24 | No Man Left Behind

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PEOPLE SAY THAT YOUR LIFE FLASHES BEFORE your eyes on the brink of death

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PEOPLE SAY THAT YOUR LIFE FLASHES BEFORE your eyes on the brink of death.

At this moment, I couldn't agree with that. When staring down the barrel of a gun, only numbness came. No images. No white light. Just numbness.

I waited for the bullet to come, but it never did. Before she could pull the trigger, Duke barked and skidded on the counter, knocking plates onto the floor.

Everyone's eyes flickered to him and that's when I took the opportunity to run for my life.

"Come on, Duke," I screamed behind me. A sigh of relief left my lips when the click of his paws hurried behind me seconds later.

Once he passed me at the threshold of the pantry, my boots squeaked to a stop on the wooden floor. I grabbed the racks of food, throwing them to the floor to block the way before running in the hall, knife still in my hand.

Gmie screamed on the other side, commanding the other two to go the other way. To box me in.

I kept running, following behind Duke who had no idea where he was going, but he looked happy. At least one of us was having a good time.

I wasn't. Mostly because we were going the opposite way of my room, and there was no way for me to circle back. They'd catch me.

I couldn't hear their movements behind me anymore, so I kept forward, entering a new maze of hallways that took me to the laundry room and the gym.

My first thought was to hide in one of those rooms, but I realized that they could track me via cameras on the iPad like they did before. It's the only way that they could've seen me in the kitchen alone.

Running past those rooms, the new pool room came into view. Too open. No places to hide. After that, we turned the corner, coming to a solid wall. A dead end.

Duke tumbled into it, landing hard on his butt. He whined.

"I know, boy," I said through soft pants. My body slumped against the wall, sweat pouring from my forehead from my running efforts. I couldn't feel my body. Everything felt blank.

I sucked in a breath. There was nowhere else to run. If I stayed here, they'd eventually find me and bringing a knife to a gunfight wasn't smart, but it was the only thing I had.

Inhaling through my lips, I closed my eyes, trying to calm my racing heart so that I could hear if they were close. Nothing.

This place was big, so they must still be searching the other side or trying to wait me out. Or both.

I stared down at the sharp blade that glistened in the gloomy sconce lighting. My fingers clenched the handle, letting it dig into my palm until it hurt, shocking my senses.

Duke whined, pawing at my ankle. I smiled at him, leaning down on my knees to scratch his head with my open hand.

"I need you to stay here, Duke," I said.

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