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Brother almost screamed at the unfairness of it all, but realised that to do so was to waste valuable time and risk drawing further attention to his plight.
Watson’s eyes flicked open, and, in spite of his size and the fact he’d been asleep mere seconds ago, was already standing.
He scanned the room, a dopey expression on his face.
A revolver in his ketchup-smeared hand.
It’s ok, Brother thought, he won’t see me down here.
But after a few seconds, the gun was on its way down towards him.
‘Wotcha doing down there, girly?’ Watson said, a sickly smile on his lips.
Brother’s heart slammed against his ribs.
His hand seemed to move of its own accord.
The spray paint hit Watson full in the eyes, giving him a black stripe like a raccoon.
Watson’s podgy hands flailed, desperately trying to rub the paint from his eyes. Brother watched him, transfixed, for a dumb few seconds, then realised he was in big trouble if he didn’t get out of here.
He lunged forward and hit Watson in the gut with his extended forearm.
The security guard flew back, his arse landing square in his office chair. He flapped his arms like a drowning man as the chair tipped backwards, sending him crashing to the floor with a cry of dismay.
The gun discharged, blowing a hole in one of the picture frames on the wall to their right.
Brother moved towards the door, only to trip as Watson’s hand rived on his ankle. There was nothing he could do to retrieve his balance.
He hit the deck hard.
Air raced from him like a burst balloon.
For a few seconds he was too stunned to move. Watson gripped his leg tighter, holding him still while he began to close the distance between them.
Brother regained his senses and tried to pull his leg away but Watson was too strong. All he succeeded in doing was giving his leg a nasty friction burn.
He knew he couldn’t wait here, especially with Watson shouting for help at the top of his lungs.
His free foot pulled back, pumped out, slamming into Watson’s cheek.
Brother brought his foot back again.
Mashed Watson’s lips against his teeth.
Still his hand clung on.
Brother lashed out again and again, losing count of the blows.
It didn’t matter how many.
All that mattered was getting free.
Finally, the hand let go of his leg and Watson slumped to the floor, shards of teeth flowing from his mouth amidst a river of blood.
Panting hard, Brother grabbed the edge of the desk and pulled himself to his feet. The room spun, but he knew he didn’t have time to recuperate.
He inched the door open, checked the corridor to see if anyone was approaching.
No one there.
He knew that there were other security offices in the building, knew that the cullsmen would have at least one of them manned, so he figured it wouldn’t be long before they figured out what had happened.
That’s if they weren’t already on their way to him.
The next floor came in a rush of blood and desperate pants of breath.
He was only a few floors from his hiding place and the stairs soon disappeared beneath his pounding feet.
Brother darted into the corridor, panic already beginning to blur his judgement a little. Still, he was pleased he’d run through his plan so often as he could’ve probably sleepwalked it.
Corridor to the left, last door on the right, he thought. Then we’re home free.
Limbs leaden, he ran until he reached the door.
The dark musty room was the definition of a shithole but to him it was heaven.
He locked the door, then took a walk to the bathroom to splash some cold water on his face.
After a few minutes of deep breathing, the room ceased spinning and his pulse had plummeted.
‘I did it,’ he muttered. ‘I can’t believe I fucking did it.’
Relief was pulled out from beneath him like a magician’s tablecloth when he heard the external door burst open in a shower of splinters.
Brother’s breath froze in his lungs.
His heart once more began its thrash metal frenzy.
What the fuck do I do? he thought, forlorn.
Tears began to glimmer in his eyes.
He’d done everything he could to avoid detection and now it seemed it was all in vain.
They’re going to kill me, he thought. And it’s going to be agony.
He contemplated taking the knife in his pocket and running it across his wrists, to avoid the torment that the cullsmen were sure to be bringing.
The door slammed shut, seeming to be the loudest noise in all the world.
Brother debated his next move, knowing that a fight to the death was on the cards. He pressed himself into the wall behind the bathroom door, grimacing when he felt something wet and slimy soaking through his shirt sleeve.
The footsteps seemed to cover the whole apartment before settling outside the bathroom door.
Then, after a moment that seemed to take a lifetime to pass, the unseen intruder stepped in.
Next chapter is here