Author: TazRaven (Sara)
I was screwed. The large man stood in front of me, a hand grasping each side of the shirt he'd so gracefully ripped open, his eyes cemented to my chest. I couldn't talk, couldn't move, couldn't think. The only thing running through my head was "oh, shit."
"What the fuck?!" he asked again, as though this time he would understand the situation. He didn't get the chance. I saw it a moment before it reached its destination, then automatically jumped to the side, pulling my shirt from his grasp. The thick glass vase landed solidly against his right temple. I saw his eyes roll up into his head, and then he was on the ground, collapsed face down on the floor. The vase fell as well, landing with a thump on his back, before rolling off the uneven surface and onto the beige carpet. And then, things were still.
I pulled my gaze from the unconscious lump on the ground and looked up, stopping only when I reached frightened blue eyes staring into my own, before they dropped to my chest. "Shit," I whispered.
Neither one of us moved, save for breathing, as she stared at my binding. Very slowly, I saw her head lift and her eyes met mine again, this time shining with unshed tears. "Will?" I heard her say, her voice shaking with what I knew had to be terror and most likely confusion.
"Tara, I'm so sorry, I know I should have told you, but I-"
"Will?" she asked again. "I don't understand."
I shook my head. "Listen, I know I should have told you, but-"
"Stop!" Tears started to fall down her face. "Just, stop. I don't... I don't know what..."
I moved forward a step, only to have Tara move backwards one. I stopped moving. "Tara, please, I can explain this, just let me-"
"Just let you what?" she screamed, the sudden outburst startling me. "Trick me? Lie to me? Tell me what the fuck is going on!"
"I can't!" I yelled back, losing my composure. "I can't right now, because we have to get out of here." I took a deep breath and pointed at the unconscious man on the floor. "He's out for now, but we need to get out of here. I know I have to explain, and I know you're gonna hate me, but right now, we just need to go. Alright?"
Tara nodded once, but I knew the conversation was far from over. I blew out another breath. When I'd been given the night off, this was definitely not what I'd had in mind. I looked down and saw that my shirt was still open. Tara followed my gaze and quickly looked away. Closing my shirt as best I could by wrapping it around me, I cleared my throat and bent down. "Help me roll him over, will ya?"
She nodded again and bent down, bracing herself against his shoulder while I shoved against his hip. We somehow managed to push what must have been two-hundred and fifty pounds over. I quickly unbuttoned his shirt, pulling it off of his arms and out from underneath him. Tara once again looked away as I pulled off the tattered remains of my shirt and replaced it with a shirt that could probably have fit two of me in it.
"Alright," I said, as I finished buttoning the giant's shirt. "Let's get out of here."
I walked to the door, Tara following closely behind me, and turned the knob, cringing as the rusted metal protested with a slight squeak. When no one came running in with a gun to shoot me, I pulled on the knob, opening the door just enough to see part of the hallway. Satisfied that we were alone for the moment, I opened the door and stepped out into the hall. Once again, I didn't see or hear anyone. Tara followed me, softly closing the door behind her.
"We need to take the stairs," I whispered. "The elevator guy probably works for Malone."
"What about when we get down there?" she asked as we started to move to the door leading to the staircase. "It's not like any of those people were jumping at the chance to help me."
I nodded and pulled open the door. We slipped inside and started down the stairs, our steps echoing in the empty corridor. "Yeah, not the kindest bunch. We'll figure it out when we get there." We walked quickly, despite my constant looking backwards to check if anyone was following us. Fifteen floors later, we reached to bottom. I looked through the window, and breathed a sigh of relief when I didn't see anyone. "I think they're gone for now," I whispered.
I opened the door and poked my head out, before stepping out entirely. "C'mon," I said. "I think they're all asleep or-"
"Run!" I shouted to Tara. She sprinted past me, out of the stairwell, and into the lobby, with me right on her heels. I looked to the right and saw the other man who'd brought me in. He stood there for a moment as we continued to dart through the lobby, before sparking to life as Tara reached the double doors. He reached his hand into his jacket pocket and I turned my head forward. "Keep going!" I yelled, not taking any more time to check on his progress. She slammed into one of the doors, forcing it open as she ran. I banged into the other one, pushing it open as I heard the crack of the gun firing. The glass door shattered, raining shards all over me.
"Will!" Tara screamed. I saw her stop for a moment and look back at me.
"Keep going!" I shouted, never once slowing my speed. She turned back around and together we sprinted through the dark street. I pulled ahead of her and led her into an alleyway. Spotting a dark alcove filled with cardboard boxes, I dove for it, landing facedown on a thankfully soft pile of papers right behind the pile of boxes. I felt Tara land on top of me, pushing the air from my lungs. "Sorry," I heard her whisper in my ear. We fell silent.
Footsteps sounded on the streets, reverberating on the concrete. Neither of us moved, despite my uncomfortable position.
"-Fuck are they?!" I heard a voice yell. It was the man who'd shot at me in the lobby. The footsteps grew closer, throwing echoes down the alleyway.
"Beats me," I heard someone say, as a shudder worked its way up my spine. The voice was close, maybe twenty feet away. "How the fuck could you lose 'em?" Ten feet.
"I didn't lose them, you idiot!" the shooter growled. "It was that jackass, Murphy. It musta been."
"Ok, Jimmy, ok. No need to get your underwear all bunched up." I almost jumped as I heard him kick a cardboard box. It flew into the air and landed on top of Tara. And still, we didn't move. "They're not here."
"The fuck they aren't," Jimmy said. "They must've gone the other way." I heard the footsteps start off in the other direction.
The man right next to us ran after him. "Fine, but if you think I'm taking the blame for this-" His voice trailed off as he distanced himself from our hiding place.
"Will," Tara whispered into my ear. "I think they're gone."
"Yeah," I said as best as I could with her weight still on top of me. While I didn't mind her close proximity, having the breath forced from my lungs and my nose buried in a pile of dirty papers wasn't pleasant. I took in a lungful of air as I felt the weight lift from my back. It felt as though I hadn't taken in a breath since we started running. I pushed myself up and stood on exceedingly shaky legs. Getting shot at had not been the most relaxing experience.
"What?" I looked at Tara from where I was standing on unsteady feet.
She stepped over the boxes. "Judith. My cousin. We'll go to her place." Lending me a hand, she helped me over the boxes. "We'll just go take a train to her farm. It's about two hours outside the city. We should be safe there for a while."
I stood in the dark and looked at her, wondering how she could possibly be that calm after everything that had happened. She must have read my mind.
"Look, I'm fine. Yes, that was an unsettling experience, but now it's over, which means it's time to go." She looked down, and I followed her gaze. Our hands were still together. She dropped my hand and we started toward the train station.