Word Count: 565
Colton watched the video again, rewinding over and over. It made him queasy, but he had to make sure, convince himself.
The black and white footage was jerky, a frame shot every three seconds, only two minutes of footage, six minutes total. It seemed like much longer than that at the time, lasting for hours instead of moments.
He found himself as he left the stadium, the crowd celebrating their victory churning to one side. Flags and pennants waved madly, footballs flying everywhere.
Soccer balls, he corrected himself. He’d been living in Spain too long, apparently.
He found Renee, only twenty feet or so from him on the screen. She stopped to dig through her purse, one of hundreds of nameless faces. She pulled out a cell phone and answered, laughing, her face in profile. She hung up, clearly unable to hear in the noise.
Then she stopped, her hand still in her bag.
Colton shuddered. The man was standing in the middle of the crowd. He opened his coat, the bomb strapped to his chest. He lifted his hands in the air, to give the shrapnel the most chance of penetrating the people around him.
Renee took a flying leap and slammed into him, driving him to the ground, her hands wresting the trigger away from him. It was a miracle it wasn’t a dead switch. Just a button.
The man didn’t stand a chance as Renee punched and kicked him into submission, screaming, her strength born of fury and terror. The crowd wavered around her, a space opening up. Police shoved through the crowd, trying to reach what they thought was just a fight.
Then the screen went white, then static. It faded back slowly, gray smoke obscuring everything. People were running everywhere, many bleeding. Colton found himself lying on the cement, tangled in with the other survivors.
Renee sat up, holding her head. She stood shakily. She knelt down next to the attempted terrorist, shaking his collar. He didn’t move. Renne ran over to a stumbling policeman, dragging him back to the unconscious man. The policeman stared down at the bomb, then got on his radio. It was chaos after that.
Colton ejected the DVD. He shouldn’t even have it, but money bought all sorts of things he shouldn’t have. He tucked the disk back into its case and set it in his desk drawer.
She was lucky she wasn’t dead.
He was lucky he wasn’t dead.
He sighed, stretching, his body sore and achy every possible place it could be so and then some.
He’d heard the policemen’s mutters, about an American woman who had known about the attack. Colton had frozen in horror. He’d seen what had happened, her shouts drawing every eye. He knew the truth of it, that she was a hero, that she had saved dozens of lives.
That’s when he’d broken away from the men trying to get him onto a stretcher. He had to find her, to warn her. She’d not get any leniency from the Spanish Police. They were good, hardworking men and women fighting an increasingly desperate war against an unpredictable, merciless enemy. If they thought she’d had anything to do with it, she’d have been locked up for months, years maybe, while they tried to get her to confess.
Marrying her was the only way. And even that might fail.