Chapter 11: Escpae

Heart pounding and blood pumping, June walked calmly down the hallway, reversing the course she’d taken to get to the electrical room. She wanted to run, wanted to sprint as fast as her legs would carry her. But running would draw attention, the kind she didn’t want. The kind their mission didn’t need. Her best defense was the plan. And she clung to the plan like it was the only piece of driftwood in a terrible ocean storm.

Pretend she belonged here, she sauntered down the hall. She was Immortal. Above suspicion. 

Turning the last corner and breathed a sigh of relief as her eyes fell on the door she’d come through. Adrenalin still telling her to run and to fight she eased the door open and paused for the briefest of moments. 

The cold, brightly lit room held several large water tanks. The one in the middle was the one they’d come through. Some of the water had run into the grates to either sides of the room, but the floor was still damp. 

The room was empty. Undisturbed since she’d left. 

June frowned. 

Gerkin should have gotten here before her. But she had taken forever to flip the switch. Staring at the tank she’d come through she stepped into the room and eased the door closed. Anything could have happened. The most plausible was he’d been caught because she’d taken too long. She dismissed the idea off hand, the alarms would have been audible even down in the underbelly of this prison. The second and more likely was that she’d blow past her window, he would have continued the mission and gotten the prisoner to the extraction point. That would be his first priority. 

Then he might come back for her. 

Hoisting herself to the top of the water tank she stared into the dark water. Anything could be waiting for her in there. Anyone. If Ger had been caught there might have been a real Mental Immortal on staff. Burrowed into his mind and found out about her. This could be a trap. 

She shook her head. If that was the case, she’d already be in her own little prison cell. A Mental Immortal standing over her, asking her… uncomfortable questions. 

Easing herself into the cold water she took one last breath of fresh oxygen before biting into her oxygenator and plunging into the darkness. She swam as quickly as she dared, fearing both a tentacle wrapping around her ankle and running out of air before reaching the surface. 

Around her the dark water felt more like a cave than a small pipe. As her coat snagged, she feared it wouldn’t come free. A good yank and she was swimming forward again. 

Up ahead the dim light of the surface beckoned. Forcing herself to slow down, June poked only her eyes out of the water. 

She froze, perfectly still as a group of guards walked by. Their eyes swept over the fountain without seeing it. 

June waited until they were out of sight before slipping from the water and drying herself off with a quick burst of Immortality, and dropping the oxygenator into her pocket. 

Pulling her coat down she rolled her shoulders. Even though she was dry her flesh was still cold. A gust of wind blew across her body, brining with it the smell of burning wood, and melted metal. 

 June glanced down and frowned. There was a water trail leading in the direction of the transport. 

Deciding not to follow Ger’s bad example June pushed the water up the side of the stones and back into the fountain. Then she glanced around the empty courtyard. The cool wind whipped around, sliding across the stones and through the weeds growing up between the cracks. In the distance the sky was lightening, painting the sky in pink and orange hues. 

June shoved her frozen fingers into her pockets and holding her chin level with the ground marched in the direction of the extraction ship. As she went, she scattered the water, drying the stones and erasing all evidence of their flight.

Once she reached the main path, she released her Immortality. The water trail almost gone now that they had walked themselves dry. June shrugged, thinking that Ger must have been in a hurry not to have covered the evidence of their escape. 

The streets were quiet. The windows of the steel buildings on either side of her remained dark. The inhabitants in the most delicate and needed stages of sleep. 

June yawned. Feeling the lack of sleep. The cold of the water had leached her strength. She wanted to curl up on a comfortable couch with a soft fuzzy blanket, maybe a cup of tea. 

Freezing wind snapped across her body and caught her jacket, cutting through her clothes and biting into the flesh of her arms and legs. June shivered, fully aware that she’d allowed herself to fall into daydreaming. She wasn’t out yet and daydreaming about being safe and warm wouldn’t help her escape this place. 

June stopped. Something was wrong. It was too quiet. She forced herself to continue walking, cursing herself for stopping at all. It was a stupid thing to do. Without turning her head in any direction she really looked at the buildings and the windows. 

Every window was dark, even the ones in the upper levels. There was always someone awake. The early risers should already by up and busy with their mourning routines, or the night owls should be turning off their lights and climbing into bed. 

Tipping her head back as if she were enjoying the clear morning June used the opportunity to glance at the tops of the buildings. At the roof lines she saw no unusual outlines. Nothing that shouldn’t be there. Rubbing her neck, she turned it from side to side and got a good look at the empty street behind her. 

With every step her anxiety level spiked. She couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. The streets were too quiet, as if a trap was waiting to spring shut. And she was walking right into it. 

On a building over her right shoulder, she heard the scrape of a boot sliding over metal. 

June slowed and focused on her other senses. The wind whistling through the buildings and streets, the distant call of birds, the smell of burning wood. 

Breaking into a run June sprinted down the street and took the second left turn down an alley, slamming into a wall and skidding to a halt. If someone was following her they would chase after her. 

Crouching down, she waited. Immortality held coiled and ready. Like a viper ready to slice the head of anyone that jumped across the building above her or came around the corner. 

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