The Exile: Episode Three

I ran the length of the mall parking lot toward the retail store. I kept looking back, fearing that at any moment the men chasing me would exit the mall and spot me. At the edge of the mall parking lot, I dropped down into a ditch to catch my breath.
“I know I haven’t lost them for good, but at least I should have a while before they find me,” I heard myself say, trying to calm down.
When I thought over the events of the past week, I found no clue as to why I was anyone’s target. My brother had mentioned something about international relations and drilling, but since he was a senator, he knew better than to tell me anything classified that could endanger him or his family. Why then would someone burn down the house and kill everyone inside? And why would someone want to kill me for escaping?
I knew I’d been resting in the ditch for far too long, so I quickly checked the parking lot behind me as I climbed out and made my way across the short field in front of the retail store.
“Please let them still be open,” I prayed aloud. Checking my pockets, I discovered my credit card but no cash. I had promised myself not to use the card except for emergencies.
“I think this qualifies!” I assured myself as I crossed the street from the field to the store parking lot. Hiding behind one car after another, I worked my way across the lot, ignoring the strange looks I was getting from employees fetching carts.
“You okay, buddy?” a pale thin boy asked.
“Oh fine,” I answered, my back pressed against a muddy truck. “Just playing a late game of hide and seek with some friends. Don’t tell them you’ve seen me.”
He smiled and gave a thumbs up. I returned the gesture and stood up, running for the store entrance. The inside lights were still on, and the building was almost empty. I let out a sigh of relief.
Racing to the men’s department, I grabbed a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and a brown leather jacket. After jerking off the tags, I slipped everything on and hurried up to the register. A young girl, blond hair tied back in a ponytail, was waiting to ring me up.
When I handed her the tags, she rang me up and asked with clear disinterest, “Is this all?”
“Yes, thank you,” I answered and left the register.
About five feet from the register, I spotted the men, still searching for me. I spun around and slowly made my way towards the other exit. Just as I slipped through the door out into the parking lot, I heard the door opening behind me and quickly bolted for the nearest car. They must have spotted me in the store.
I crouched down and rolled under the car, my nerves on edge. As I lay there listening, I heard someone approaching the car. Judging by the ankles and feet, it was a female. She pulled out a set of keys and struggled with them before dropping them. When she dropped down to retrieve then, she saw me.
“I’m sorry, I said, “but someone’s after me, and if they find me, I’m dead!”
She hesitated. I could see the uncertainty in her eyes.
“Excuse me, miss,” a man’s voice asked.
The girl stood up and turned toward the voice. I recognized the voice as the leader of the men chasing me. Fear shot up to the back of my throat.
“Yea,” the girl answered.
“We are looking for a man. He may have come through here. It’s very important that we get him back into custody,” the man explained.
The girl stood silent for a second and then said,
“Well, the truth is. . .”

Published in: on January 2, 2010 at 1:02 am  Leave a Comment  

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