The briefcase was heavy in his hand and the gun tucked into his waistband felt awkward. He moved quickly down the street, walking briskly but trying hard to appear as if nothing was amiss. Only the sweat on his forehead spoke to the tension he felt, the beads of moisture born of the intense adrenaline rush boiling inside of him. He concentrated, forcing himself to appear relaxed and only barely managing the feat.
The faint jingle of the briefcase rose with each awkward step, and each time he was certain a passerby had heard, and that they knew. They knew what he’d done, what he’d taken with the gun leaning awkwardly out of his blue jeans. Any moment he expected to hear the shouts, the pounding feet of pursuit, the sirens of the inevitable as he was hunted down, hauled in, harangued and hanged.
He closed his eyes to calm himself, but the silent scream of the clerk appeared to torture him immediately. He stumbled, earning a loud jingle from the briefcase as a couple passerby gave him an odd look. Pausing, he adjusted his shirt before continuing with the same forcibly-restrained gait. The jingling grew louder in his mind as he neared his destination, placing his hand on the door handle. He pulled, and had a moment of panic when the door held fast before he realized that he had not yet unlocked it. He pulled out his key with shaking hands and inserted it into the lock on the fifth try, turning it quickly and pulling at the door. He ducked inside and sprinted up the stairs, suddenly safe from the prying eyes of the outside world.
He rounded a corner on the third floor landing and, after some more fumbling, slammed the apartment door shut behind him. With a heavy sigh he leaned back against the shut portal, sliding down the varnished wooden surface until he hit the ground with a thump, legs splayed out carelessly in front of himself. He’d done it! He’d gotten away with it! He listened closely but heard no sirens, no telltale pounding of feet, or angry demands to search the premises.
Part one done, he reached into his pants pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He took another deep breath, quieting his quivering body a bit further, and cleared his throat. Would they answer? What would happen now? How was he supposed to guarantee his safety? These questions haunting his mind, he dialed the number he had been given and put the receiver to his ear. He heard the click on the other end of the line, and spoke into the silence.
“It’s done. Now give me back my son.”