In Light of the Night: Chapter Six
- In Light of the Night
- In Light of the Night: Chapter Two
- In Light of the Night: Chapter Three
- In Light of the Night Chapter Four
- In Light of the Night, Chapter Five
- In Light of the Night: Chapter Six
- In Light of the Night: Chapter Seven
- In Light of the Night: Chapter Eight
- In Light of the Night: Chapter Nine
- In Light of the Night, Chapter Eleven
- In Light of the Night-Chapter Ten
- In Light of the Night, Chapter Twelve
- In Light of the Night, Chapter Thirteen
- In Light of the Night, Chapter Fourteen
Okay, thought Ella. Repeat the plan back to me again. She said this while she paced around my hospital bed, where I still lay strapped down by restraints. The slow, monotonous ticking of the clock on the wall accompanied the occasional squeaking of gurneys down the hall. The only sounds as the clock struck 4 A.M.
I spoke back to her in my mind as I practiced while maintaining for the security cameras the illusion that I slept.
Okay. When the nurse comes in after my meal to help me go to the fucking bathroom, I ask and beg and plead to have a hand free to do it myself while showing how docile I’ve become.
Ella nodded as I spoke, flourishing her hand for me to continue. I saw none of this with my eyes closed, though I felt her actions as if they were my own somehow.
And then, hoping this impossibly unrealistic phase of the plan works, as the nurse is leaning back in to strap my hand back in place, you kill the lights and electricity to the door just as I headbutt them with all my might. I’ll go for the bridge of their nose.
Hopefully, this concusses them, but at least they will come close to breaking their nose and give me a few seconds to rip off the other straps.
Good, good, Ella approved. And then?
And then, I continued, finish the job. Kill, knock out, or otherwise incapacitate—as much as I “have the stomach for.” I’ll only get one chance to escape like this before they heighten security again. Go for the eyes, throat, or groin, and grab any and all keys and cards on their person.
Then unbolt the door, and let you guide me to the exit as you cut off each hallway’s cameras ahead of me.
Good. And once free? Ella asked, stopping to lean in close.
Once out the doors, we get our bearings. Run, lay low, hide, and survive until we can find the nearest uncorrupted contact.
Molto bene, bella, Ella thought back, concluding the millionth run-through of our hopeless plan.
And if all this fails miserably, Ella thought, at least you’ll go out with a fight and know you’ve done all you can to escape this fucked up place.
Agreed, I thought.
The nurse that entered wheeled the usual cart through the door behind him. It was laden with daily pills, precautionary needles, and a grotesque breakfast of what tasted like cardboard-cut-out food.
I’ve never seen this one before, Ella thought as I rolled over in bed. This nurse, like most of the others, covered half his face in a surgical mask. He wore teal scrubs to keep up the farce that was this undoubtedly illegal, secretive institution incognito as a hospital.
His dark eyes darted around the room, mousier than even that other little nurse, Mousy.
He wheeled the tray all the way next to the bed, closer than was protocol. He looked down at me as if weighing a great decision.
Something’s off, Ella. He’s planning something.
Agreed. Skip lunch, and the plan is a greenlight, Ella thought back.
The man took a breath as if to speak before I interrupted him.
“Can I please have a hand loose to go to the bathroom today? I won’t be any trouble. I just feel really uncomfortable with other people wiping my ass for me when I can do it perfectly fine myself, thank you.” I looked up at him, showing the most innocent and helpless face I could.
Surprising Ella and me, he nodded back in approval.
Wow. Did NOT think that would work! I thought as he bent down to undo the strap on my left wrist.
As the thick Velcro strap came undone, Ella and I thought in perfect unison.
The lights and AC flicked off. The door beeped and clicked open, and I brought my forehead down on the man’s nose as he began to straighten up from undoing the strap.
The man was quicker and somehow managed to move his face down so that my forehead only connected with his, making my eyes water.
His eyes widened in surprise, then flicked to the camera in the corner of the room for an instant.
He then did something even more surprising and leaned over on the bedrail for an instant, pretending that my headbutt hurt him!
He whispered fast as he held his head in fake pain and fumbled a needle out of his belt.
“I’m trying to help you escape. Put the needle in me,” he said in a low voice through his teeth.
“What?” I said in shock, immediately thinking it was a trick.
“Put. The needle. In ME. Now.” He came forward as if still dizzy from my weak headbutt, as Ella agreed to go with it.
He came around with a not-too-fast right hook holding the needle, which I grabbed before sticking it back into his bicep. I pushed down and emptied it into the man, knowing it would only knock him out, as it had done to me many times.
As he began to droop down the side of the railing and fall to the floor, he managed to whisper one last thing.
“Key front pocket. Indigo 713,” he muttered before falling to the floor, unconscious.
Whatever the fuck that means! We thought as I ripped the remaining straps from my wrist and ankles.
I sprang up and grabbed a plastic keycard from his pocket. I hurried to the door, thrilled that the plan was somehow working better than we imagined possible. No time to think of the man who helped me. Later.
I unbolted the chain and crouched down, waiting for Ella’s go-ahead, as discussed. A mere half-second later, she signaled with a thought that it was safe.
Hall outside clear, turning off lights and cams—NOW. Go left and stay low!
I did as she instructed, staying low to avoid other door windows as I scurried along close to the wall.
Next right, then quick left.
I followed and couldn’t help but notice Ella’s thoughts sounded as if she was backing away into a tunnel.
STOP! She shouted in her increasingly quiet echo of a voice.
I turned left, staying low as I thought back, Ella, you sound like you’re getting farther away.
Losing en..gy e..ch…time…she trailed off before I got to the next intersection of halls.
Ella, where now? I thought, panic setting in as I heard quickening footsteps far away, unsure of which direction they were coming from.
Ri…Ella’s voice cut off as I turned the corner and felt a lurching sick.
The lights were still on, and so were the cameras. I frantically looked around and heard steps coming right behind me, just as multiple others were rounding the corner ahead.
I heard Dr. Ross’s thunderous voice addressing the nurses around him.
“Two shots this time, straight-jacket, and a move to cell 10,” he growled as they turned the corner to my hall.
Without thinking about anything other than my impossible escape, I pushed myself against the wall, shut my eyes, and exhaled.
I waited for them to grab me. To strap me down and stick me with painful needles.
But they rushed by me, a brief wind from their passing telling me that they somehow…hadn’t seen me?
Ella? I thought as I opened my eyes. The doctor’s white shirttail swept around the corner down the hall I came as his voice faded away.
How? NO TIME, I thought to myself. Escape now or never.
I crouched low to the next fork in the hall and looked down to check the card was still in my sweaty hand when I saw—nothing.
Just the floor. The walls. No hand or card or arm or legs or ME!
I was…FUCKING INVISIBLE!
I held back from shouting aloud– half from euphoria at the realization and half from fear I’d somehow vanish from existence.
Keep. Moving, I told myself, also concerned I no longer felt or heard Ella to guide me.
Down the next hall and to the right, I heard the brief opening of a large door. Next came a bustling commotion of chatter on the other side, more than the usual, much quieter halls around the patient rooms.
I half run half tip-toed toward the sound, looking down to check that I was still, very much, completely FUCKING INVISIBLE!
I slipped through the closing double doors and found myself surrounded by a sea of pretend-nurse-bodyguards, along with men and women in black suits. Most of which of the latter spoke quickly to earpieces or scrolled through screen interfaces as they walked into the myriad of tunnel-like halls all connecting to this room.
In the center of it all, stood a massive silver tube from floor to hundred-foot ceiling.
Doors opened with a whishhh as people in suits filtered in and out before it shot upwards, only to be replaced by another such tube a second later.
This must be the way out, I thought, feeling an empty echo in place of where Ella should be. No time for fear now. She’ll be back.
I wove in and out of the foot traffic, careful not to touch anyone or make a sound that might betray my presence. I also kept my arms at my sides, unsure of where they were in the air and afraid I’d touch a passerby.
Waiting just a few minutes for the next group accumulated by the central tube, I rode their wake into the cylindrical, relatively cramped elevator. I placed my back to the wall inside the closing doors as a narrow-faced man with a horrible wig firmly pressed a button with the sun on it.
Surface? I fucking hope so.
We all shot up at such a startling speed I almost yelped in surprise. A few seconds later, the doors opened and I all but jumped out, avoiding the exiting crowd into—
A massive cave, lit by bioluminescent lichen of blues and greens. I stared for a moment, almost allowing the woman behind me to run me down and blow my cover.
I moved to the side and followed the dozen who exited the elevator. Trailing behind them, we shuffled up an incline in the cave. I tried not to stare too long at the lichen lights, afraid to trip when my heart froze.
Bordering the walls on what must have been security detail, were at least ten men in special-forces-esq suits and automatic rifles.
Just stay cool bitch, you’re still— I double-checked and continued my pep-thought—FUCKING INVISIBLE!
As the group came to a rock wall blocking the incline, everyone stopped. Some impatiently checked their watches or tapped their feet.
One of the armed guards looked over the group, which had since formed into an orderly line. He scanned each person’s outheld wrist and right eye down the line before pressing his earpiece again to mutter a command.
I crouched behind the last woman in the line, praying to the gods I’d long since denounced.
My heart pounded so loud I thought the guard hovering over me would hear it and shoot into the place my invisible body crouched.
The wall split open to reveal a sliver of sunlight. It slid open slowly as the guards exchanged a series of nods. They then motioned the workers through into the light. I trailed behind, relieved, silent, and translucent as hell. I walked in the back of the line into the sunlight.