We passed the prone figure of the guard on the way out. I wondered why there was only one but I figured Mike could easily have given the others some distraction to get them away for a bit.
The guy was still, I could see a red mark around his neck where I assumed Mike had strangled him… How did he do it without being seen? It wouldn’t be much use if he woke up and remembered Mike had been the one who attacked him.
I pushed these thoughts to the side of my mind, I had to focus on what was important here. I had to focus on getting out.
“Listen, I’m going to have to stay here if this story is going to play out. Go that way.” He gestured down the corridor. “Follow the second left until you hit a door. The code is four seven three five. Got that?”
“Second left, four seven three five.” I repeated.
“Keep your hood up. If anyone sees you they might think it’s me in that jacket. Don’t let anyone see your face. It’s covered in blood.”
I touched my face instinctively. Ouch.
“You shouldn’t meet anybody, my father is… quite angry and it’s serving as a good distraction. What did you do to him? It doesn’t matter, we don’t have long. Go!” He pushed me gently.
* * *
I walked. No need to run, running attracts attention. Standard method of running away – do it slowly and no one will think you are running away.
I was lucky and Mike was right. I met no one on my journey to this door. On the third attempt with the small keypad my fingers did what I told them and I heard the comforting ‘tick’ of whatever actuator locked the door slide back. Four seven three five. It led directly onto a back alley. From the look of the place it had been in some kind of warehouse.
My mind made note of the electronic lock. Not a secure solution, unless they’d hacked it and removed the safety precautions. Potential weak point.
I walked along in a daze, feeling like my head was either full of candyfloss or treacle. I couldn’t decide which. Both were pretty tasty, but not ideal brain material.
I tripped and fell to my knees, gotta concentrate. But hell that hurt. Hey I should get some knee pads for my costume…
I knew I was a mess, I had to get somewhere safe so I could rest. I’d be fine after a bit. Just some sleep. That’s all I need.
I wasn’t going to go home, I knew that much. I needed someone to… look after me for a bit and there was no one to do that at home or in the garage. I’d had a pretty big knock on my head and even I knew I wasn’t thinking clearly.
Beth. But Beth’s house was a long walk and I wasn’t so good at the whole walking thing right now. Besides, I knew how much Beth’s mum freaked out after the mall incident. I didn’t want her to see me like this, she might not let me see Beth anymore…
Also, I couldn’t let Beth know what happened. I’d have to tell her what I’d been doing, how stupid I was. I couldn’t let her know.
No, out of the question.
But what other options did I have? I didn’t have any other friends…
I recognised where I was now, North edge of the Island. Not all that far from the river.
Wait, what about Mz Gregory. She had said to get in touch if I ever needed anything. Well, now I really needed help. Now maybe she could help, at least she would know what to do. I could remember where she lived, after she’d given me her address I’d looked it up – it wasn’t too far, maybe an hour’s walk or more.
With a goal to focus on I managed to clear my mind a little. I set little goals to reach like I had running.
That lamp-post. Nearly there.
Staggering along seemed twice as hard as that sprinting had all that time ago and took many times longer.