Chapter 19, Part 2
Now or never, Mariah thought. She’d secreted her clothes in the space between the walls earlier that day so it wouldn’t look odd if she went to bed in something other than her normal sleepwear. She passed through the wall and changed by the light of her tiny flashlight.
She waited a moment longer to try and calm her nerves before setting off on the familiar route up the wall, across the upstairs conference room, and down into the wall space behind Kyle’s room. She hoped Amelli had believed her and wouldn’t have the guards watching her room more closely. This might be their only chance to escape.
Mariah slid through the bricks and under Kyle’s bed.
“About time,” he murmured.
“I’m already stressing out so I don’t need your charming sass,” she muttered back. “What are we doing about the tracker?”
“It doesn’t activate until I leave this room, so I’ll have to take care of it here.”
“You’ll be able to zap it right?”
“Should be. But I’ll be unconscious for a few minutes.”
“Okay, how long exactly?”
“Last time it was thirteen minutes and thirty-six seconds. Can you wait that long?” he actually sounded a bit amused. Mariah stuck her tongue out even though he couldn’t see.
“Just do it,” she said and set her watch. She heard a loud zap! And a grunt from Kyle. The seconds blinked interminably slow and she was about to scream in frustration when the countdown ended. She poked the mattress through the plastic bed frame and whispered his name. He gave a low groan and she saw his weight shift.
“You okay?” she whispered.
“Yeah. Let’s go,” he replied.
She reached up through the bed to grasp hold of him. Seconds later he was lying under the bed with her. She signaled him to wait while she belly-crawled back through the wall and stuck a hand out to him to pull him through. She flicked on the flashlight when they were both safely through and standing in the wall space.
“Okay, the parking garage is below us. You know where the cameras are in there?” she asked.
“Yeah, you don’t happen to know where the wiring would be? I think I might be able to do something about the cameras,” Kyle replied.
Mariah nodded and set off down the narrow walk space, checking occasionally to make sure that Kyle was close behind. She stopped in the corner where a pile of wires tracked from floor to floor. She flattened herself into the wall to allow Kyle room to get past.
“What are you going to do?” she asked.
He slid his fingers over the wires. “Well, if I can figure out which ones run to the cameras, I can do a bit of re-wiring,” he explained.
“How do you know how to do that?”
“Same way you can figure out the building’s layout, I guess. Hold up that flashlight.”
She did as ordered and watched him pick through the wires.
“Here,” he finally exclaimed.
“Now what? We don’t have any tools,” she pointed out.
“Calm down, Noodle.” He fiddled with the wire and then released it. “There. The feed should be frozen. Hopefully they won’t be looking at the garage.”
Mariah didn’t ask how he’d done it, she just hoped it worked. She grabbed his arm.
“Okay, my turn again. Let’s go.”
She guided him through the floor and across several walls into the garage. He headed for the nearest SUV. She reached through the door and unlocked it. They scrambled in and he settled into the driver’s seat, reaching under the wheel and pulling at more wires until the engine started with a purr. He backed slowly out and headed for the garage entrance.
“Hey, what if guards see us?” Mariah was struck with sudden fear.
“There’s always people coming and going. Hopefully it won’t seem too out of place.”
“And if they stop us?”
“Well, nobody thinks we can escape right? So why would they be looking for us? There’s no checkpoints around. Hardly anyone knows about this facility so it’s not like they get a lot of visitors,” Kyle said. Mariah hoped he was right. It sounded like he was trying to reassure himself as well.
Kyle drove up the ramp that led in and out of the garage, keeping a slow but steady speed as the tires hit gravel. They exchanged a tense look. Time to see if this would really work.
Mariah obsessively checked the rearview and side mirrors for any signs of pursuit as they rumbled on. So far so good. Kyle turned onto the only road out of the valley and they picked up a bit more speed. Dust stirred by the tires flicked in and out of the headlights. Mariah clenched the armrests. They reached the hill and Kyle shifted gears to give them a little boost as they began the climb.
She didn’t remember the trip in taking this long. Kyle’s hands clenched around the wheel, just as tense as she was. She twisted in the seat to look behind. There was a long stretch of darkness behind broken only by the twinkling lights of the facility at the far end of the valley. No signs of pursuit. Yet.
The crunch of gravel gave way to the smooth hum of paved road and she relaxed a fraction.
“Okay, now what?” she asked. She didn’t want to celebrate just yet. They were all set to wander around mountain roads in the dark to either find a way out or get lost.
“We’ll follow this road for now. There’s a sizeable town about three hours away. We can stop there, probably need to ditch the car. You can find a phone and call your friends and we can figure out a place for you to meet.”
“You’re coming with me,” Mariah told him. She wasn’t leaving him to wander around at the mercy of the charming Dr. Amelli.
“Then head to wherever that is,” he continued as if not hearing her. She frowned. Just let him think he wasn’t coming along.
“How long until you think they figure out we’re gone?” she asked.
“Either they notice the camera feed is frozen first, or they find out in the morning,” he replied.
“Cool. So probably soon then.”
Kyle nodded his agreement and stepped on the accelerator.
Too easy? What do you think might happen next? Also, I’ll probably stick with these two for another week just as a heads up. I won’t leave you on a cliffhanger like this. 😛