Ten Seconds to Breathe

The tension wound my body tighter and tenser with each tick of the clock. I started worriedly at the red numbers illuminating my face as they rapidly counted down. I knew that if I hesitated, it wasn't just counting down to an explosion, but the inevitable end of my life, and maybe everyone's in the apartment building.

I raised a palm slick with sweat to try and clear some of the sweat gathering clammy on my forehead and tried to remember how to diffuse a bomb. It had been ten years since my days in the bomb squad, and I could no longer remember whether it was the blue wire, or the yellow on this particular bomb. Shadows hunched throughout the dank basement like expectant goblins, waiting.

Finally as the clock reached the last minute, I knew I had to do something, the only thing I could do.


A second later my wire-cutters had snapped the yellow wire in two. After two seconds, the digital lights displaying the countdown changed. There was a slight click somewhere inside the apparatus, and the countdown resumed again. This time with only ten seconds left, each one stretching into an eternity as I awaited my end.

Ten seconds left.

I'd failed. I had no time to run, barely even time to think. I sat in stunned shock.


Part of my mind still expected to see the numbers dial down to zero as they should.


Regret cut through my heart. I knew I would never see my family again.


Realizing I'd forgotten to breathe, I exhale, a whoosh of air filling the silent room.




I silently bid goodbye to my wife and daughter, hoping they will get by okay when I'm gone.


Almost out of time, I rush to wrap my body around the bomb, hoping to minimalize the damage done by the blast.


I find myself praying, hard. Hoping that God will except my tattered corpse into heaven.


Nerves fried, I begin to scream.


An explosion fills my ears, followed swiftly by silence as I meet my end.