This is the eighth in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing from 2nd December 2012 until the 1st December 2013. It’s intent is to keep me writing throughout the year, and not just in November. you can find out more about the challenge here.
Jack Lead – 2HB, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 11th December 2012
Word count: 999
Theme: action, adventure, world domination, evil mastermind
“I own the future,” industrialist Peter Crowfield said emphatically. “You are just part of the master plan my friend.”
Jack felt used, for the past month he thought he had been working, non-stop it felt, to save the planet. Only to find his boss who had been helping him was actually some insane criminal mastermind.
“I’m sure you’re wondering what next,” the megalomaniac said to the tied up employee. “Well first we’ll make a demonstration, then we’ll make our demands.”
Jack wanted to say something clichéd like Peter would never get away with it, but Jack was bound and gagged.
“I say we, because of course the world will think it’s you. Greatest terrorist in history. That’s why you were always too late to save people, but there you are at the scene at the most devastating crimes of the twenty-first century. Just so you know, you’d have been getting a very helpful Christmas bonus this year,” Peter laughed.
Jack tried to speak, no he tried to shout.
“Oh here,” Peter said, “Everyone deserves last words.” he pulled off the tape gag.
Jack took a moment to catch his breath.
“You’re right, I didn’t expect this,” Jack said his voice hoarse after hours without anything to drink. “I thought you were a target.”
“I know, you were out of your league,” the industrialist laughed.
“Yes,” Jack hung his head and then picked it up, “Of course I brought friends to help.”
Peter spun round to face the door. Just then the windows to his pent office exploded into shards.
“You need friends with a better shot of Jack, they missed,” he gestured to his unharmed body, as he turned towards Jack triumphantly.
“He never misses,” explained Jack stood up, free from the ankle restraints, somehow a ricochet had frayed the ropes at his wrists too. He briefly saluted the widow, and Connor McLean, best shot alive and pacifist.
Peter backed away hastily but Jack grabbed him by his lapels.
“I trusted you,” Jack said, “I thought we were making a difference.”
“We were, don’t you see?” Peter said. “We need to end the chaos. We need to bring order to the world. Better that all pencils are made by my firm, than billions of inferior pencils continue to flood the markets of the world.”
“Tell me what you’ve done,” Jack said shaking Peter by the lapel.
“It doesn’t matter now, only I can stop it, and I won’t. It’s time the chaos ended Jack, it’s time I took my proper place at the head of the world. Master Pencil, Master Pencil, Master Pencil!”
Jack let the mad man go, this wasn’t getting him anywhere.
“Anna, Conner you copy?” a bullet smashed through the window again, ricocheted and knock a pedastol topped with a vase onto Peter’s head before he could get up again. “Guess so,” he said, “We need to find whatever it is he’s done. He’s too insane to get anything from him, but Anna you can take your time if you want.”
There was a thud against the wall, and then a whining sound. Jack turned round to find Anna disengaging herself from the zip line.
“Thanks,” he said.
“No probs,” she said kneeling down to check on Peter, “Leave him with me, will relay what I discover,” she threw him a earbud.
Jack headed out of the office, he could spend time ransacking it, but he already knew it well enough, and he knew Peter didn’t keep anything there. For such a dastardly plan, he would want a bunker, so the pencil warehouse deep beneath the building seemed logical.
The lift took ages to arrive, and then another age to ride down past the ground floor to the sixth.
“Jack, this is Anne,” his torturous companion reported over the commline, “He’s not so mad, there’s a console down in the basement, six digit code he wouldn’t say what though. That should shut down the explosives.”
“Okay,” Jack said setting his jaw. The console wouldn’t be unguarded, but it would be million of people’s only hope of surviving the next few hours.
Finally the lift arrived on the ground floor, and Jack readied himself to duck and roll through the doors. The doors opened with a ping, but the staccato of gun fire didn’t ring out. He knew he didn’t have long, but Jack waited and waited to see if the coast was clear, searching for the tell tale sounds of hidden occupation. There was nothing.
He rushed the room, but nothing happened. From the centre he looked around, and then saw the computer he needed, a laptop balanced on top of rolls of pencils.
“I’m going to need that code,” Jack said, tapping his eye in the hopes it picked him up and transmitted. He wasn’t the most trusting of technology.
“Okay, it’s Five-Eight,” suddenly the voice moved away, “Just give it up you miserable little shit,” followed by the sounds of thuds, “Okay, sorry about that. It’s, from the beginning, Five-Eight-Zero-Zero-Eight.”
“Okay, putting it in now,” Jack said as he approached the computer. It was going to be simple enough, there was a blue screen and it access for ID number.
He typed in the code as given and pressed enter.
The screen turned red, which momentarily pleased Jack until he realised that a countdown was starting, “Wrong code wrong code!” he screamed, forgetting the veneer of masculinity.
“No, Jack, that was definitely the right code,” Anne said.
“Sorry Jack,” Peter said. “It had to be you.”
Jack punched at the keys desperately but it was locked. Then he heard the whining sound. The pencils. He pulled the device that he’d stolen for Peter earlier, and pointed it at the pencils.
The whining increased, faster than the countdown decreased he hoped.
The room was filled with an explosion.
Jack cough and spluttered his way to the lift, no way to know if he saved the world. He could only try for justice in the penthouse.
I’m off out for a meal after work, so thought I’d get this done nice and early. It was going to be sci-fi with a reveal half way through that they were on a space station, or ship. However I opted for pencils instead, it felt more fun.