The Following Ficlet Takes Place Between 8:00 PM and 9:00 PMMature

Jason was in a chair, hands tied behind his back crudely by someone who probably never got his merit badge. My captors have seriously underestimated me, Jason thought to himself, as he loosened the rope and waited for the right moment to act.

“You have to let me out right now!” Jason screamed. “I have to go to the bathroom, damn it! Do you want me to wet my pants!?”

Marcos said, “Take him to the bathroom. Once he’s done put a damn gag in his mouth, Victor. I’m getting a headache.”

The door opened, Victor smiling like an idiot. “Hey, there Jack,” Victor mocked. “Did you wet your wittle pants?”

When Victor crouched down to untie him, Jason moved quickly. He kicked his captor as hard as he could in the balls and jumped on his back to put him in a choke hold. Victor struggled and stumbled around the room, trying to buck Jason, who choked him unconscious relying more on luck than expertise.

Jason grabbed his phone. “Chloe, this is Jack. I’ve been taken hostage! I’m trying to escape, but I need your help!”

8:13:27 PM

“Do you have any idea where you are, Jack?” Sarah asked.

Jason searched Victor’s unconscious body and found his wallet. He scanned his driver’s license. “Unfortunately, Chloe, I was unconscious when they took me! I have no idea where I am, but I do have a name for you to run. Victor Menendez.”

“Okay, Jack. Give me a second. Here, talk to Edgar.”

Jason grabbed Victor’s firearm and scanned it carefully, as if he was trying to criticize its imperfections.

“Oh, my God. Jason are you okay?” Arnold asked, panic-stricken. “Where are you?”

“I’ve been taken hostage and I’m trying to escape right now! I took one of the perps out! I have his gun. I think I might have to use lethal force on the other two!”

“A gun!? Have you lost your mind? You’ll get yourself killed!”

“Edgar, I need you to calm down! Can you put Chloe back on the line?”

Jason peaked out the door, scanning the hallway. He looked left and turned right, a simple mistake. Unfortunately, he stumbled into Marcos. And Marcos was furious.

8:18:46 PM

It all happened so quickly. Before Jason could level his weapon at Marcos, the criminal swatted it out of his hands and sent it flying across the room. His backswing cracked against Jason’s jaw and sent him flying in the other direction.

The blow had momentarily knocked the Bauer out of Jason, and in the next moment he was howling as Marcos was on him, his knee on the small of Jason’s back as he bound the boy’s wrists with plastic zip ties. Let the kid piss himself, no way he’s getting loose again.

Next, Marcos covered Jason’s head with a burlap bag. He heaved the boy into a small room, turned off the lights, closed and locked the door.

Jason lay bound and hooded, listening as Victor was pistol whipped on the other side of the door for stupidity.

Then everything fell silent. Jason shivered. He could sense the seconds ticking away, but couldn’t hear a clock anywhere. Was a silent clock counting him out?

Jason tensed every muscle in his body. Gut check time, Bauer, he thought.

8:37:09 PM

Sarah answered her cell before the first ring had stopped. “Chloe O’Brien.”

“Chloe,” the voice on the other end of the line said, “It’s Tony.”

“Tony! Where are you?”

“The perp turned out to be a dead end,” Randall explained. “I’m checking out the scene where Jack was taken, but local PD are claiming jurisdiction and getting in the way. Have you and Edgar got anything?”

“Jack called in. He ID’d one of his captors as a Victor Menendez, but then we lost contact. It’s not much to go on, but we’re running it.”

“Okay, I’ll find out what I can here, then meet you at CTU ,” Randall said.

“No!” Sarah shouted, causing heads to turn. “CTU’s been shut down and Division is looking for you. Edgar and I are running a remote.”

Sarah listened for Randall’s reaction.

“Acknowledged,” he said finally. “I’ll be in touch. But I need a favor.”

“What?” Sarah asked.

“It’s almost nine,” he said. “One of you has to go and TiVo Fox.”

8:45:56 PM

“Why do I have to go?” Arnold whined.

“Because Tony told me to do it, and now I’m telling you,” Sarah said, disinterested.

“Why can’t you do it?”

“Because I’m your supervisor.”

Sarah tossed Arnold the key to her bike lock. “Take my ride. Make sure no one sees you. Set the machine and come back.”

Arnold started to leave the coffee shop. He reached the door and turned around.

“But what if I run into a cougar?” he asked.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Sarah said.

8:51:37 PM

The intersection was completely taped off, as forensics investigators worked the scene, measuring tire tracks, taking samples and photos.

Randall walked the line, looking for a way in, but each time he ducked under the tape a uniformed officer pushed him back.

“You have to let me in!” Randall demanded, flashing his credentials. “One of my people was taken, I need to conduct my own investigation.”

The officer ignored him.

Then Randall saw it. It was on the ground, just inside the perimeter.

8:55:28 PM

Just get in, set the machine, and get out, Arnold thought to himself, sneaking into his own home. Get in, set the machine, get out.

The family room was dark and empty. His parents preferred to watch TV in bed. Arnold set to work programming the TiVo.

8:57:03 PM

Randall walked along the tape line to where the object lay. When he was within arm’s reach of it, he bent to tie his shoe.

As he pushed himself off the ground, Randall palmed the item. He slid the object into his pocket, dusted himself off, and casually walked away.

8:59:11 PM

Arnold finished setting the TiVo and prepared to make his getaway. But then he heard it.

“The following takes place between 9:00 PM and 10:00 PM,” Keifer Sutherland voiced over.

Maybe five minutes, Arnold thought, sitting down to watch in the darkness.

In that moment, the lights came on in the family room.

“Arnold? Is that you?” It was the voice of his mother.

Damn it! Arnold thought.

The End

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