In The Nick of Time

The cellular crashed to the pavement below as she broke into a frantic sprint while a muffled voice came through the ear piece of the discarded phone "Casey? Don't you dare! There's nothing you can do!"

Benjamin spun around in the seat of the cramped control center; dozens of screens and computers crammed into an unmarked cube van. His fingers danced across and adjacent keyboard until the famliar tone echoed through his headset. "Sir?" He inquired frantically. "She's on the move, going toward Eckhart now, You have to send a team in A.S.A.P.!"

*It's an open plaza!* screamed the voice on the other end of the line, *The surrounding buildings are too high for snipers and Eckhart would spot an agent faster than you could blink, it would just be putting more assets at risk. I'm sorry Ben, I can't send in a team. She's on her own.*

Ben ripped the headset off and scrambled to the back doors.

Carlos, in the drivers seat turned around at the commotion. "Hey Hombre? Where do you think you're going?"

Benjamin ignored him and grabbed the door handle.

Vehicles were thick in the street like the sediment of choked arteries, each one dispensing it's own vile concoction of fumes into the mid day breeze. A woman walking her dog turned to cross the street when the double doors at the back of a van she hadn't even noticed burst open. A man wearing a bullet proof vest with an FBI I.D. tag dangling from his neck bolted out the doors and tripped on the poodles leash.

Barely avoiding a faceplant, Ben put his hands out before him and pushed off the filthy street just fast enough to not lose momentum as he recovered from the fall.

Casey turned a corner and stopped, panting for air as she spotted the cafe a few hundred feet down the street. Her trained eyes scanned intently for only a few moments before she saw him. His face grew in her vision as the adrenaline pumped into her system caused the stabilizing muscles in her eyes to pull back, elongating the eyeball and creating a tunnel visioned lens effect. She was in the red, her heart at nearly three hundred beats per minute forced her perception to quicken to the point where it seemed that time slowed. Without willing it, her legs pumped into action, her brain having already instinctually chosen fight over flight. The newly enriched blood fed an intoxicating amount of energy into her muscles as they pulsated at nearly ninety percent of her bodies possible output. She could see him putting out the cigarette as she slid past an elderly couple, pressing toward her prey. She was leaping over a car hood when gravity seemed to reverse, a bright flash  followed by debris swirling around her as she was flung into the air. An intense heat ignited her clothing, end then her flesh.

Benjamin collapsed as a cloud of dust and debris raced toward him through the alleyway. He covered his face with his hands as sharp slivers of wood and glass punctured the flesh of his forearms. There was silence. His eyes cracked open, dust clinging to the lashes. He rolled to his side, his ears squealing as a large piece of wood slammed on the pavement beside him; only the vibration of its impact registered.   "Casey!" He yelled, with what little air was left in his lungs; he could not even hear his own voice. "Casey!" He rose to his feet, a cold numbness slowly draining from his body, replaced by the sharp burn as the pain briefly set in. Shambling forward in the office paper precipitation, he knelt beside a smoldering corpse; the plastic of the I.D. tag still bubbling; melted into the stringy flesh of what no longer resembled a human being. 

He collapsed on to her remains; the blood loss from his partially amputated arm finally caught up to him.

The cold numbness returned, and consumed all that he was.

The End

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