Friday, February 13, 2015

Hearts of Darkness, Part VII

There wasn’t just the one man in the suit, looking around like he wasn’t looking around. There were several. They never met up with one another, but they were all encroaching on David’s hiding place. They moved as if directed by a careful and controlling hand. This was it. They thought he would fall on his face, fail because he had been set up for failure, undereducated and underequipped. The miracle of his work at the clinic had forced their hand, and now they were coming to take him back. To put him back in the cage. David thought about his savings account at the bank with the nice people in their offices. It always smelled like jasmine. David thought about a different savings account in a different city with different people in different offices. Every time, for the rest of his life.

But he also didn’t want to kill again.

“Target location confirmed,” he heard someone say.

David’s heckles rose as he sunk down even lower, examined the area around him, an open garage space with no vehicles, a stairwell leading up and down.

Movement in the stairwell stopped him cold. Two pair of footsteps, no three, and they were moving quickly. They reached his floor and… kept moving.

David blinked in surprise, quietly stepping over to the door of the stairwell.

“Target is on the roof,” he heard someone say.

Through the narrow window, he saw the men continue up to the third floor, the last of them removing a pistol from a side holster. David looked around again, as if it was all a trick. He checked and double checked, and every time he confirmed that they weren’t coming for him. The men in suits were there for someone else.

The simplest thing would’ve been to jump from the second floor, not to enter the stairwell at all. But it was easier to open the stairwell door, and walk out onto the landing. It was easier, and yet more difficult. The roof was up two floors, twice the distance, twice the amount of stairs that would lead him to freedom. There was no good reason he could think of to go up instead of down. No good reason.

At the top of the stairwell, several men were discussing a plan. David couldn’t put sense to the words they were using, but he understood the concept of hunting. Their quarry was within their grasp, and they had overwhelming numbers, however their intent was not to kill. They were going to great pains to capture intact whomever it was they were after. David wondered about what kind of fugitive hunt this was. These weren’t police.

Then those in the stair well walked out onto the top floor, and David stealthily followed them. He’d seen a movie like this once. Part of him was expecting to see a different version of himself, from the future, or the past, or an alternate reality.

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