The Exile: Episode Two

My confusion and horror at the security guard’s words left me mute. When I looked back at the advancing car, the guard reached out for me, but I leapt back just out of his reach. He opened his door and grabbed the frame. My heart racing, I frantically kicked the door closed, slamming it on his fingers. He cried out in pain, and I bolted around his truck toward the mall. Even in the midst of my overwhelming terror, I could not help but wonder, “Who are these people? Why are they doing this? I’m just a regular 9 to 5 guy!”
Not looking back, I ran with everything I had. Even though my legs felt as if they would collapse at any moment, I knew I had to keep moving.
“Get after him! Don’t let him get away!” the guard ordered the men as the car flew past.
I heard an engine roar as they chased me down. Up ahead I saw two large trash compactors blocked by brick walls and an open gate. I quickly turned sideways and slipped through the narrow gate. Feeling my way along one of the walls, I found a mall service entrance. The door was unlocked, so I rushed inside and darted through a maze of small halls. When I came upon a second door, I opened it quickly and stepped onto the mall floor. The mall was empty, having been closed for hours, and I plodded across the floor to a bench to sit down for a moment and catch my breath.
Just as I sat down, the door behind me started to open. I dropped down from the bench and slid behind a large potted plant, using it as cover.
“What in the world happened?” the guard asked. “Your orders were simple—light up the place and let nobody out. How did you miss one civilian?”
“I don’t know how he got out. Don’t worry about it. We’ll find him,” responded a man with a thick Cajun accent.
“You’d better! Our boss won’t be happy if he gets away. This guy’s already caused enough trouble.”
I felt a pain growing in my leg and looked down to see a small pool of blood forming from the cut. I needed to get away and patch it up.
“Let’s just shoot him and call it a night,” another man suggested.
“No guns!” the guard ordered. “The last thing we want is attention. No guns, no police.”
There was a moment’s silence before the guard said, “You stay here in case he shows up. We’ll go search the rest of the mall.”
The two men left as I kept myself pressed against the plant, afraid to move or even breath.
Once the men’s footsteps faded, I slowly reached into the pot of the plant and pulled out two rocks. I kept one clenched in my fist and tossed the other toward the wall in the direction the two men had gone. The man who had been left behind moved toward the sound. I rushed up to him, fist clenched, and struck him across the jaw, sending him stumbling backward. When he fell, his gun slipped from its holster and skittered across the floor. I grabbed the man, still stunned by the blow, and glared at him.
“Why are you after me? Why did you kill my family?” I demanded.
He only laughed and spit in my face. The sound of approaching footsteps alerted me to the returning men, so I dropped the man and ran out through the service door. Hurrying through the maze of corridors, I came out in another section of the mall with a food court to my left. My wounded leg was throbbing, but I quickly crossed the food court searching for an office or a first aid station. I finally spied the mall office not far from some bathrooms. When I found the office locked, I checked the bathrooms. Just inside the door, a first aid kit was bolted to the wall. I ripped open my pant leg and cleaned and patched the wound. Cautiously I peered out of the bathroom and saw no one, so I returned to the food court and turned a corner into another section of the mall. To the left was a service tunnel. Without waiting to wonder if this was the right way, I followed the narrow passage to an outdoor area.
Across the parking lot, I spotted the retail store where I could get a change of clothes. I had lost the men for a while, but I knew it wouldn’t be long before they found me again. I needed to hurry.
“Father, give me strength,” I cried.

Published in: on January 2, 2010 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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