Short Story By Vishakha Devi

Her true nightmare…

The woman strutted to the tall mirror mounted on the cracked, termite-eaten, wooden cupboard. She stared at the lean figure which glanced right back into her soul. The ocean-blue eyes shining like a newly polished crystalline sapphire, the satisfyingly symmetrical face with the most perfectly placed freckles, dressed in a crisp uniform with absolutely no wrinkles, the shiny brown leather shoes accentuated her look.
The figure approached the frosted window and opened it only to be deafened by the wailing of the ambulance which drove toward the huge mall filled with gaudy lights. She shut the window briskly and turned to the telephone which rang in a very monotonous manner.
She came to know of the bomb threat near the mall whose timer read fifty minutes. It was then she was startled by the sudden booming voice in her head which said, “Your time starts now! Fifty minutes to go”.
She hurriedly picked up the dark vest with the golden label, printed in bold letters was the name “MAYA” followed by “BOMB SQUAD LEADER”. Maya let out a loud gasp as the voice in her head once again cried “Forty minutes to go!”
She got into her large dark van and accelerated at an alarming speed of one-fifty miles per hour as she sped out of the motel driveway. She quickly pulled up at the mall and speed walked towards the clamouring crowd. Maya tightly clutched her ears as the voice spoke in an ear-piercing volume “Thirty minutes to go!”
She advanced toward the nervous bomb squad, baffled by the very intricate structure of the bomb. She gingerly held the two wires, pondering over which one will dismantle the bomb when cut. Her vision became clouded as her sapphire eyes fell on the bright-red digital timer; the voice in her head read it aloud… “Fifteen minutes to go”.
The soldiers around her were biting their nails; her superior gave her a knowing nod which encouraged her to save the mall or to die trying. She shrieked as the voice boomed for the last time. Her hands trembled in fear, and down fell the wire-cutter and with it her hopes of living past this day.
The timer began to countdown and so did the voice in her head. 5…4…3…2…
Maya bolted upright in fear, pencil in hand. A single bead of sweat trickled down from her cheek and onto the blank white paper in front of her. The familiar voice said “Hand over your papers. Time’s up”. This was her worst nightmare…
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