I'm taking a break from the continuation of The Journal this week, but here's a flash fiction story I wrote awhile back. Thanks for reading.
Never Too Late
Wendy wanted to rush at the man standing over her son's bed, but the gun aimed at her face and the knife held to Billy's neck caused her to stand planted in the doorway. A villainous smile crossed the man's face.
"If you do anything to hurt him, I swear..."
Wendy could feel the rage well up as the man laughed and made a pinprick cut with the knife into the flesh of Billy's neck.
Billy screamed, and Wendy began moving toward him when she felt a searing pain in her right thigh. A loud pop rang throughout the room. Wendy collapsed, staring at the dark gash where the bullet went in.
Billy was still screaming, writhing in the bed.
"Shut up, or I'll shoot her again!" the man said.
Billy stilled. "Mommy..."
"Mommy's okay, sweetie. Just listen to what the he says." To the man, "What do you want with us?"
The gun was leveled at her face again. "I want him to show up. He can end all of this by merely coming here. We'll leave together. And you and Billy will never see me again."
It can't be that simple, can it?
"Are you going to hurt him?"
"If he doesn't show up, Billy dies. Don't you think he'd be willing to make that sacrifice?"
The man threw her a cell phone. "Call him."
Wendy made the call. No response.
"He didn't answer."
The man frowned. "Bad news for you."
The man laid the two weapons down and reached into the inner pocket of his black jacket. Wendy saw a syringe in his hand.
"What are you going to do with that?"
Before he answered, the man jabbed the syringe's needle into Billy's leg and injected its contents into the boy.
"No!" Wendy lunged toward the man on her good leg, but she was met with a back-arm to her face. She fought the need to black out.
The man trained his gun back on her. "That was a very lethal virus. My own design. Billy has exactly one hour to live. More like fifty minutes, really, because in the last ten minutes his body will be ravaged beyond anything anyone could possibly survive."
Wendy felt her body shaking.
"Please..." she said with tears blurring her vision.
"There is an antidote." He reached back into his jacket and pulled out another syringe. "Get him here and Billy will be okay. If he doesn't show up, Billy dies."
Wendy grabbed the phone again. She waited as it rang.
Why isn't he answering? He always answers.
She finally got voicemail.
"Dad! You have to answer...please answer...Billy is going to die if you don't get to my house now...Nate is going to kill him...please Dad!"
She heard herself screaming the words, but it felt futile. She threw the phone on the ground.
"You can't do this, Nate. Please just give him the antidote."
"No! Either Dad shows up to save the day from his prodigal son or Billy dies."
Wendy sighed. "Will you just let me close to him?"
Nate stepped aside as Wendy came to Billy's side. She held his hand and watched his chest rise and fall. Unconscious had already set in. Nate kept the gun pointed at her.
Please, Dad. We need you.
Wendy looked at the clock on the wall next to the door. Thirty minutes had passed, and nothing from her father. Why was he ignoring her?
She grabbed the phone to call again.
"Dad? Tell me you got my message."
A pause. "It's going to be hard to understand, baby, but I'm not going to make it."
Wendy froze. "What do you mean?"
"I know it's going to hurt, but I promise it's going to be okay."
How can it be okay if Billy dies?
The call disconnected.
Wendy felt her breathing quicken. "No...Why would he do this? Why wouldn't he come?"
"Either he doesn't care," Nate said, "or he's a coward and powerless to stop it. Either way, Billy dies."
"Please...I'll do anything."
A smile crossed Nate's face, and Wendy thought that maybe he would have mercy.
"I know you would," he said, "but the one person who could do something about it failed you."
Nate lifted the gun and brought the butt of it down on the back of Wendy's head. She crumpled to the floor as everything went to black.
When she woke up an hour later she found Billy's tortured body lying on the bed. Nate was gone. She began sobbing, begging Billy to wake up.
She heard the front door open and close. She grabbed the knife that Nate had left on Billy's bed and prepared to use it on whoever was in the house.
Her father walked into the bedroom. "I'm here, baby."
Her father leaned down in front of her. She began to pound his chest with her fists.
"You're too late! Why didn't you show up? If you would've just came, Billy would still be alive! Why weren't you there for me?"
Wendy buried her face in her hands and begged God to let her die. Her father was too late, and now her son was dead.
She felt a hand on hers and heard a tiny voice,"Mommy, I'm okay."
Through blurry eyes she looked up to see Billy standing in front of her. Fully alive.
She looked up at her father. "How?"
He smiled. "Too late isn't always too late."