Orion’s Embrace Part 7
That was all the signal I needed. I ran towards the gate, following the other’s heading that way. No one would think anything as I moved through the crowd and out onto the docks. We had landed early and I was using that knowledge to hide my escape. Other guards thought that perhaps someone had snuck aboard before we ‘officially’ docked and had sought to do harm to the leader. So, those of us that left were believed to be tracking a tip.
My leaving had nothing to do with trying to catch the culprit responsible. It would take them three hours to realize that he was just sleeping and it would wear off an hour after that. I couldn’t wait that long. I needed to be as far away from the ship as possible by that time or hidden so well they couldn’t find me.
I pushed my body as fast as it would go and just barely managed to make it out the doors of the ship and on the ground with another set of spies and thugs. That’s all they were when you took away the uniforms. Slipping around the group no one questioned me as I seemed to be going a different direction. Apparently, I was the smart one in thinking that if the person was off the ship they probably would notice the men moving around in a large group.
Of course, I was trying to not have them watch where I was going. The first part of the plan had worked. I was off the ship. Now, I had to find a way to stay off the ship for good. Looking around, I was trying to take note of the buildings that were around me. None of them were like anything I’d ever seen before. I cursed my old life under my breath.
Caesar Seven was about as progressive as a backwater town. Many of the villagers still had huts and barely any metal in their homes. Nothing like this. These were warehouses and factories. They looked so much more advanced than anything I had ever seen. I’d heard talk of buildings like this from the travelers that used to come to town but nothing more. I couldn’t let on that I didn’t know what I was seeing. Doing so would alert someone that I wasn’t supposed to be here. No, I needed to blend in.
Catching a sign that seemed to spark some memory in me I quickly jogged over to the little building and slipped inside. Leaning back against the wall by the door I let out a sigh as I looked around. Thankfully there was only one person there. My eyes met hers. For a moment, I was sure my panic was clear.
“Welcome to Meredith’s Bakery. You look like you could use something extra special. Why don’t you follow me and I’ll get you a treat?”
The woman smiled and motioned for me to enter the small door near the back of the shop. It was now or never. I heard the sound of the others coming closer. I darted through the room and watched through the semi-cracked door as the woman locked up and put a sign that said that she had closed early due to family issues. Then she joined me. Moving ahead of me the woman twisted a knob on the wall and a secret door opened. I followed her down into what looked like a guest room.
“I’m Meredith. I own this shop. Dahlia said you might be by. Do not fear me, Adelaide. I was once like you but Matthias grew tired of me. I was able to buy myself out of that life. You are safe here. They do not know about this place. Rest, and by tomorrow they will be gone. Then you can be on your way.”
“Thank you,” I say.
It was all I could say as the emotions of the past week overwhelmed me. I wanted to bask in the sensation that I had found sanctuary, but I couldn’t. I would never be safe until my brother was out of power. I sat myself down on the bed in the room and stared up at the ceiling. I wasn’t going to allow myself to cry. What good would do? I was finally able to breathe a little easier. However, there was still the fear that they would find me.
I could hear Matthias’ men in the shop of the bakery, yet they couldn’t hear me. I could barely hear what Meredith was saying to the men, but it sounded like she was advising them that she had not seen anyone suspicious. The last person that she’d seen even remotely looking dangerous had been led away by the local planetary police a month ago. They believed her and stormed out of the building in a huff, threatening that if she was lying they would return and she would be sorry.
Finally, the woman locked up for good and brought in a tray of sweets. I was nervous, to say the least. I didn’t know her and yet she was doing me favors. Somehow, Dahlia had managed to get word to her so she could be prepared for me. In case my plan actually worked.
“Don’t fear child. Eat, shower and get some rest. I’ll come to rouse you in the morning. You can be on your way then.”
All I could do was a nod. So I nodded and watched as she left the room and locked it behind her. I doubted that anyone could get in here. Without knowing about the secret entrance, it just looked like a storage room for supplies. Deciding that I had enough excitement, I moved through the room and tried to find the bathing unit. It wasn’t much, but it had hot water and that was enough.
I showered as quickly as I could. It felt good to be able to be clean in some place that wasn’t owned by Matthias. I noticed that were some clothes laid out for me. I dried off and slipped them on. They were a little large for my frame but then I wasn’t exactly large, to begin with. Once dressed I went back into the bedroom and started to slowly eat the food she had brought me. Slowly, I could feel myself relax.
After I had eaten enough to fill my stomach, I laid down and tried to sleep. My mind was racing for a good long while, but finally, I felt the pull to sleep. Letting my eyes drift close was risking a lot to believe that I would be safe for the night. There was always a small chance that someone might try to kill me in my sleep. It was a risk I was going to have to take, for now.