Joy was alone. Alone in an extremely flammable farmhouse rigged to explode, on a deserted farm twenty miles in the middle of nowhere. Not a pleasant situation, to say the least.
Her heart was thumping as her fingers tore at the knots of her bonds. All throughout her conversation with the three members of the Sisters gang, Joy had been working on the knots that stubbornly stood between her and freedom. She looked over at the tiny red numbers that ticked away her life’s last minutes.
If I could just reach the knife in my belt! The ropes are so dry the sharp blade would make quick work of them!
She frowned, her straining fingers unable to reach her belt, lying on a nearby table—right next to the bomb.
She bit her lip and frowned fiercely. Okay, J, use that brilliant mind of yours! You’ve only got ninety seconds to get out of here!
Her thoughts racing, Joy scanned the room for something, anything to help her escape. Her eyes fell on an old bedside table made of decaying maple.
That lamp on the table! If I could figure out how to break it, I could use the glass to cut the ropes! My gloves should protect my fingers from the sharp edges. It might just work . . .
She jerked her body roughly and managed to scoot the chair a few inches over. She bit her lip in concern as the red numbers on the bomb read one minute to go. This is taking too long! she thought frantically, fear wrapping its icy-cold fingers around her heart.
But a will to live overcame her fear, and Joy managed to push the chair over to the table holding the precious glass lamp.
She picked it up gingerly, the ropes cutting into her wrists as she strained to reach up and out. Then she took a deep breath and smashed the lamp down on the edge of the table.
Glass flew everywhere. Joy winced as a large piece sailed past and nearly cut her cheek. But she was unharmed, and her sensitive fingers could almost grab a large, thick shard of glass just out of reach. She glanced at the red numbers. Forty-five seconds. As she finally was able to cautiously pick up the glass pieces, it crossed her mind that The Sisters’ members were not quite as sweet as their name led you to believe.
The sharp, jagged glass made quick work of the dusty, old ropes; and just as Joy had predicted, her thick leather gloves protected her fingers admirably.
She gave a cry of delight as the ropes snapped and her hands were freed. But the excitement she felt was quickly drenched as the flashing numbers read thirty seconds. Thirty seconds of life left, unless she hurried. It hardly seemed fair.
Miss Justice slashed at the ropes binding her ankles and cut through them roughly, her fingers trembling slightly as adrenaline and fear collided deep inside her.
Finally her ankles were free . . . but there was no time to lose. She glanced at the detonator’s timer, ticking away Joy’s precious few seconds. Ten more beeps, and she was toast. She wondered if she could disable the bomb, but quickly dismissed the thought. No time to disable it! A few more seconds and I’m gonna look like a jigsaw puzzle. Gotta get out of here!
Time seemed go by in slow motion. Joy grabbed her belt and slammed her shoulder into the rotting door, ignoring the pain of bone crashing into wood. It swung open after two tries and she ran down the stairs, tripping and almost falling down the last five in her hurry. Then she shoved open the front door, ran across the porch, and jumped down the porch steps.
She was about eighteen or twenty yards away when the bomb went off.
The resulting explosion was quite a sight to behold. The barn went up in flames. The dry grass nearby caught on fire. The haystack was consumed by licking flames and reduced to cinders in moments. Windows shattered and glass flew everywhere. Wood splinters flew through the air like deadly miniature spears. The force of the explosion threw Joy a dozen yards into the side of an old, rotting tool shed standing lopsidedly in the sinister shadows.
She hit the ground limply and lay still as the inferno behind her reached its flaming fingers high into the dark night sky.