"That's from the Long Walk the year before last," Olson said with grim satisfaction. "Kid was so scared he just froze up at nine o'clock."
They considered the horror of it silently.
"Just couldn't move. He took his three warnings and then at 9:02 AM they gave him his ticket. Right there by the starting post."
"I don't know." Garraty paused. "I'll tell you something though. It's never going to be the same for me. The time limit thing. Even when you're walking with no warnings, there's only two minutes between you and the inside of a cemetery fence. That's not much time."
He was being second-warned, but of course he was beyond hearing, and when his two minutes were up they shot him like a dog.
By quarter of nine we'll be in Augusta, Garraty thought. Just a hop, skip, and a jump from there to Freeport. Depression dropped over him. What then? Two minutes you'll have to see her, unless you should miss her in the crowd-God forbid. Then what? Fold up?
The cramp loosened. Blood flowed back into the muscle, making it tingle with needles and pins, making it warm. The blond soldier with the remotely handsome face put away the pocket chronometer. His lips moved soundlessly as he counted down the last few seconds.
Someone up ahead was given a third warning and Garraty thought, I don't have any! I could sit down for a minute or a minute and a half.