Serial Story: Fit to be Chai-ed, Ch. 11

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Fit to be Chai-ed

Chapter 11

Erik reluctantly set Anna down, keeping an arm around her for support when her legs nearly buckled.

“Damn it, stop fighting. I don’t know where they went, but we have to get you out of here. The fire’s spreading and you’re in no condition to walk.” He pulled her toward the door and she stumbled at his side, nearly pulling them both to the ground. Erik swung her up in his arms again, braced for more struggling that never came. He glanced down long enough to see the resigned look on her face, and wished he could make it better, but there wasn’t time.

“Fine.” She grabbed the knob as they reached the door, working it back and forth a couple times. “It’s locked,” she said, looking up at him with scared, tired eyes. “We’re stuck, just like they wanted us to be.”

He shook his head and turned around, plotting a course around the worst of the smoke.

“Hang in there, sweetheart. We’re not dead yet.” He almost told her to pull her shirt up over her face, and then realized she was still wearing only her bra, thanks to her abductors.

“This is gonna be ugly for a bit – breathe shallow, and keep your face to my shirt if you can. I’ll go quick.” He looked down for her nod, and then headed for the other side of the warehouse, moving as fast as he could. The smoke burned his eyes and his lungs, and he could feel Anna’s labored breathing against his shoulder but he pressed on.

There had to be a way out. Will didn’t want him to die – he wanted Erik out on his terms. It was the only thing that made sense, and Erik would be only too happy to kill the sick bastard when he found him.

Offices spanned the far wall, and Erik could just make out light coming through a window in the closest one. He carried Anna into the room and shut the door, all too aware that if the fire reached them and he couldn’t break the glass, it would be over. From the wide-eyed look Anna gave him as he set her down on a beat up old couch, she wasn’t thrilled with the prospect either.

“We can’t stay here,” she said, pushing up off the couch. Her legs shook, but she managed to stay upright as she went for the door. “It’s a trap. We have to find another door…”

Erik grasped her shoulders and pulled her back. “You need to just trust me,” he said, gently pushing her back to the cushions. “This is our best chance. I’m sure of it. Five minutes – just give me that long. If I don’t have us out of here by then, you can decide what we do next, okay?”

She shook her head and crossed her arms over her chest, but stayed on the couch. “In five minutes we won’t be able to leave this room. If you’re going to do something, do it now, or we’re going to die.”

He turned to the window, noting that it was safety glass, but not barred on the outside. On the desk there was a round metal paperweight that looked like an over-sized bullet, and he grabbed it, testing the weight in his hand.

“This should work,” he said, moving back to close the door. “Look away and cover your face with your hands, just in case.” He waited until Anna had followed his instructions and then threw the weight as hard as he could at the glass. Hairline cracks spiraled out from the center as the whole window bowed out, but didn’t break.

Grabbing a metal armchair, he hoisted it overhead and battered the glass, over and over until finally it worked loose from the frame and the whole thing fell outward to crash on the ground.

Anna was beside him in the next second and already scooting up on the frame when he stopped her.

“You have bare feet, and the glass is all over. Let me go first so I can keep you off that.”

She thought about it for a moment, finally nodding. He swung a leg over the windowsill and let himself drop the three feet to the ground, glass crunching under his boots. When he looked up, Anna was sitting on the sill, and he reached up for her.

“That wasn’t quite the exit I expected you to use, but it will work I suppose. I’m not one for coddling women though, so I think your little accountant there can jump down on her own, don’t you?”

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