James Hunt paced his small, barren office waiting as the comm unit continued to buzz without reprieve on the other end. "You've reached Caroline Hunt, I'm not in..." With a roar of frustration he threw the unit across the room and dropped into his desk chair. The chair groaned under his weight and the wheels emitted a wail as it scooted across the linoleum flooring.
After a moment, he hopped up and retrieved the rejected comm device and punched in the number again. One buzz. Two and then a third. "Pick up the damn line Carrie!" he grumbled as it buzzed a fourth and fifth time. Once again the familiar voice of his wife, or soon to be ex-wife, came through via voice mail and he dropped the device onto the desk.
After the anger and frustration burned out, he swiveled around and jumped into his chair with a new sense of energy. His fingers flew over the computer keys as he entered access code after access code. He imagined one of their satellites groaning under his commands as he pinpointed their old home in Atlanta, Georgia but his slightly illegal and highly immoral stalking attempts were terminated when his comm unit buzzed to life. Caroline's picture and number were splashed across the screen!
"Carrie! Are you alright?" Despite their issues and impending divorce, he was deeply concerned about her safety and just wanted to know she was getting out alive. "You have to get out of the city Carrie!"
"James...." Carrie's voice was strained. She was struggling to hold back sobs as she spoke. "Everything is closed off James....the whole city...." She gulped and he could hear her sniffling, as if she'd just been crying.
"You can take one of the back country roads Care, out to your parent's beach house..."
"You're not listening," she gave a strangled, short laugh then as if she'd told a joke.
James pushed back his own fear and smiled weakly, "I never did so well. It's not one of my talents Carrie." He imagined her smiling on the other side but picture was garbled and all he saw was static. "I wish I could see you now..."
"No you don't, I look horrible I promise you...." Carrie replied. "I tried to leave Jim – I really did try. I need you to know I tried to get out..."
"Please Carrie, please...." He swiped a hand at his face, pushing the tears away from his eyes. His voice was cracking as he pleaded with her to perform a miracle.
"I love you Jim, I wish that had been enough before but know that I love you...."
"Carrie, I can't – I don't want to say goodbye to you like this and then never know." James's words felt awkward and foolish but he was sure she understood the sentiment.
"Oh god! Jim! Oh god!" Though she said his name, her words weren't intended for him. The agony in her voice and shear terror ripped through him. He heard screams from all around cackling over the comm unit and then doors slamming and what must be running.
"Carrie! Carrie what's happening!" he shouted into the unit. By now he was standing and pacing around the room like a captured beast. "Carrie!" The unmistakable sound of an explosion bursts across the communication device sending him staggering a few steps backwards.
Then there was silence.
"I love you too." James whispered, sliding slowly down the wall in a wrecked heap. He was still clutching the mute comm unit in his hands when the sobs overtook his body.
The door to his office slammed open without so much as a preemptive knock. "Sir! Atlanta...." Eva Cruz was out of breath, no doubt having run from the conference room the moment the alert had come over the wire to inform him. She came up short when she saw him on the floor and covered her mouth with her hand. She spotted the comm in his hands and all her unspoken fears were confirmed. "Oh...she didn't get out...."