“You have five minutes.”
The words still rang in her head two minutes and seventeen seconds later. The clock on the wall told her in ominous red numbers of the swift approach of her deadline. A single tear appeared in the corner of her eye, but she dared not take the precious second to wipe it away. She needed every spare moment.
“I can't do this!” Her whisper still managed to come with all the force of an agonized scream. It mattered not a wit if she screamed; she was the only one left. Well. Except for him. The torture monger who watched her every move over the past three minutes and two seconds.
Three minutes! Her mind raced to find some solution, some way out, some way to appease her glowering companion.
She hovered in one place, her eyes and mind searching desperately for the light of inspiration. “Please,” she pleaded, “Just let me go.”
He merely stared back at her with an unchanging expression.
Four minutes. Twenty-nine seconds. Thirty.
“No! Please! Just a little more time. Surely there is a compassionate bone somewhere in your body?” Desperation drove her and she nearly lunged at him. It would do no good, though. He wasn't going to change.
At four minutes and forty seconds, a faint glow lit in her eyes and she began to work furiously, praying to a God she didn't believe in that she might make it.
At 4:59, she hit send.
“Brilliant,” he intoned. “Now you may go home; have a good weekend.”