I twisted my hair into a ponytail, tucking it under my cap and lowering the brim. Then I took a final look around the room full of strangers, wondering which of them would help me escape, and which would try to kill me.
I had to escape, with- or without- their help. Or I was sure to die. I looked over to a man in the corner who was dressed in a suit, talking into an earpiece and looking over in my direction. He put his finger to his ear, listening, and then nodded once. He looked at another man across the room and nodded again. My cover was blown.
They both started walking over to me very casually, going around the other people in the room who were clueless to what was going on. I looked behind me. Three more men in suits were making their way towards me, weaving through the crowd. I needed to find a way out- now. I looked around, and instantly saw my way out of this place. The air vents. Perfect.
I glanced around again, estimating the distance between me and my pursuers. If I made a break for it now, I could probably make it. But am I really going to take the risk? Well, my hands are pretty much tied.
I started to walk towards the air vents as casually as possible. The men behind me began to walk faster, pushing past people. That’s when I took the risk. I broke into a run, jumping up on the huge, fifty foot long dinner table, and ran, knocking over- and breaking- priceless crystal plates and wine glasses. I heard one of the men shout, and I knew I couldn’t turn back now.
One of the men came up beside me at the table, matching my speed. He lunged over and tried to grab me by my feet, but I jumped, landing on his back. He made a grunting sound, and then I jumped off of him, hitting the floor and continuing to run. More and more people began to stare, gasping, shocked looks slowly making their way across everyone’s faces. But that was the last thing I was worried about. I had to focus on getting out.
Another one of my pursuers approached me head on. Big mistake. He got ready to grab and restrain me, but I was ready by the time our bodies made contact. He tried to grab me, but I ducked, sliding around him. When he realized he hadn’t grabbed me, the turned around, only to find my boot colliding with the side of his head. Blood spat from his mouth, and he fell to the ground, not moving. I heard more gasps, and some people rushing to get out of the room, creating a diversion for me to make it to the air vents in time.
I rushed past some of the bystanders, finally making it to the air vent on the side of the wall. I looked behind me to see the men getting closer. I braced myself for the kick when my foot made contact with the vent. It burst open, making a loud noise. I glanced back one last time to see the men a few yards away from me. I kneeled down and crawled inside the tiny opening. When inside the vent, it expanded enough for me to crawl on my hands and knees.
I crawled a few feet from the opening, then I turned to look behind me. One of my pursuers was yelling at me, trying to fit inside the vent. I smirked, beginning to laugh triumphantly. He would never fit inside the vent. For right now, I was safe. For right now, no one could get me.
I continued to crawl down the vent, listening and waiting to see if anyone was near me. I came up to a ladder and went up, leading to more vents. Well, it had to go somewhere, right?
I crawled ten feet from the ladder when the ground under me vanished, and I fell from the vent, hitting the cold, hard ground with my shoulder. The pain in my chest and shoulder throbbed, and my head was bleeding. I coughed and sat up into a kneeling position, clenching my shoulder. I looked up at the sound of someone clapping.
“Well done, Ms. Walker. Very well done,” said a man sitting in a chair three times his size. “You made it past my best men. That is impressive.”
I glared at the man, knowing exactly who he was. “Where’s Beth?” I demanded.
His smile got wider. “I have no idea what you are talking about, my dear girl.”
“Like hell you do! Where is she?! Where is my sister?!” I yelled, trying to get up from my kneeling position.
His smile faltered, and his eyes grew cold and serious. “I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to answer that, Ms. Walker. And if I were you, I would stop trying to look. You don’t want to get yourself killed, now do you?” he said, his wicked smile reappearing.