He woke up suddenly and tried to groan as the pain on his left side was almost more than he could take.
He tried to groan. But he couldn’t do it. He could not open his eyes, as even more painfully he realized that there was something blocking his mouth. Something…. A sudden realization hit the man, as he felt the duct tape covering his mouth.
Not that the man panicked on knowing it.
The man’s head was burning as the man feebly realized that he had a serious gash on his forehead.
Not that, that realization also helped.
The man opened his eyes wider and realized that his hands…. They were bound behind his back. The bound man struggled against his cuffs behind his back and knew that it was a waste of time.
They were metal cuffs and he could not free himself.
He had been sleeping for heaven’s sake. He really thought that his vigilante life was a secret to everyone and that no one could disturb him, at least, when he was sleeping.
At least he thought so.
Apparently the group who had ambushed the man in the dead of the night at his home did not think so and the last the man remembered was a searing pain in his forehead.
Then he found himself here cuffed behind his back.
That was when the man saw that he was in his home. His very own home. As always. He was cuffed to the chair near the dining table and the reason why he was in this place was obvious.
A bomb was lying on the table in front of him.
The man was meant to see it.
As if that was not enough for his pounding headache, he could see the numbers counting down on the device before him.
The numbers of the country made bomb told him.
He knew that it was very difficult to make the number count for an explosive device. Movies got it right so effortlessly. But in reality, making such bombs were damned difficult, the man’s training was telling him. But whoever this group was, who wanted him to die, they wanted him to know that he was going to die.
Every minute of it.
The man struggled with his bonds and told himself that given his life it was not surprising that he had managed to piss off someone so badly.
He really had gone against that many people in his life, because the vigilante life was what he had been made for. In the beginning he had embraced it. It seemed so cool to toy around the bad guys and outsmart them. And he had been good.
But now, for a second as he stopped struggling with his bonds, the man realized that his actions were what had made him alone. Right now the thirty three year old man realized that he was a lonely, tired man…. He had fought his battles and he had been successful. But the constant skirmishes had taken its toll. He was alone.
As if by reflex, he saw the photo which had fallen on the table.
Despite the bomb, what really caught the man’s attention was not the hopelessness of the situation or even the fact that he was going to die. Those sort of things never computed in his head. What hurt him was the picture on the table. The persons who had made the bomb had carelessly pushed the picture aside, while placing the bomb there.
But despite that, it was always the picture which caught his attention.
The picture showed a beautiful woman along with a lovely child as they were both hugging each other and laughing.
The picture showed them in the beach and neither had been unable to stop laughing as he had taken the picture. The woman was in beige tops and white pants and the child of ten was dressed in beautiful flowery tights with a pink T-shirt. While he had taken the photo, he did not know that the photo would come out so spectacularly beautiful. The sun fell directly on them as he could see the special twinkle in their eyes.
They loved him. Unconditionally. They knew who he was and neither found it odd. They loved him more because of it.
No, they had loved him.
He had wanted to spend every waking minute of his life trying to keep them happy.
But he had let them down.
There had been days when he stared at the photo as he could feel himself forget his injuries.
He could even stare at the photo and let himself forget that he had let them down. They had trusted him and he had just let them down.
He looked at the bomb again.
No one was coming. He had very few friends and none of them could be counted to come to his help, especially counting on the fact that he had been an awesome jerk and annoyed them to no end and he had just managed to piss them off too.
His eyes travelled to the child in the photo and that was when his heart started pounding. Badly.
He had ten minutes to reflect on how he had let her down.
For the first time, the man cursed the group who wanted to kill him.
They had given him ten minutes.
And ten minutes was too long a time to die.