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Friday short story time: "Bombs Away - Part 2"

Last week, I posted the first part of my attempt at a big, not-very-serious action adventure featuring some characters from one of my first few Friday stories. This week, the story continues. I’m not sure I can say much more.

Oh yes: More stories are available if you finish this sequence and want more. And if you’ve only been coming to this website for the stories, check out my photography strand, which got updated yesterday for the first time in ages. (Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a good photographer.)

Bombs Away - Part 2

By Nick Bryan

Things looked bleak for Edward. After all, he was trapped in a large, hollow bin, alongside a ticking bomb. But he’d been in worse situations, for example he had once been locked in a cage alongside a sleeping tiger with diarrhoea.

So this wasn’t the time to sit there, flashing his life before his eyes and worrying about telling his wife he loved her. After all, she was right there on the radio, shrieking at him to “stop gawping and get a bloody move on”, so that was un-necessary.

It was now certain: the bomb in question was no elderly relic. Which meant he didn’t need to remove it in one piece, or touch it at all. It looked like it had been constructed by a terrorist last week, and they could hardly sell it to law enforcement for money. They would be laughed at, then arrested.

So Edward’s only concern was escape. He pulled his rope tight, aiming not to disturb any more of the assorted junk. He had successfully clanked his way down here without setting the bomb off; it should be possible to put this motion into reverse.

His foot braced against the side, and he lifted himself clear of the dirt.

‘Edward!’ Eleanor’s ever-patient voice appeared to berate his lack of momentum. ‘What’s going on in there?’

‘Busy, honey!’ He took another step. ‘Talk soon!’

Edward was now suspended by thick cable above an array of electronic crap and a shoddily constructed explosive. He had been in much the same situation earlier, of course, but not knowing had made it somehow better.

Glancing at the bomb again, the solder was still damp, wires stuck out all over the place and was that something leaking? He had no idea how it was triggered; no sign of a countdown clock to give him a deadline. Maybe someone had to send a text message.

Nonetheless, he wanted to get away from the thing, because it looked like it could go off at any second, just because. He took a few more steps up the side, before his foot almost slipped on some oily stain. Fortunately, his grip tightened in surprise, rather than giving up, so he remained in place, swaying back and forth until he trusted himself to stamp back onto the edge. He knew he should have taken that correspondence course in defusing explosives, it would’ve come in useful eventually.

Although, he comforted himself, the technical learnings would have been useless when confronted with such a amateurish effort.

Forgetting such things, he clambered a few steps higher. Next time, he thought, his wife could do the hard labour. Still, he was nearly at the rim now, nothing had gone bang, his cable was holding. All he had to do was look over the top and then Eleanor would…

Actually, why was his wife being so silent?

‘Ellie?’ He tapped his headset. ‘You’re quiet, what’s happening?’

No response. Returning his free hand to its position on the rope, he hauled one more time, and his head popped over the top. To his slight alarm, there was a man in a crumpled suit holding a gun to his wife’s head. She wasn’t crying, just looking rather cross.

Her radio headset was in his other hand. Edward glanced around, but didn’t see any sign of a full on stake-out. Was this the police?

‘Security services,’ the suited man called out helpfully. ‘Get out of that trash can and place all your equipment on the ground.’

‘Look,’ Eleanor sighed impatiently, ‘we’re archaeologists, not terrorists, we thought it was a…’

‘I don’t care,’ he sneered, and he really seemed not to, ‘just get down here.’

Someone else slid out of the shadows and trained a gun on Edward. Fucking hell, he thought, authentic men in black? He was just a normal bloke trying to earn a living, was this fair?

Nonetheless, they were armed and he was one chap dangling from a rope - hardly in a position to act superior. With a gentle slide, he lowered himself to the ground. Kicking the bin now would only be asking for trouble.

Finally, he let go, and unclipped his harness, letting it fall to the ground. He didn’t carry a gun, because the legalities involved were simply too tedious. So, raising his hands simply above his head, Edward took a few steps towards his waiting public.

‘I’m telling you,’ Eleanor was insisting, ‘we’re only here for the money.’

‘With that accent,’ the man in black smirked, ‘I doubt you need the funds.’

‘Oh, you’re right darling,’ she scowled at him, ‘if only I’d worked down the mines for a few years and leant the real value of money.’

All told, Edward wasn’t sure this was the best approach when threatened with a firearm, but it got both men looking at her. Taking a deep breath, he jumped for the nearest huge bin that didn’t contain an explosive. As his two attempted captors spun around, ricocheting a bullet off the one containing the bomb, he disappeared behind his large metal cylinder of choice.

Seconds later, his wife joined him, which gave him a small start.

‘How did you escape from those two?’

She grinned. ‘They weren’t looking. And it seems they’re quite slow.’

‘Well, there’s two of them, so they’ll probably be coming round both sides of this thing soon.’ He wasn’t entirely focused on her by this point, as he’d pulled his mobile from a pocket and started tapping it urgently.

‘Well, shouldn’t we do something?’

‘I had a plan,’ Edward muttered, ‘but it revolved around sending a text message.’

‘Whoever are you texting at a time like…’ She cut herself off. ‘Actually, I don’t care, just do it.’

‘I…’ He swore. ‘My iPhone’s lost reception. Okay, we’re fucked.’


Next week, the last part of this story. Then maybe something a bit more conversational and less explodey. In the meantime, copyright me, no stealing, email me for authorised stealing, etcetera. Usual sort of thing.


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