The Exile: Episode 27

Facing the men outside or slipping away? I looked into the pleading eyes of the terrified woman and knew the answer. I had never considered myself a hero, someone who sacrificially acts without regard to self, but I knew I could not abandon this mother and her innocent child. I had to distract the men, lure them away, giving the woman a chance to grab her child and run. It was the only honorable decision.

“Hurry up in there!” one of the men out front yelled.

“Please! What are we going to do?” the mother begged me.
I stared out the window, as though the answer lay somewhere out there.

“Think!” I yelled inside my head.

Suddenly, an idea came to me.

“Grab anything you want to save because they’re probably going to tear this place apart, if they don’t torch it first.”

The mother nodded her understanding and ran upstairs to get her son.

While she was upstairs, I moved down the hall and quietly slipped out the back door. The door opened onto a small porch. Pausing on the steps, I tried to remember the layout of the front yard and where the men had positioned themselves. I stepped down into the grass, turned left and circled around the house. Moving along just inside the trees, I kept low. I had to get a good look at these goons without being seen. When I got close enough, I peered out and saw one man sitting in the truck’s cab while two others, each carrying a shotgun, stood outside. One of them leaned against the hood of the pickup as though he were in no hurry while the other continuously shifted the weight on his feet and twitched nervously. Across the yard, I spotted a rusted wheelbarrow full of old paint cans and dried brushes, half covered by a small tarp that snapped as it lifted in the wind. Stopping to look back at the house, I saw that the woman was watching me from the kitchen window, as though waiting for instructions. Tightly holding his mother’s hand, the child stood beside her with his other hand pressed against the glass. Looking around the ground, I saw a large piece of broken brick and slowly lowered myself to pick it up. I took aim at the side of the wheelbarrow and threw the brick as hard as I could. It sailed through the air, striking the metal with a resounding clang then bouncing off and hitting one of the paint cans. At the sudden noise, the men by the truck jumped and whirled around.

“There he is,” one of them yelled, raising his weapon. “He’s trying to escape.”

I had to get to cover, so I quickly ducked into the woods and ran as fast as I could, not knowing where I was or where I was headed. My plan was that the men would chase after me and leave the woman and her son alone.

Before I had gone very far, I heard the men hollering out to me as they stumbled through the thick brush in pursuit. I had chosen the nobler path and hoped it wouldn’t end me. My legs pumping, I spied a clearing up ahead. Hoping it was a road, I felt a surge of energy as I ran straight for it. When I exploded out of the brush into the clearing, I desperately scrambled to catch myself just before I plummeted to the bottom of a cliff.

“He went over here,” I heard one of the men yell.

“Yeah. I think I see something,” the other responded.

When I heard a third voice, I knew the driver had left the truck to join his pals in the chase. What I did next would determine whether or not I lived through this. I had only one chance. Bracing myself, I focused in the direction of the approaching men. When the first man broke through into the clearing, I reached out and grabbed his flailing arm, guiding him off the cliff. The second man wasn’t far behind. As I sidestepped him, he slid to a stop just at the edge and grabbed out at the air, trying not to fall over the edge. A simple push was enough to send him tumbling to the bottom to join his friend.

Two men over and one to go. My reflexes were running on high. When the third man came tearing through the brush, I quickly spun him around and threw him to the ledge. Just before I let go of his arm, he yelled,

“Wait. I know you.”

“How do you know me?” I asked, as I struggled to keep my grip.

“It’s too late. They already know where you’ve been hiding. You won’t get away this time,” he sneered.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“You escaped once, but they won’t let it happen again.”

When I opened my mouth to ask another question, he reached up to pull me over the edge. With little remorse, I quickly released his arm and watched as he fell over the side.

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Published in: on April 7, 2012 at 9:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

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