Chapter Five

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Today

It was stepping onto the broken glass on the floor as he stepped inside the third floor of the office that sent Scotty’s mind back to that morning when he was ten year old and his parents had been fighting, that his father slammed the door so hard that it broke the small nested door window.

There was something about the distinct crunch of the glass under his shoes that reminded him of the feel and sound of the glass crunching under his slippers as he moved across the kitchen floor in his pajamas to gather up the dustpan from the kitchen counter which was immediately beside the door.

He hadn’t thought about that fight in years. But it was the glass that brought his mind there, reminded him of what they had been fighting about.

He hadn’t been fishing, Scotty thought. But had he been having an affair? What if he was doing something else?

He had to put those thoughts off as he slipped out of the meeting room he had just smashed his way into and made his way down the abandoned and quiet third floor hallway.  He had to get out of there before Herb and the security guard made it downstairs.

As he had stepped through the window, he’d heard another shot fire from the fourth floor, and the sound of what Scott figured was the bullet ricocheting off the brick less than a foot from his head. So they were still upstairs at the window, or at least Herb was.  But they had to be following him once they saw he had successfully smashed his way inside.

So he didn’t have much time.

The only way for them to get down, he knew, was via the front hallway elevator, which was shared between Digi-Life’s office and two other building clienteles, and the rustic wooden stairway access, also shared, but a much quicker way to descend a single floor.

Scott raced down the hall and headed past the main stairway access doors, through the kitchen area and over to the metal circular staircase that graced the “front” of the building. Thank goodness for another way up and down, at least between the third, second, and first floors. The fourth floor didn’t have that additional access.  Except for the make-shift window exit Scott had just devised, there was previously only the two ways down.

The echoes of his footsteps rang loudly on the metal stairs as he quickly descended down and around. He was worried that the sound would carry and they would know where he was, but, given that he was on the third floor and there were only two ways to get out of the building (apart from breaking a window, he supposed), would be heading down at least one more flight. From the third to the second floors there were only two options – the circular metal staircase he was now on or the shared rustic wooden stairs on the opposite side of the front of the building.

There was a fifty-fifty chance of them knowing which way he had taken. Not that they’d have descended so quickly.  Not unless they, like he had done, decided to jump down from the fourth to the third floor.  Without someone threatening them with a gun, would they really take that risk? Scott couldn’t even believe he had done it; not to mention that he hadn’t broken something in the act.

As he made it around the final curve of the metal staircase and onto the second floor, Scott could clearly see down to the 1st floor entrance from the open balcony area of the second floor.

All he had to do was move around the balcony, a simple series of three left turns, and make his way down the stairs.

As began to navigate the second corner, out of the corner of his eye he spotted a pair of blue jeans covered legs heading up the stairs from the very bottom.  He didn’t stop to look to see who it was. So far, the only two people he had bumped into had a crazy glazed look in their eyes, so he wasn’t going to take any chances.

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