"We're running out of time," said the anxious voice in her left ear.
"We're not running out of time. I'll be in and out of here in fifteen minutes," Bone assured the voice. Poppy had always been anxious. It's what pushed her out of the running for Agent status when they were trainees, but it made her the best eyes and ears on the outside. She noticed everything. That's why Bone chose her for this mission. That and the fact that she was the closest thing she had to a friend. Poppy continued to share- Bone could hear her pacing the length of the van- as she picked the lock of the entrance to the safe.
"Security knows there's been a breach in the building," Poppy started. "But they don't know where yet. I estimated that it would take fifteen minutes for them to search the place, but security is denser than I expected. They probably anticipated an attempt, hence why I said that we're running out of time.Bone took in the information she was given silently. As the door clicked open, Bone replied. "We, is a bit of a strong word, isn't it." When her comment was met with silence, Bone threw down her backpack in front of the steel box, and got to work.
Blowing up safes was like her second language. She savored the work, seeing that there weren't many opportunities to explode a safe without destroying everything inside it. In this case, the single diamond inside would be perfectly safe. She stole a look of herself in the grey metal. Short tawny curls, thin, quick, fingers, and brown eyes ignited by excitement and determination. If she was honest with herself, there could have been a stuffed animal behind the safe and it would have been just as exiting to her. It only helped that her countries' nuclear codes were behind that door, engraved in a stolen jewel.
Soon enough, muscle memory took over, her favorite song playing in her head as she worked the safe. Cellophane between the door and the frame, soap down the funnel, blasting cap, wires, and battery in the cup, the nitroglycerin- all that was left to do was touch the wires to the battery. Bone crouched as far back as she could in the small, white room and brought the bright wires towards the battery.
The sound of success made her ears ring. A familiar banana scent filled the space and Bone coughed as she waved away the smoke and walked toward the open safe. She wasted no time, snatching the glass box, throwing her backpack over one shoulder, walking out of the safe room and- dodging bullets?
Bone swung her body to the left, using her weight to move swiftly across the room. Two bullets came for her in tandem and she was just quick enough to skirt them. Bone reached for her own gun, shooting out in front of her with a quickness that only desperation could bring. Two bodies dropped and the bullets stopped, giving Bone time to catch her breath. Poppy, she thought with a sick realization. She would have told her that they were this close. Her hideout was just across the street of the building. She'd been made. Her initial exit now filling with bodies, Bone pulled her backpack off her shoulder, grabbed a Phillips- Head from it, and made quick work of unscrewing the air vent above her.
"Poppy? Pops?" She cried out, pushing down the lump in her throat. Tears threatened to blind her from the screws and seal her fate in this God forsaken place.
"It's alright, Bone. I'm here, just a little bit indisposed," she said with a tired laugh. Bone could hear her pain. "Who knew that bullet wounds through the stomach could hurt this much?" A dark joke to make her feel better. It didn't work. Desperate, Bone pulled the vent down, the last two screws giving in.
"D- Did it hit any organs, Pops?" Two more footsteps approached. She shot them down before their last step.
"I don't think I'd be talking to you if it did." She thinks she's funny.
"Okay, good," she said as she pulled herself into the air vent. "I'm coming to get you. Just stay alive a little longer."
"No," she said with some difficulty. Bone could hear her breathing become labored. "They want to draw you out, it's why they didn't kill me. You have to finish the mission." Bone felt cold. This was not supposed to happen. She was the Agent. She was the one who faced death everyday because she chose it. Poppy was supposed to live, not her. Her heart was beating hard now, it was the only thing she could hear for a moment as she shimmied across the vent.
"Poppy, I'm coming to get you," was all she could say. Poppy coughed and it sounded wet. Blood. She imagined it pooling all around her on the gross van floor and her stomach lurched.
"The keys to the other car are in your back left pocket. We're not arguing about this."
"Yes we are," Bone protested.
"You're running out of time," Poppy said evenly. She had never sounded this calm in her life.
"So are you," Bone choked out. She'd never sounded this desperate.
"It looks like we both are, B."
"This wasn't supposed to happen," Bone said softly to herself.
"No, no it wasn't," she agreed. "Tell me you're not coming, B. Say it out loud." Her voice was getting smaller. There was no saving her. She reached a fork in the vents and paused.
"I'm not coming," she said and turned left, towards the garage exit.
"Good," she said with a smile that Bone imagined. "Now go save the world from nuclear warfare."
She didn't say anything else after that and Bone couldn't hear her breath anymore. She was gone.
Bone pushed through in the darkness, hot tears and sweat mixing together. By now, security would be prowling all over the perimeter, especially the potential exits.
It didn't matter. She would get out of here. She would do it because Poppy told her to and she wasn't going to let her down again.