"Not the blue one," I repeated, scanning over the three wires inside the case. "This guy must think he is so fucking funny," I spat into the box. All of the wires were blue. The timer now read 0:52 and I was hopelessly stuck. Three wires, any of which could disable the bomb or blow it up in my face. "Not the blue one," I repeated, waving the scissors over each wire. "Well, if it's not blue, which one is it?" I almost yelled. 0:40.
"John, not to worry you or add any extra pressure, here," Roswell said, hovering above my left arm, "but you've got forty seconds to save the lives of twenty-two people inside this building." I looked over my shoulder and glared at Roswell. "Not to add any pressure? You are joking. Get out of here." I turned back round and heard Roswell skulk away. 0:32. "Come on, John," I whispered to myself, gripping the scissors so hard that they were indenting on my hand. "Come on, Jay," I heard a voice say suddenly from in front of me. My head snapped up and I saw Alice stood on the other side of the desk. "Alice..." I whispered.
"You can do it, Jay," Alice smiled, beaming broadly. "You always fix everything, Jay." I smiled but shook my head.
"Not everything, Alice. I can't fix this; can't fix you being taken or this," I said, gesturing to the box. 0:20. "Yes, you can, Jay," Alice giggled. "What did the horrible old man tell you?"
"Is the man horrible, Alice? Has he touched you? Has he hurt you?"
"No, no, Jay, don't be silly. I'm fine," Alice smiled. "What did he tell you, Jay?"
"He said... He said not the blue wire," I managed to mumble as the timer rolled over to 0:10. "Exactly, Jay. Not the blue one. Think about it. You'll get there." As I watched, Alice's figure faded in front of my eyes, being swept away in the wind. 0:05. I leapt back away from the box. "What the Hell are you doing, boy?!" Roswell yelled, charging forwards. He grabbed the scissors out of my hand and ran for the box. "Not the blue one," I whispered.
The timer hit zero. Nothing happened. Roswell held the scissors above the box, not moving a muscle. All the police officers were crouched behind tables and chairs, expectant of the imminent explosion. There was silence throughout the building.
The telephone ringing restarted time and everybody managed to take one deep breath again. It was over. The bomb hadn't gone off. It was a trick. The entire thing had been a fake. The telephone rang again and I managed to walk over to it, my legs weak and shaking. Alice had been right. Not the blue one. I managed to wrap my fingers around the phone and I picked it up, placing it against my ear. Maniacal laughing howled through the receiver, sending a chill up my spine. "Very funny," I whispered. The man continued to shriek with laughter. "Oh, good God, Jonathan, that was hilarious. Nobody moved!" He burst into laughter again. I could hear him taking deep breaths, trying to control and calm himself. "Oh, God, that was funny," he muttered, clapping his hands together and rubbing them. "Okay, Jonathan, here's the deal. From now on, when I want a round to start, I am going to say 'Ready or Not'. Okay? That way, there won't be any more... Confusion," he sniggered. "So, here's the next step of the game, Jonathan. Saint Michael's Church, three streets from your location. There is a caretaker there, called Jack. Go and talk to Jack. He was some information that might be... Very interesting for you to hear. Oh, and, just to make this more interesting, Jonathan, you have only five minutes to get there and talk to him before I take the shot." I heard the sniper rifle cock; the sound made me shudder. "Only you may leave the building, Jonathan, and once you have spoken to Jack, you must go back to it and back inside. You have five minutes to take the shot; you have eight minutes to be back inside the building before I remove little Alice's little finger. Is that clear?" Fear tore through my stomach and I sank to my knees. "Oh, get up, Jonathan," the man hissed. "Don't be so pathetic, man." There was a moment's pause as I got back to my feet. "Ready or Not, Jonathan," the man breathed. "The round has started."