By Anastassia K K.
The sunset was unforgettable on the small Pacific island. Most of the world was already covered with dreary grayness and only streaks of the horizon were covered with a peachy orange, which reflected onto the ocean. The sun was dimming and left a small trail on the water. The island belonged to the Japanese government, but a few months earlier a rich gentleman bought it. Now a new estate has risen with a beautiful dome in the center. The only visible light was in the study, and it was like a star in the darkness.
The old wooden lamp dispersed soft light onto the antique furniture. The marble fireplace crackled softly, the furniture was made from antique leather, a skin of a jaguar hung on the wall, and everything hinted at the wealth and class of the owner. But the gentleman didn’t seem to notice. He was old, Asian, his face was covered with wrinkles, head balding, and even at home, he wore a designer suit. The old gentleman had a name, but everyone called him Sir. That suited his purposes.
He sighed. The last project took up much of his time and energy, as well as money. But when it would be complete, he could retreat calmly.
A younger Asian man entered the room. His formal suit didn’t fit his young and energetic body, but his face was very serious. He loved working for Sir, and had devoted all his energy and ten years of his life to him. Unlike most people, he understood and shared Sir’s views and ideas. Now ,with this project, the world would finally get what it deserved.
He spoke, “The final pieces are purchase and assembled.”
“Very well, did you get rid of all the unneeded sources?”
“Of course Sir, we can’t afford the project to be ruined.”
“Now when is the launch scheduled?”
“Well there is one problem, we don’t have the key.”
“SO GET IT!” Sir exclaimed, then added calmly, “How much will it cost?”
“I am afraid we can’t buy it Sir, you see, Jacob Lawrence understood the powers of his machine, so he hid it in his granddaughter’s necklace. The key is a blue star and cannot be copied.”
“Do you know who ishe is?”
“Yes, Jane Lawrence. She lives in Fairfax, VA.”
“Well then arrange the needed operations, quickly please. And I am impressed with your knowledge, Chin-Mi.”
“It is always useful to have someone’s old diary. And I will arrange the procedure. There is nothing to worry about.” He left.
Once alone, Sir reached into his pocket and pulled out a gold locket. The design was worn by the years, but part of the engraving was still visible, it read: ''Together Forever.'' Inside the locket was a picture. Most of the black hair remained, and only a few silky strands still hung there. The picture was old and tattered, but a beautiful young woman was still visible.
“Don’t worry blossom,” he said, “soon they’ll find out.”
* * *
On the other side of the world in the DC suburbs, Jane stepped out the door. She was tall, with long brown hair and hazelnut eyes. The jean mini and pink top looked perfect on her slim, tan body. The weather wasn’t awful on that summer’s morning, on the contrary, the light breeze made it pleasant. There was absolutely nothing to do, so Jane decided to see if somebody was outside. But the neighborhood was empty, and despairing, Jane decided to go home. Maybe she could read or something. Just then a red limousine drove past her, it was stretch, sleek, and at the same time, old fashioned. Jane thought why would a limousine be driving here and chased after. The limousine went to the dead end turned around, and came back more slowly.
“If I hurry I can get my camera,” Jane thought and hurried home through the shortcut. But when she came out ,the limousine was already there. She thought, “What if it’s following me?” and to test, ran down her street around a couple corners. The limousine drove onto the street seconds later. Once again she ran on a completely different street and down to a cul-de-sac.
“I think I lost it,” she thought, when somebody grabbed her. Desperately Jane struggled to get free, but shocked that her hands wouldn’t listen. She was pulled inside the red limousine, and shoved on a seat. Now Jane tried to scream, but no words came out of her mouth. There was nothing else to do, so Jane tried to see her companions in the darkness of the back seat. On one side there was a large plasma T.V. and mini bar, the other side was lined with black leather seating. On it were two oversized Asian guards, in dark suits and sunglasses. There were windows, but they were tinted so no one could see in. It was ironic that she always wanted to ride in a limousine, now she wanted to get out of one.
Then a voice crackled beside her, “This won’t hurt you, just speed things up.”
“What do you mean?” Jane wanted to say, but her eyelids shut and everything went black.
The room was a grey box with concrete walls, a bunk, and a door. Jane was surprised to be alive, but there were too many questions. Where was she? Why was she here? Who was in charge of this? And most importantly, how to get out? Of course it would be safe to wait for her fate to be decided, but Jane couldn’t sit still- she needed action. If she got out of the room, there could be a phone. The only option was the door.
Then an idea came, Jane grabbed the sheet and pillow and banged the door. She sighed, it would never work. Someone rustled keys and turned the doorknob. As the door opened, Jane threw the sheet over the guard, and pushed the pillow onto his face. The guard lost balance, and Jane quickly put her foot behind him, making him fall to unconsciousness. Luck was on her side, the guard was a scrawny man no larger than her, but she had to hurry. Soon her escape would be noticed.
Rushing down the white hall, Jane wondered what to do next. She needed a phone, but who could she call. At an intersection, Jane went left and up a small set of stairs. The room was a large observatory. It was circular, with a row of columns on the outside and a glass dome on top. Most of the space was taken by a humungous silver tube that had a small dome on top.
The machine made no sense in the room, yet it reminded Jane of something. Something from long ago and she couldn’t remember exactly what. Was it a rocket, computer or telescope? Jane didn’t know, but her thoughts were interrupted by a voice at the end of the room. Quickly Jane crouched beside a large plant pot in the corner.
Sir and Chin-Mi entered the room they were in black suits and good moods.
“I am very impressed Chin-Mi. Phase Two has gone excellently. Now that we have the girl, we can do the launch. What time is it scheduled?”
“Very well, we can get the girl after lunch. As for now, let’s go eat.”
The two gentlemen started talking in Japanese and left. Jane was nervous, whatever was the plan, it would happen at midnight, and she had only an hour to be saved. The plan required a launch, and Jane suspected it was destructive. Making sure there was no one there, Jane got up and looked around.
In the far corner there was a desk with a telephone. Rejoicing, Jane hurried over, but who to call. Then Jane remembered that somewhere she read about an international emergency number. She dialed: -111, there was only a beep then silence.-121, still no good. It finally came to her -112. After two beeps a voice came on.
“How may I help you?”
“I was kidnapped, and now am stuck in an unknown location with a Asian person. You have to hurry; he is going to launch something at midnight.”
“I am sorry, but this is not a prank phone.”
“You have to believe me, I’m Jane Lawrence from Fairfax, Va.”
Somebody came up from behind and snatched the phone.
''I am very sorry to bother you; there is no problem, Thank you.'' He put down the phone and added, “Now why don’t we go have lunch?”
Jane turned around, it was one of the two Asian men she noticed earlier. Now it would be the end, the emergency people didn’t believe her, and there would be nothing to do. The Asian man called to some guards and they surrounded her as they went into the dining room.
The room was a large hall with an extended table to fit at least fifty and bright chandelier lighting. There were three places set at one end; in one of them was the other Asian man. She was shown to the seat across from him, and the man sat at the head. A light soup was served and the man spoke.
“Eat. I am Sir, my real name doesn’t concern you. That is Chin-Mi, second in charge, and you, as I know, are Jane. I have to say I’m impressed, you’re smarter than I thought. Of course I should have put a stronger guard at the door. Well enough of that, I am sure you are wondering what my plan is, but I shall spare the glory of telling you, for later. And Jane, don’t even bother pulling another stunt, this island is mine and there is no way off it!’
Jane listened and tried to swallow her soup, though she half expected it to be poisoned. But the soup turned out to be good and soothing to her growling stomach. It didn’t matter what he said, she would find a way to run away.
This time Jane was lead into a totally different room, and a rough guard tied her to a chair. Then he left and the lock clicked.
Chin Mi asked, “Aren’t you making it a little too easy?”
Sir smiled, “Well it ain’t good without a chase. Now get the motor boat ready.”
Back in the cell Jane smiled, this was too easy. She could get out of ropes, it was a piece of cake. Well maybe a bit hard, but twenty minutes later, she was free. Now there had to be a way out. There was a window with curtain hooks on the side, it was high up, but the hooks gave Jane an idea. Quickly she pulled off her sandal and tied it to the rope, then she threw the it up. At first it missed, but on her fifth try, the shoe caught the hook. Jane pushed the chair to the wall, climbed on it and grasped the rope.
Now the hard part began. Using all her strength Jane pulled herself up the rope. It was worse than P.E., but soon she was on the ledge. Makin gsure not to topple down, Jane untied her sandal and put it on, then she pushed the window and it swung open. Luckily it was only the second floor, but Jane tied the rope to the hook and threw it out the window anyway. She took a deep breath and slid down the side of the building, the rope stopped ten feet from the ground, so Jane closed her eyes and jumped. Softly, she landed on the grass and looked around.
On three sides there were palm trees, and a small path led to the beach. That was where Jane ran, maybe she could get to another island, but she couldn’t swim. Then there was thumping in a distance, and it was getting closer. There was no time to think, so Jane started running, looping through the trees. She gave up all the remains of her energy to a dash for survival. Her lungs burned, muscles ached, and she had no power at all. It was like one of the fitness runs, only here at stake was her life, not a grade.
There were voices following her, or maybe it was ringing in her ears, it didn’t matter. Then something shot past her ear, this time she wasn’t hallucinating, it was a bullet. Now Jane was frantic, she zigzagged in and out of the trees like a maniac. Something hot rushed past her foot, leaving a painful scar. They were close, and Jane couldn’t go on for much longer. But before her energy stopped, she tripped over a root and came toppling down on the warm ground. Well this must be it, was Jane’s thought. Instead of death, someone tied her hands and arms, then picked her up, and put some sort of sack over her head, they threw her over a shoulder and started walking.
The next twenty minutes were a blur for Jane, but when they finally pulled the sack off, she was in a pavilion. Across form her was Sir, grinning like nothing had happened.
He said, ”Sit down. You know, you are very smart, I mean I didn’t have to go through all that bother of locking you up, then chasing you. I just wanted to test your wit. Well you passed.”
Jane sat down, but she was furious. So all the running and climbing were for nothing. Whatever was the man’s plan, one thing was sure: he was crazy. Trying to calm down Jane breathed, but the anger over-shadowed the humiliation, pain sorrow, and hopelessness.
“Now, no need to get angry, you knew there was no way off the island.”
Somewhere deep Jane felt that it was a trap to make her distressed, but she didn’t care, “You, you are a maniac!” she exclaimed. Right away someone slapped her cheek, making it throb and hurt.
“Please don’t be rude, I hate it. Well I must tell you my plan; after all you have to be dying to know why I dragged you here. Well I must tell you a little history, back in 1945 we were fighting the U.S., and well things weren’t going so good. Of course we were persistent, but The States didn’t want to play fair. So they dropped the bomb,” his voice staggered, “they killed my family, my home, and everything I ever cared for, they destroyed a major city and killed millions, all because they didn’t want to fight. It was a tragedy that we will never fully recover from, and the U.S. doesn’t fully understand, which is why this is my revenge. I could get a simpler bomb, but the effect wouldn’t be the same. And I can’t get the real big ones, but I was lucky to know your grandfather. You see he was an inventor, and came up with a very unusual missile. It travels faster than anything ever invented, and is one of the most devastating. Now Jacob Lawrence understood the devastation of his creation, so he made a special key, the key is your necklace. Now all I want is to teach the U.S. a lesson it will never forget, so I’ll drop it on Washington, DC!”
“You can’t do that, it is the capital, we didn’t drop the bomb on the capital.”
“Yes, but you dropped two so it’s fair. Now give me the necklace.”
There was nothing to do. She had lost and with a sigh she pulled off the necklace.
“Good girl,” he said and inserted it into the machine, it lit up.
Then it pronounced, “Please give fingerprint, to confirm launch.”
She was pushed to the machine and forced to put her finger down.
“Five minutes to launch.”
The room began to transform, the dome in the sky and on the machine opened, and a missile emerged. It was doom, the most important place in the country gone in seconds, and there was no way to stop it…..
Then there was a bang outside, and a pale guard ran in, “Sir, we are being stormed!”
“Oh! “ He cursed and ran out of the room with the rest of the guards.
Jane smiled, things couldn’t be any better. Now, how to operate the machine?
“One minute to launch.”
Desperately Jane ran over to the computer screen, and looked. There was a countdown and an ‘x’ button. Jane hit the ‘x’ it said, “Confirm, please enter finger print.”
The clock said thirty seconds, she pressed her finger, but the clock hadn’t stopped. Then she realized she needed the key, it was on the ground dropped in the rush. Fifteen seconds. Jane grabbed the key and ran back to the machine. Ten seconds. She pushed it in. Seven seconds. Why hadn’t it worked, maybe she had to turn it. Jane was sweating, the world rested on her shoulders. And it was doomed. Four seconds. Forcing her numb fingers to listen she turned the key. Launch canceled. Jane breathed, at least the world would be safe for now.
* * *
Jane’s spy novel ended inevitably in a cold official security office. It had taken her a week to recover and there was not a sound from the media. Mr. Bunt, some top CIA officer, thanked and praised her many times. He was impressed, and honestly, Jane was too, the odds were against her. Finally he said, “As you understand all of this must be kept confidential.”
“Why?” Jane complained.
“It would cause too much panic. From what I know, the bomb was the deadliest on earth. You want to be recognized, but it has to be kept secret.”
He was right; it was horrible, both the bomb and the experience, maybe she didn’t want people to know. Maybe she wanted to be normal. Jane took the pen and signed the Official Secret Form. No one would ever know; it was erased form history, for now.