Opacus

cloudy_opacus.jpg

opacus

  1. Meteorology. (of a cloud) dense enough to obscure the sun or moon.

Time.

“It stops for no man,” is what they always say. Always moving forward. The equalizer of every human life.

It’s funny how it runs out on you when you feel you need it the most. But for Abi Branson, today couldn’t be one of those days.

She glanced at the clock. The traffic light had just turned red. Swarms of people filled the crosswalk. She needed to be parked and out of the car n the next seven minutes, if she was going to  save her son’s life.

Her palms gripped the steering wheel, sweaty within her leather gloves. She felt the pressure of time working against her and absentmindedly chewed her lower lip. As counter intiutive as it seemed, she needed to stay calm right now. That’s the first thing she learned decades ago. The more important and dangerous the mission, the calmer you have to be to be successfully complete it.

The stoplight turned green.

Abi made a quick right turn onto Constitution Avenue, making sure to drive only slightly over the speed limit. She didn’t want to raise anyone’s suspicions before dropping off the car. With a quick right turn onto 17th Street, Abi eyed the parking space that was waiting for her. As indicated a red bag hid the meter and a red and white No Parking sign was attached to the neck to prevent others from parking.

Within minutes Abi was parked. She placed the keys under the driver’s seat and grabbed her purse, exiting the vehicle. Tourists were everywhere. Everyone wanted to see the lighting of the White House Christmas tree, which would look even more stunning against the opacus night sky. Abi could feel the excitement in the air, but it wasn’t strong enough to drown out the anxiety churning her stomach.

In less than two hours this would all be over. She knew what she had to do.

Abi made the brisk walk down 17th, her bag heavy on her shoulder. She kept her arms tightly crossed as she wove her way around wandering walkers, even though no one would see how her hands were shaking violently at this point.

The turn toward the checkpoint came easily; she had done this hundreds of times before. Abi withdrew her badge from her purse and presented it to the guard. He checked the list and then took a double take as he looked her in the face.

“Myra, I haven’t seen you in forever!”

“Hey, Ed,” Abi said, receiving her badge back. “How’ve you been?”

“Good! I’m good! We’ve missed seeing you ’round here, though.”

“You miss my cookies, Ed,” Abi said with a light laugh.

“You here to see everything get lit up nice for Christmas?”

Abi smiled, glancing at the clock within the little structure that served as the check point station.

“Yes, Ed. I am,” Abi said.

In 45 minutes things would be lit, but everyone’s attention would be drawn to 17th street and she’d be that much closer to saving her son.

“Have fun, Myra!”

Abi turned and headed up to the steps and into the White House.

 

 

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