Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tauy Creek Digest #8: Emily

"10:00" was the first thing I saw when my eyes opened.




A girl was strapped to a table, she was maybe eight or nine, I don't know. I'm terrible at guessing age. She was asleep or unconscious or something. A hammer was next to her on one side and a glass-encased button labeled "NUKE" was on the other. In the corner was a black-and-white TV showing an overhead view of my neighborhood, centered on my house.

9:43, 9:42, 9:41, 9:40...

"Hello?" I shouted. I went over to the girl and shook her to try to wake her. She didn't look familiar but when she awoke, she acted like she knew me.

"Press the button," she said.

"What? Why?"

"To free me. Those men said if you press that button, they won't kill me."

I looked at the button then at the TV. "I'm not going to do that."

"Why?" she shrieked.

"Because I'm assuming pressing that button means my city gets destroyed. I'm not going to sacrifice upwards of 100,000 people to save one," I said.

"You have to press the button," a voice came on over a speaker. "You press the button, thousands of people may die. You don't press the button, we do unspeakable things to that girl and point all the evidence to you."

The girl gave me a smug look. "But if I press the button, the girl is freed?" I asked.

"Most certainly."

9:11, 9:10, 9:09, 9:08...

"I have nine minutes to decide, right?" I asked.

"Of course. We're not monsters," he said.

"Uh-huh," I looked at the girl. "What's your name?"

"Emily," she answered.

"Okay, Emily, we're going to get you out of there," I said as I began fidgeting with her straps.

"Just press the button," she cried.

"I'm not going to be responsible for thousands of deaths, Emily."

"But the rape and murder of a ten-year-old you're fine with?" she said sarcastically.

"Ten? I guessed eight or nine," I said, mostly to myself. "You'll understand this decision when you are older." I went under the table and looked at how the straps were attached. Just with nuts and bolts? "This is going to be so easy to get you out of," I happily said.

I began trying to undo the nut on the screw but it was very well-tightened. After several minutes of working on it, I finally got it to come loose and quickly unscrewed it. When I got the screw off, I stood up and looked at the time. 5:54, 5:53, 5:52, 5:51...

"I loosened the strap. Can you wiggle your left arm free?" I asked Emily.

She wiggled and after about a minute, she got her arm loose. "Okay, now what?"

4:47, 4:46, 4:45, 4:44...

"I'm going to try to loosen the other strap. Use your free arm to try to get your other arm out." I got under the table and began working on the screw to the other strap. I couldn't get either nut to move so I moved down to her legs and began working on those straps. I heard glass shatter and soft click. I quickly stood up and saw that Emily had shattered the glass to the button and pressed it. The time on the counter read "2:47". "What did you do?" I screamed.

"I pressed the button," Emily said stoically. "We had less than three minutes to get these things off and even if we did, how are we supposed to get out of here? We're locked in. That timer was going to go off, someone was going to come in here, rape me, and then murder me. Sure, you would've gone to jail but I was going to be dead."

Then a door slid open and someone came in, undid the straps and looked at me. "You are free to go," he said. "The lady at the front desk will give you your car keys and directions on where to drop off Emily. We apologize about your home, hopefully, you have somewhere to go." He left the room, the door stayed open.

"I'm sorry, Emily," I said to her as I helped her off the table. "I was in a panic and didn't fully think through the scenario. Come on, I guess I'm taking you home."

I dropped her off a few houses down from hers so nobody saw my car. "So where are you going to go?"

"I'll probably run home and see what's left of my town, if that's possible. Nice to meet you, Emily. I wish it was under better circumstances."

"It was nice to meet you, too."

Emily shut the car door and began walking down her block. She turned toward her house and I drove away, toward the smoldering crater that was once my home.