Outside In

Outside In

Page 36


“Good or bad?” Riley asked. I recognized the tight tension in his voice.

Bubba Boom ignored him. “Trella, I need to see where the second wire on the left ends.”

All the wires were covered in black. I pointed to my guess. “This one?”

“No. One over. That’s it,” he said when I touched the next wire.

Running a finger along it, I followed it until the end and repositioned the mirror. I rubbed my sweaty palms on my uniform.

“Well?” Riley asked.

“I’m thinking.”

“Eight minutes left,” I said.

“Not helping. Riley, I need a wipe board to draw out the circuit.”

“Emek’s office,” I called, remembering the neat stack of them on the corner of his desk.

The desire to scream at him to hurry lodged in my throat. His pounding feet faded then returned. Through the gap in the machinery, I watched Bubba Boom draw on the board. Riley peered over his shoulder. Dark gray sweat stains covered his gray shirt and strands of damp hair clung to the side of his face.

Bubba Boom instructed me to move the mirror a few more times. He discussed the circuits with Riley as they figured out how to cut off power. I clamped both hands over my lips to keep quiet. The need to urge them to move faster filled my mouth and pushed against my teeth.

Finally Bubba Boom told me to cut the wire I had traced for him. I placed the wire in the cutters and drew in a deep breath.

“Stop!” Riley yelled. He argued with Bubba Boom. “Trell, you need to cut that wire and the one on the other end at the exact same time,” he said.

I found the other wire. “This one?”

“Yes,” Riley said.

“No,” Bubba Boom said. “He’s wrong. Cut only the wire I told you.”

“No, don’t. I’m right, Trell. He’s going to get us all killed.”

My fingers refused to work. Who to trust? Bubba Boom, the explosives expert or Riley, the electrical expert. Less than two minutes left. I listened to Bubba Boom and cut his wire.

The numbers stopped counting down, but they flashed red. The box started to beep.

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