Word Count: 799
Warnings: Death by bullet wound, military (?), it's pretty bad and wording
In the beginning, there were eleven of them. Eleven volunteers. Now seven of them are just names on a wall. Seven isn’t a lot when you think about it. Seven dollars can hardly buy you a coffee and snack at most cafes. But in the context of human lives reduced to names written in sharpie, it is a lot. Even one would be a lot.
Florette was with William when he died. They had been assigned the hardest mission out of the two that day, but both walked into it with confidence. William had infiltrated military bases before, and despite how much she despised it, Florette was used to tagging along, doing nothing more than fitting into smaller places and occasionally acting as his secretary.
They were caught, as Florette warned William they would if he tried to fit through the air duct. Instead of crawling through the air duct and finding a safe way out of the base, William and Florette were chased through the base by armed servicemen, trying as best they could to find the exit that led to their car. Then, suddenly, there was a loud bang.
Florette looked back for only a split second, but it was enough to give her nightmares for more than a year. William had been shot in his back, and, unbeknownst to Florette, the bullet had hit his lungs.
“Please, Florette..” William said, gasping for air that his now penetrated lungs couldn’t hold, but Florette hardly heard him. She was already down the hall, gaining valuable space in between her and the men. William collapsed onto the floor and died, alone, moments later.
Florette swiftly made her way through the winding hallways and confused people to find herself on the open road. She made a mad dash from the base to the car, tears blocking her vision. Men started shouting behind her, dogs started barking, and an alarm blared over the speakers. Florette ran faster than she ever had in her life, just trying to make it to the van and escape death.
Mr. Johnson hastily swung open the backdoor, having been awoken from his nap only a moment ago.
“Come on!” He shouted, crawling into the front seat. Florette had barely entered the van as Mr. Johnson pressed on the gas, sending her hurtling forwards.
“You want to man the gun in case?” Mr. Johnson asked, tossing Florette a pistol. She sighed and tossed it to the side. There was a moment of silence before Mr. Johnson spoke again, “You’re right, Russians alwa- where’s Mr. Bride?”
“I don’t know,” Florette said, wiping the tears off her cheeks. She didn’t want Mr. Johnson to see her cry. He would think she was weak.
“You left him?!” Mr. Johnson exclaimed. He spun the steering wheel to the left and they were finally on the open road. There were still servicemen following them, but they had lost distance and were now retreating to follow them by helicopter and other vehicles.
“I don’t know!” Florette said, covering her face with her hands.
“You don’t know? How do you not.. nevermind,” Mr. Johnson sighed and put more weight on the gas pedal. They were nearing a long, straight stretch of the road. He adjusted the steering wheel so that the van was pointing straight, then he crawled into the back, landing next to Florette, “Stop crying and help me get the machine started.”
“Can you plea-”
“Stop crying and help me get the machine started, Miss. Travere! That’s an order!”
Florette stood but had to bend over so that she could stand comfortably. Mr. Johnson took the sheet of the machine. Ms. LaPore had compared it to the size of a casket once. There was no room to fit inside of it, which Florette was forever grateful for. Caskets scared her.
She quickly flipped the switch that turned on the machine and began typing in dates.
“What day is it?”
“The fourth of May 2019.”
“What day did we leave?”
“The ninth of June, 2021.”
“Alright,” Florette mumbled. Her fingers shook with every key she pressed. If she didn’t set the dates soon, both she and Mr. Johnson would end up like William.
The sound of helicopter blades whirring rang in both of their ears.
“Are you finished, Miss. Travere?!” Mr. Johnson exclaimed.
“Then what are you doing?! Press the damn button!”