01 Feb The 24 Hour Game 01:00-02:00
The phone rang.
“Listen here you mother fucker, if you hurt one hair on my family’s-“
But that was as far as I got.
A loud screech made me pull the phone away from my ear followed by a series of numbers called out by an automated machine voice.
It was all I could do to think clearly and jot the numbers down on a piece of paper as they were repeated one last time.
I tried to get the phone to work, to call the number back; but got nothing.
Instead a text message from a private server popped up with the second Roman numeral and a single word.
I looked at the numbers that had been given to me and realized immediately what they had to be.
Moving everything over to the kitchen counter, I tried to pull up the exact longitude and latitude on Google Earth but found that it only led to some kind of chemical dump site a little over ten miles outside of the city limits.
There was nothing else out there and as far as I knew they didn’t even let civilians go close to the place because of the radioactivity in the area.
I double checked to make sure that the coordinates were correct and then grabbed a coat and ran out toward my car.
If I sped I knew I could get there before the hour was up.
The challenge however became extraordinarily harder when I tried to crank up my Chevy and found that the engine wouldn’t start.
“Son of a bitch!” I muttered as I got out, popped the hood and went to see what the problem was.
I used the flash light on the burner phone to get a better look at my engine and saw immediately what had happened.
Someone had come out and cut the wires to my car battery.
Immediately I looked around the desolate street trying to determine if someone was watching me.
Maybe it had been the same person that dropped off the package?
I didn’t have time to think about that though, since the clock was ticking.
Instead I pulled up a video on YouTube about how to hot wire a car. It seemed the smartest thing to do at the time.
Then as I was hunched over trying to get the car to start I heard the soft sound of police sirens near by and looked up to see that two patrol cars were pulling up to my address.
Two well dressed police officers stepped out into the dim light offered by my garage and the taller one remarked, “Excuse me sir, but do you live here?”
“Yes that’s right, Daniel Stratton. I was just out trying to fix up my uh… well my car has a bit of a wiring problem,” I said. My mind was racing. I didn’t disobey the rules, I didn’t call the police. So who did?
“We’ve had a few calls coming out of this area that there was a domestic disturbance,” the second officer added and then glanced toward my door.
“Is your wife at home?”
I felt my heart start to beat faster and thought about the blood smeared against my son’s wall.
“No. No uh.. her and my boy are spending a few nights at my sister’s house. It’s her birthday this weekend,” I lied, trying to think quickly on my feet.
I had only thirty-eight minutes left to make it thirteen miles, and if I could make these cops leave I knew I could get there in half the time.
“Mind if we step inside and look around your property?” Officer One asked.
I swallowed hard, my brain firing all six cylinders to think of another convincing lie.
“It’s not my place, I mean not really. I just rent it,” I told them and added, “Management is a bit of a stickler when it comes to rules, so I don’t think they would want you poking about without a warrant.”
The second officer spoke into the radio that was strapped to his shoulder to get some kind of confirmation from the station while I stood there nervously trying not to sweat.
“Are you planning to go somewhere this evening Mister Stratton?” Officer A asked.
“Just doing a little fiddling. It’s a hobby of mine. Calms my nerves after a long day of work.”
The second man returned and conferred with the first before finally telling me, “All right, sorry about this but it seems that there was another report made just ten minutes ago and it was by your wife. You’ll need to let us in sir.”
“I told you, my wife isn’t here,” I said, panic gripping me as I tried to understand what was going on.
“Sir, if you are refusing to cooperate I can hold you for 48 hours just for obstructing a police investigation,” Officer B growled.
I sighed and reached into my pocket, pretending to pull out my key. Then I did the stupidest thing in my entire life and sucker punched the cop, pushing him straight back against the window of my car.
In that split second, the first officer reached for his taser and was about to load it when we both heard the revving of an engine.
We both turned our heads toward the street and I saw a yellow Mazda screeching down the road.
Officer A raised his weapon to keep me from trying to attack him and was about to speak into the radio when the Mazda hopped the curve going at least 30 miles an hour and in 3 short seconds hit the officer and rolled right over top of him.
I fell back on the wet grass and shouted a few obscenities as I heard his bones break and the sports car slid to a halt right in front of me.
The door to the passenger side opened up and a young looking redhead looked toward me with the same panic that I’d had a few moments ago.
“Is this 330 Hazelnut Drive?” she shouted to me. I could only nod dumbly as she gestured for me to get into the car.
“What? I’m not going with you!!” I muttered and then she showed me the same sort of burner cell that I was holding.
“I think they want us to team up,” she said.
I held my breath for a moment as I looked toward the officers and then she said, “Either that or you can figure out how to finish this challenge on your own…?”
I glared at her and climbed into the passenger side of the Mazda before we drove off.
I’ve got a thousand questions for this young girl, but right now all that matters is making it to the dump.
I get the feeling from there we’ll probably need to work together too.