The Grave Countdown

Pausing backstage Ryan pulled the bagged letter out of his coat. Forensics had examined the thing already, but he never wanted to contaminate evidence. He quickly reread the mismatched letters, yearning for some new insight. Unfortunately, it revealed nothing new. Ryan thought about how it had been delivered to the station earlier that morning by a private courier. Yet it was just another dead end, that another detective already found.

Though even with the dead end it wasn’t the end of his investigation, not when there was a bomb threat. These investigations were always a high priority, and with this one, it felt like the entire precinct had been pulled into the frantic search. By the time he arrived, the initial search had already been done, finding nothing. But the note detailed everything from the address to the time of detonation. There was one other thing on the letter expressly forbidding the police to try and evacuate either the location and surrounding blocks, or the explosion would be earlier.

There was an off chance that it was a hoax, but Ryan didn’t think it possible not from the letter’s tone. He put the note back and continued examining the backstage, wandering towards the dressing rooms. When Ryan found the first door he was puzzled when he saw it closed, he quickly knocked. While he waited for an answer, he waived one of the officers over asking, “Was this room searched?”

“I’m not sure.”

As Ryan turned the knob, he ordered the officer, “If it had been it should have been left open, find out if it was searched.”

“Yes, sir.”

Ryan opened the door calling out, “This is Detective Graves, is anyone here?”

When there was no response, Ryan searched for a light switch flipping it once located by his fingers. From the state of the room he knew, it had escaped the initial search. Ryan didn’t care how that happened, so he began his visual search. After the brief visual examination, Ryan stalked over to the bookshelf and instinctively picked up one of the numerous shot glasses adorning one of the many shelves. He looked at the clear glass and shrugged his shoulders before returning it to its shelf.

Looking at the floor, Ryan noticed some scratch marks running out from underneath the bookshelf. The detective cocked his head, and went down to his knee and examined the damaged wood. It was grooved as if something had been carving the wood slowly, he rubbed the front edge of the bookshelf and felt the offending edge. Ryan stood up and pulled the bookshelf away from the wall, exposing a cavity in the wall. When he looked around the bookshelf, he saw the bomb, and as the materials flowed under the drywall, Ryan knew it was larger than what he could see.

Turning around to call for a member of the bomb squad, when he caught sight of something swinging towards his head. Ducking down the improvised weapon to swung over his head ruffling his hair in its wake. Looking up Ryan caught sight of his assailant, one of the actors in the play. The actor looked from the detective to the exposed bomb and with a calmness that shouldn’t have been there, the actor lashed out exclaiming, “It doesn’t matter you can’t stop my righteous war!”

Ryan saw the strike and knew he wouldn’t be able to escape it and was tensing his body to absorb it when he heard a pop. Then he saw the actor’s body convulse as electricity was pumped into in from a taser. As the actor fell, Ryan saw the officer he had sent away earlier. Ryan took a small breath then muttered, “You have great timing, officer.”

“What’s going on?”

“I found the bomb and the terrorist. Now go get the bomb squad!” Ryan exclaimed as he rushed to secure the actor. Once secured Ryan dragged the bomber to the far corner of the room members of the bomb squad flooded in to disarm the explosive. But Ryan asked, “Have we started evacuating the area?”

“We can’t…” one of the bomb squad members started.

Gesturing at the unconscious man Ryan exclaimed, “We have our guy, and believe me he’s a loaner.”

“Can’t risk it, sir.”

Ryan harumphed but relented, “Fine figure out how to disarm this thing.”

Ryan paced as he watched the bomb squad examine every exposed inch listening to every description. And from the tidbits he heard, there was no receiver nor a wire to connect it to the internet, so the bomb squad agreed to start the evacuation. With time expiring the lead tech found the crucial pair of wires, one would stop the bomb while the other would trigger it. Unfortunately, no one could agree on which one was which, so Ryan grabbed smelling salts and woke the bomber asking him which wire would safely disarm the bomb.

The bomber looked at the bomb and replied with the barest hint of a smile, “The black one.”

Ryan was puzzled at how quickly the bomber replied, so he squeezed the tech’s shoulder and examined the surface himself. Specifically, Ryan looked where the bomber had and noticed screws, “Unscrew those two screws.”

The bomber’s eyes took on a nervousness before protesting, “That would be…”

Ryan pulled out a roll of duct tape, removed a length then silenced the bomber. “Open it.”

The tech nodded and proceeded to remove the screws, exposing three wires. After a couple moments of examination, the tech announced that both of the previous cables would have detonated the bomb. Ryan nodded and asked, “Well which one of these will disarm it.”

“This one.” The tech answered, and the bomber tried to lunge towards the bomb but was quickly restrained by the other officers in the room.

“Cut it,” Ryan commanded. And the tech cut the indicated cable with a nod. Once the wire was split the police waited with bated breaths until the ticking clock powered off.