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Wish Upon A.....

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: BoMoWriCha Prompts


Written for this week's BoMoWriCha Daily Challenge.

Submitted: August 20, 2018

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Submitted: August 20, 2018

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A A A


 

 

 

Wish Upon A....

To say that Matti Andrews was nervous, would be an understatement. She’d sit down, stand up, pace around then sit again. Over and over again. She couldn’t do it. No way. There had to be a way out but if there was she could not see it, no matter how hard she looked.

Up on her feet again, she’d have a cup of coffee.

No, forget the coffee, this night called for something stronger. There was a bottle of wine she’d bought to stash away for a rainy day. Well, it might not be raining, but she was definitely in need of some kind of stress relief. There, right at the back of the cupboard. She grabbed a glass and poured herself a large measure of dry red wine.

It didn’t help though, did not relieve the pressure that she felt. If anything her terror just increased. Looking out of her window she could see that the sky was now dark. There, twinkling up in the blackening sky was a bright star. Was it worth a wish?

They wouldn’t work through glass though, would they? Wishes? She’d need to go outside, stand beneath it and wish her hardest.

 

We have a suspicious message coming through. Follow-up advised. The message reads; I wish the world would end tonight. See co-ordinates and wait for further instructions.

 

Two glasses of wine later, Matti felt a bit less anxious. Amazing how half a bottle of wine can change one’s outlook on things, make a daunting prospect a bit less....daunting.

There was a lot riding on this. It could change her entire life. Okay, maybe that was a bit of an over-statement, but if she could pull it off, there would definitely be a promotion. Perhaps others, seeing her ability would then seek her out, try to tempt her to work for them instead. It was a heady prospect, being sought out, being in demand. If only she could pull it off.

The star was still up in the sky, still brightly twinkling. Was it bad luck to make two wishes? Would one cancel out the other for she was starting to think that she’d been too hasty in making the first one? If the world did end tonight, she’d miss out her chance to shine.

Slightly unsteady on her feet now, Matti made her way back outside and fixed her eyes on that star. Tempted as she was to close her eyes, she kept them in focus and made her wish.

Once finished Matti locked up, and put the remainder of the wine in the fridge. It was tempting to have one more glass, but she’d regret it in the morning if she did.

 

High priority alert. Second message received from same co-ordinates as before. Message reads: Please let it work. Request instant Agent deployment to ascertain risk of apocalyptic action.

Repeat, this is a High Priority Alert. Code Red is now in force.

 

Matti passed the night in a feverish mixture of dreams and nightmares. People cheered her, congratulated her. Champagne flowed all around, so much so that she was swimming in a river of it. Then a gaping hole appeared, drawing the champagne, together with a floundering Matti, towards it.

A vortex! That’s what she was being sucked down in to and she could hear voices jeering, verbally pushing her closer to descending in to that big and deep black hole.

Matti woke in a tangle of covers. All her thrashing against the tide of champagne draining into the vortex had tied her sheet in knots. Her mouth felt like the bottom of a bird cage and she could tell before even sitting up that she was going to have on hell of a headache. Oh, well, that’s what she got for drinking cheap red wine.

She need not look her best until later, when it would be time to put all of her plans in to action. She’d pack up her best clothes, the one’s she had selected for this night’s operation. Carefully though, otherwise they’d look worse than if she’d worn them all day.

Same with her make-up. Just a touch of it here and there, trying to make herself appear slightly human before she stepped outside the door and joined the bulk of humanity that seemed to flood the transport systems.

No time for more than a quick cup of coffee, then another to wash down a couple of painkillers. She picked up her bag and headed towards the subway.

 

Agent Alan Clarke reporting. Suspect has left her house and is heading towards the subway station. Am keeping my distance but am now in pursuit.

Request check on co-ordinates. The subject in question does not fit any of our profiles for either terrorism or incitement. Neither does she appear to be armed in any way, although she is carrying a bag.

Co-ordinates confirmed. Suspect is under Code Red Threat status. Do not lose visual contact.

Copy that. Will be out of contact as boarding the subway.

 

Why, Matti asked herself, was it always on days the she felt in need of more space, that the train seemed extra crowded. There were no empty seats to be found, and hardly any free straps to grab on to either. She placed her bag firmly in on hand, then reached up to grab hold of the strap.

Another hand was reaching for it at the same moment. It belonged to a man that had only just made it on to the train at her stop. He was taller than her, could reach higher. Matti was about to move her hand away and lean against a seat for support when he spoke.

We can share. You hold the lower part and I’ll grab the strap further up.”

He had a kind enough voice, did not seem in any way threatening, so Matti nodded her agreement and reattached her grip to the piece of hanging plastic.

At least there were no hold-ups. Sometimes it could take an extra hour, with signal failures, breakdowns or ‘accidents’ but this morning the train pulled into her station right on time. Should she take that as a good omen? Matti smiled to herself, no point in dismissing a sign of luck, not when she was so in need of it, so yes, she’d take it as a positive sign.

It was kind of strange that the man that had shared her strap got off at the same stop as her. She’d have thought nothing of it if she had not had to push her way past him to reach the open door. It was almost as though he was following her.

A thought struck her. What if HE was one of her competitors? The idea that she might have been standing next to someone that could potentially ruin her plans was enough to bring all her nerves, all her anxiety, flooding back.

She hurried along the side-walk towards the office, so deep in her thoughts that she did not even notice him as he trailed along behind her.

 

Agent Alan Clarke reporting. Successful in trailing suspect to her place of employment. Unless this is a decoy and she has left from the rear entrance. Do you want me to check? Over.

Maintain position. Another Agent has been deployed; send co-ordinates and he will cover the rear of the building.

Question; are you sure this is not some kind of mistake. I engaged suspect in conversation during commute and she does not seem to be the type to be involved in the imminent ending of the world. Over.

You have your orders, Agent. Please follow them and remain vigilant. It is only in cartoons that the bad guys are so easily recognizable.

Alright, Sir. I still think this is some kind of a mix-up. Will remain in position outside the building for now, awaiting further instructions.

 

Matti sat at her desk, typed in the instructions to bring up her plans on to the screen. Where was her confidence when she needed it? Not in her head, that was for certain. All she could see was faults, holes. Could any of them be realistically fixed at such a later date?

Matti made a couple of changes, frowned then deleted them to return to the original outline. Last minute changes were never the best, and sometimes derailed the plan entirely. She had seen it happen so many times, and maybe it was a lesson she should learn from.

She opened up other files, tried to get her mind to focus on a different thing, letting that plan go for a while. It still sat there in the back of her mind, niggling away with the ‘what-if’s’ and ‘buts’. The time dragged so slowly, it felt as though lunch would never arrive.

Often she’d work through lunch, staying in the office and making do with whatever snack she managed to grab. Not today! Today she would go out to the coffee bar along the street, grab herself something nice and tasty. A treat to say ‘you’ll do it’ might bring at least a tiny bit of optimism back.

 

Agent Alan Clarke reporting. Suspect leaving office, am in pursuit. Kind of worried that she will spot me, so I’m keeping back.

Code Red, remember. DO NOT lose this suspect!

I can still see her. Suspect heading in to Cafe ‘n’ Ate. Will be joining a group, and taking up position inside.

 

The pastry that had looked so appetizing on the counter now sat in front of Matti on a plate. It was untouched. Her nerves were by now in such a state that she was simply feeling too nauseous to eat a thing. The coffee was strong, bitter, but it washed another couple of pain-killers down her throat.

She checked her phone for messages. None there. Was that good or bad? Not especially unusual but today of all days it would have been nice to have heard from someone. Just a little bit of personal backing could make doing these things so much easier.

Wasn’t that the man from the train? He was standing there at the coffee bar, ordering his drink. Yes, she was sure it was him. Was he following her, trying to unnerve her? That was pretty low tactics but then in a dog-eat-dog world there was no knowing how low people would stoop.

She’d get up, walk over and challenge him, Matti decided, but by the time she had made up her mind there was not a sign of him. She’d probably imagined the entire thing because he was nowhere inside the coffee bar now.

 

Agent Alan Clarke reporting. Suspect still inside. Almost spotted me so I’m on the street with a coffee-to-go and a clear view of her through the window. The more I watch this suspect, the more convinced I am that she is no threat to world peace, or to planetary existence.

That is not your call, Agent. She has been judged a threat and you will maintain surveillance until told to stop. Understood.

Yes, Sir.

Good. Now it has been decided that you should infiltrate her place of work. The clock is ticking and you need to keep a closer eye on her.

You want me to enter her place of employment? To spy on her?

That’s about the gist of it, Agent Clarke. And be prepared to press the panic button should the need arise. Agents are in position to respond at a moment’s notice.

 

What, Matti thought, was the point of her sitting at her desk pretending to work. She pulled up the file again, studied the words she had to say, the buttons she had to press. Nothing must go wrong.

If she lost this, made a mess, she was not sure that she’d be able to show her face again, even if the office should still manage to exist. It had been touch-and-go for the last year and failure today could be the final tipping point.

She’d give up the pretence, go and get herself ready instead. Maybe by looking the part, she might be able to sway things that bit easier to go her way. As she made her way towards the restrooms, Matti saw him. It was him! The cheek of the man coming in to her place of work to spy on her.

She hurried back to her computer, shut it down so if he tried he’d not be able to get access to her files without her password. And no one, least of all a stranger, would ever guess that!

Heading back towards the restrooms, Matti could see he was now across the other side of the office. As she looked at him, he looked up, their eyes met, and she knew he knew she’d recognised him.

 

Agent Alan Clarke reporting. She’s recognized me, knows that I have been following her. Request replacement.

No can do. Not at this late stage.

With all due respect, Sir, might this not throw the entire operation off course? Hers as well as ours?

That is a risk we will have to take. Whatever she is planning is imminent. Stay with her and stay close.

Yes, Sir.

 

It was a very different Matti that returned to her desk. She had changed her clothes for some that gave her a much more professional look. She had changed her shoes to, into ones with higher heels, making herself look taller. She had spent a good bit of time on her make-up, trying for an under-stated but also immaculate look. And finally her hair. Gone was the loose pony-tail she favoured to be replaced by what she hoped was a passable chignon.

Matti hoped her look disguised her nerves. She had to appear as though she believed in it whole-heartedly. Half an hour to wait, thirty revolutions of that constantly moving hand on the clock.

Logging back on to her computer she retrieved all the files, checked and double-checked that everything was where it should be and then she was ready. Five minutes! She’d have to wait them out – it would not do to seem too eager, or too desperate.

 

Agent Alan Clarke reporting. Subject is on the move inside the building. Good idea to place me in here, I’d never have recognized her now.

She’s in disguise?

No, Sir, I didn’t say that. She’s smarter now, more professional-looking. Whatever is going down is about to go down now, I’d say. I still think you’re wrong; I can’t see her as being any kind of threat at all.

Well, Agent Clarke, I’m glad to say that the decision is out of your hands. All Agents are in position and ready to act.

 

Matti had almost finished her presentation. She’d not stumbled over her words, had not mumbled once. In spite of how she was trembling inside her hands had maintained their steadiness. Now to the final line and then she’d find out if she’d succeeded or if it had all been for nothing.

She opened her mouth, said in a loud, clear voice; “It will be explosive!”

The screen in front showed a firework display, but that was not what drew those that were presents’ attention. They all stared in open mouthed astonishment as the doors around the conference room flew open and men and women wearing flak jackets all shouted; “Freeze!”

Silence followed by confusion, followed by more silence until the man at the head of the table leaped to his feet, punching the air. “Yes! I love it! The campaign is yours!”

But...” Matti began, before she felt her boss tread lightly on her foot.

Maybe there would be some way she could implement this into the ad campaign. The cost would go up a bit, unless they could cut back in other ways.

 

Agent Alan Clarke reporting. It was all a big mistake, an advertising campaign and pre-competitive nerves.

Excellent news, Agent Clarke. Code red rescinded. You may all return back to base.

Um, Sir, can I make a request?

Go ahead, Agent Clarke.

I’d like to remain for an extra day, just to make sure. Tie up some loose ends...

Request understood, Agent Clarke. One day’s leave is granted.

 

So you were trailing me. I didn’t imagine the entire thing.”

Yep, afraid so. Doesn’t say much for my skills though, does it.”

Oh, I don’t know, Alan. Maybe on some level you wanted me to notice you.” Matti sat in her kitchen, sharing what was left of the wine with Alan Clarke.

Now, tell me again what you did that night. Maybe we can figure out what started this whole mess.”

Matti thought back to the previous night. “I remember being sick with nerves and wishing on a star that the world would end. But later I changed my mind and wished for success instead.”

Agent Clarke looked up into the night sky. “Show me the star, if you can still see it.”

Oh, it’s always up there somewhere. Look, that bright one, just over there.”

Alan Clarke smiled, nodded. “That explains it then. That is no star. It’s a satellite and it picked your wishes up as being threats.”

Matti frowned, then smiled. “Well, I’m kind of glad it did, you know, Alan.”

Me too. Not least because you won the contract.”

Moving that bit closer they both froze as something began to vibrate in Alan Clarke’s jacket pocket. “Sorry, Matti. I have to answer this.”

Agent Clake moved off to the side and looked at the screen.

 

Code Red Alert! Code Red Alert. All Agents leave is suspended. Report asp to Base.

 

I’m sorry. I’d love to spend a bit more time with you, but duty calls.”

Well, I’m sorry too, Alan. It’s been so nice meeting you. Will I see you again?”

Do you want to?” Agent Clarke asked, worried that he would receive a negative answer.

Matti felt her face flush but she nodded. “And I guess that you’ll always know where I am.”

Oh, yes. See you soon, Matti.” He leaned towards her, gave her a quick kiss, then disappeared in to the distance.

 

(3030 words)

 

 

 


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