabin. Her heart raced, and she fought to control her trembling hands. She knew the door would be open for late-arriving guests, so she cautiously approached. Then she bolted through the door, screaming,

HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY, GRANDPA! YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER IS HERE! Wheres the cake, I brought the knife!