Monday, April 17, 2017
Juggernaught: Chapter 21 - Mice in the Walls
Faking the routine roll-over of a sleeping girl, Misty went right off the end of the bed. Instead of hitting the floor hard like an unwary sleeper falling out of bed, she absorbed the impact with her muscles and silently rolled beneath it.
To any observer nothing strange had happened.
She quickly slithered underneath the long row of barrack-style bunks until she reached the outside wall.
Misty knew that the lone window must be alarmed, so before opening it she took out a knife she had stolen off a guard. She probed the wallboard around around the perimeter of the window with its point and then when she found the spot, punched the blade through. A satisfying pressure, then sudden release was felt, letting her know that she had successfully severed the wire.
So far, so good.
She dropped to her stomach. Careful not to arouse attention, she began sawing away at the wallboard underneath the iron radiator.
It was very slow going and she truly hoped her small size would make hers skinny enough to pull off this trick.
Once an access panel had been sawed, she stood quickly, grabbing a sheet off the bed as she did so.
She yanked the window aside, threw out the sheet, and then ducked back down.
Somebody on the ground would notice, but it would take a little time to call it in. She used that time to wriggle inside her cutout until she was in a standing position inside the wall.
It was tight even for her, and the guards burst in quicker than expected.
One man ran to the window and looked out, while the other swept his light over every spot.
"We're missing one!" he called out.
"She's a goner!" declared his companion, thinking that Misty had jumped.
Meanwhile, the person he was looking for stood chest-to-chest with him, separated only by a thin layer of drywall. The seeker unaware of the situation and the hider, hyper-aware of it!
Misty could see his uniform through the stab hole where she'd cut the wire. She could even smell the pungent odor of his breath and dared not move herself.
The guards below would no doubt be sweeping the premises for her body. She knew this almost by reflex due to her training. The sheet she had thrown out the window would only reinforce this assumption. There could be no logical possibility of someone escaping that way, yet the fact that it was there, a window was open, and one of the dorm inmates was missing, would all override that logic.
As if on cue, both guards returned slowly back to their post.
They'd be searching outside from now on, which was convenient, but presented her with another problem. She was still trapped inside.
She'd have to find someplace to lie low long enough for the disturbance to die down. To make matters worse, if the captors had FLIR technology (which was likely), they'd eventually do a sweep of the building and her heat signature would stand out like a neon sign, even inside this wall.
She'd need to take cover behind someplace colder, warmer, or thicker to be safe from that kind of detection. That had to be her first order of business.
Looking up, she saw that the metal studs were open at the top. It was nice to not have that in the way to cut through. Bracing her knee against one stud and her shoulder against the other, she used an awkward rendition of a rock-climber's chimney climb to finagle her way to the top.
From there she'd be in whatever attic or crawl space was up there. Which was an unknown, and therefore, frightening to her. Still, with the way in closed to her, this was the only way out.
With an almost inaudible sigh (for surely somebody in the room was still awake after the disturbance) she grasped the edge with her finger and began to drag herself out.