Time to act. I rolled and wrapped my fingers around the comforting cold steel of my baton. I attacked before I was even off the floor, swinging at the nearest target. It rang against the bone of a shin.
Knife in one leg, bar of solid steel smashing into the other, the guy fell taking his head within easy reach of a second hit. There was an echoing crack.
There was a single shot before I managed to get to my feet. Danni had hit her mark. Gib was on the floor groaning. I kicked the pistol away from him.
“Alexis!” Jack leaped at me, arms wrapped around me so tight it took my breath away. His head knocked my chin, knocking my teeth together.
“Jeez Jack, calm down.” Grabbing, after a fight. Too much adrenaline, it felt too much like being attacked. I tried to push him away but he had me like a vice. Constricting. He was shaking. I forced my fists to unclench, to loosen my grip on the baton I’d just used to break someone’s skull. I think.
“You’re alive! How?” He released his grip and took a step backwards. With my new found freedom I rubbed at my ears, it felt like I was wearing a pair of headphones playing a high pitched wail, and the one on the left had the volume turned up to full. Everything else sounded far away, or underwater. Very light, breathable, water. I had to strain to hear him.
Jack’s fingers touched the side of my forehead and came away red. Of course, I was covered in blood from the fight earlier. But the pain was new, my body just hadn’t felt the need to make me notice it.
All three of us looked at Danni for answers.
Mike was the first to speak, “Why?”
“I… I don’t really know for sure. It just felt right. Everything else around here feels wrong.” She shrugged. There was a pause, but she didn’t extend her explanation.
“That’s it?” Mike said.
“We need to get out of here,” she said. “It doesn’t matter why I did it.”
“She’s right.” I said. “What are we going to do with these two?”
I kneeled beside Gib. He was quiet, but, surprisingly, conscious. I’d expect him to keep struggling, but he was just sitting, slumped against the wall breathing with short, shallow breaths. He stared at me, I could see the whites of his eyes.
Mike picked up the gun that I’d kicked out of Gib’s reach. I heard the click as he checked the chamber. “Get out of the way,” he said.
“What?” I stood, placing myself between them, “You can’t just shoot him.”
“He would have done the same for us. Weren’t you watching him? He nearly shot you a couple of times Alex.”
“He was scared.” I said.
“And he should have been. What else are we going to do? He’ll go running for help just like last time you met him.”
“If you start shooting people might come check out what’s going on. We’ve had one shot, that wasn’t unexpected. That was for Jack.” Jack didn’t look happy at the thought. “We tie him up or something.”
“And let him bleed out? I’d prefer someone shoot me.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” I deadpanned. “But he isn’t you, how about we ask him?”
I felt sorry for the guy. I wasn’t going to put us under too much risk for his sake, but it didn’t look like he would be moving very fast any time soon.
“Do you want us to kill you?” I asked. He shook his head, slowly, “See.”
“Well, when you say it like that, of course he’s going to say no you idiot.” Mike addressed him, “You want us to leave you here to die?”
He nodded. Mike sighed and rolled his eyes.
“Find something to tie them up with,” I asked Jack, who immediately went towards the unconscious guard he’d stabbed. He yanked the knife out of the man’s leg and started pulling at his belt.
“You,” I addressed Gib, “I suggest you consider a change of career, maybe even to somewhere on the other side of the country. Your life expectancy isn’t going to be very long otherwise.” If he lived to the end of the week.
I turned to face Danni. She’d taken a step back from the three of us, leaning against the table pushed against the side of the room, arms crossed over her chest.
“Thanks, for what you did.” I don’t think I’d ever been more thankful for anything, but for some reason I couldn’t meet her eyes.
“No problem, kid.” She shrugged, again.
The awkward silence that followed was interrupted by Jack giving the unconscious guard a kick to turn him over onto his face, and starting to tie his arms with the belt. I retrieved my own from where it had been discarded, pulling out a few cable ties and throwing them to Jack. There was no trace of my helmet. It must have be left in the room where’d I’d fallen, along with my boots.
“We’ve still not got what we came here for. We need to find Tom.” I said as I strapped my own belt around my waist. I hoped he was even here. Our little mission had been severely lacking in successes so far.
“The kid that ratted you out?” Danni said, eyebrow raised.
Everyone stopped. Jack looked up from binding our hostage, Mike from fiddling with his gun and me from sheathing the baton at my hip. Once again, we all turned to her.
“What?” Jack said.
“So you were expecting us.” I said.
“You, yes. Not him,” she said, nodding to Mike, “and not so early. I don’t know the details. I work here most of the time, keeping the girls ‘safe’. They brought a bunch of new guys in today but they were planning on a few more, and for some more equipment. Weapons. That’s why Victor was here, he doesn’t exactly frequent this kind of place. Rather look the other way.”
“That little shit!” Jack shouted.
“Be quiet, Jack.” It hadn’t made much sense, how they made the connection between two kids and me. Tom must have told them, whether it was now or after they picked him up. It was too much of a stretch to bet on them guessing after they went back. “So he’s not here?” I asked Danni.
“I think he is actually, why waste an opportunity?” she said bitterly, “Anyone new is kept on the third floor for a few days. It might not be pretty though.”
“Come on.” I said, “Jack, finish up, and gag the bastard. He’s not going to be out for long.” If he was ever going to wake up.
“What?” Mike said, sidestepping in front of the door, “We’re still going to try get him out of here? He deserves what he gets. He made his bed, let him sleep in it.”
“He’s still here because of me.” Besides, we’d come all this way. I wasn’t going to just leave empty handed. People died, it’s got to be worth something. “I doubt that they’d have let him go after what he’d seen even if he kept his mouth shut.”
“It was still his own stupidity that got him here, not yours.”
I took a step closer to Mike, close enough I had to look up to meet him in the eye. “No one deserves this. Certainly not a child for making a childish decision. Feel free to get the hell out of here, Mike. I can do this without you.”
We were interrupted by our unconscious, bound friend rolling onto his side with a muffled moan. He was waking up.
“Okay.” Mike held his hands up as if to surrender. “You’re the one in charge here.”
“Right. Let’s go then. Danni, you know the place. Lead the way.”