See, I knew I could get back on schedule.
For those of you who haven’t read any of the Journey Of St. Laurent before: You are now reading an online serial pulp novel. If you didn’t start at the beginning, you may want to do so. Chapter 1:Â Down By The Bay. This serial is the sequel to my first novel, Oasis.
And to any others who read but never comment or anythingâ€¦ well, I’m glad you’re here, too.
Chapter 16: Early Parole
With her purple sequined shirt she didn’t look the part of a dangerous fiend, but her demeanor was all business.
I didn’t feel like grappling with an old lady anyway. I sat up straight and looked her in the eye. “The inmates appear to be four to a cell. From the video feeds, it looks like cells one and two are full. Cell three just has one inmate, and I’m pretty sure he isn’t your son, because he’s the one I came for.”
“You mean you don’t work here?”
I motioned in the most non-threatening manner I could muster to my clothes. “I’m not sure, but I’d guess that employees of the city jail would have a slightly higher dress code than stained sweats.”
She looked me from head to toe and then lowered her gun the rest of the way. “Have you figured out how to open the doors yet?”
I didn’t want to fight with her, physically or otherwise. My moral quandary of whether or not to release all the inmates was over. When it really came down to it, either they were going to get out, or they would starve. I didn’t think I could abandon them to do that. The nice lady with the gun was just a bonus.
“I think so. You have a way to get out fast? I’m pretty sure I set off at least one alarm when I broke the front door.”
“I got my van out front.”
I lowered my hands to my lap. “I’ll tell you what. When I hit the release button, If you can give as many of them a ride out of here as you can, I’d appreciate it.”
“I reckon it’d be hard to stop them from climbing in anyway.”
“You’d better head to your van, then, in case they rush out when I release them and try to steal it before you get out there.”
“Hell no, hon. I’m going to be in that lobby when you open the door.”
That was easy enough.
“Oh, what’s your son’s name?”
I watched her leave the room then turned back to the controls. I turned on the microphone and cranked up the volume for the cell block speakers.
I watched the inmates on the monitors. They backed away from the bars and started looking around.
“Listen up. If Daryl Johnson is in there, I’d like him to raise his hand.”
One of the prisoners in cell number two raised his hand.
“Good. Now, Daryl, your mom is here to pick you up.”
On the monitor I could see the other prisoners laughing.
“I’m serious. She’s here to get Daryl, and she’s offered to take the rest of you guys along.”
There was a bit of fist pumping and shouting in the cells.
“She’s got a gun, so don’t be giving her any grief, all right?”
I don’t think they even heard the last announcement.
I rotated between looking out the teller style window and watching the inmates on the monitors.
Samir was the only one who wasn’t clearly exuberant about the prospect of leaving. He was finally on his feet, but he made no celebration.
In a minute, the sequined lady entered the lobby. I hit the buttons to open cells one and two. The eight inmates rushed into the corridor and pressed up against the second door.
The gun was in the lady’s hand, so I figured she’d be all right.
I hit the button to release the second door and felt a pang of guilt. But, cut me some slack. After all, it was my very first jailbreak.
Eight orange-uniformed men marched through the lobby and out down the hall.
It occurred to me that it would have been nice to warn London first. Nice for her, anyway. As long as she had the gun out and ready to go she’d be fine.
On the monitor, I could see that Samir had finally walked to the cell door and was calling out.
I leaned back in toward the microphone. “Samir Amani, I want to cut a deal with you.”
Which wasn’t exactly true, because I didn’t want a deal. I wanted to beat him to a pulp, then kick him while he was down. But you can’t really come right out and say that, can you?
He was a terrorist. The virus he helped distribute killed thousands of people in Oasis. He deserves pain and suffering in spades, but he’s the only person in the world that might be able to lead me to what I want.
Samir stepped away from the cell door and folded his arms. His accent was thick as he spat his words. “What do you want?”
“I want what you took from Oasis. You get your freedom.”
He didn’t even twitch. “Fine, I’ll take you to it.”
In retrospect, I really shouldn’t have trusted the word of someone who I knew to be a terrorist. But things seemed to be just working out for me and I didn’t think it through enough.
“When I open the door, you will walk out of the cell block and into the lobby, where you will wait for me. If you run, I will shoot you in the back. Do you understand?”
I hit the button and his door popped open.
He put his arms by his side and walked slowly out of the cell.
I stood to get a better look as he left the cell block. I wonder if he’ll remember me?
As soon as he was out of the cell block, he turned and looked at me through the Plexiglas window.
His eyes widened and his mouth hung open.
The bitter anger flared up inside me.
Samir shook off his temporary freeze, spun back to his right, and sprinted for the exit.
“You are not getting away.” I ran as fast as I could out of the control room and through the next two rooms. I ripped open the door that led into the main hallway.
An orange-suited blur was just turning the corner down the hall. I pursued just as fast as I could.
He was ahead of me, but I was a runner, and I was pretty sure I could catch him once we got outside.
I burst from the hallway into the main lobby. The broken glass door was closed.
Not swinging closed? That means he hasn’t leftâ€¦
I turned just in time to see Samir swing the secretary’s wastebasket.
There were stars dancing in front of my eyes and a sharp pain in my forehead. Before I could recover, the second strike landed.
This one chased away the stars and brought darkness. I felt my body collapse backward into a wall, and then slide to the floor.
Keep Reading! Chapter 17 is here.