By Kalin Ringkvist
Brian glanced quickly in the direction of the guard, who was talking animatedly with Hep. “It’s almost time,” Brian whispered to Frank, standing beside him. “Hep’s doing his job, got him distracted.”
Frank nodded and Brian’s heart began to pound. He watched the guard, picking the perfect moment, and stepped out of the cell, praying he wasn’t noticed. He turned the corner and ducked behind the wall, and watched Frank leap out behind him. They stood silently next to each other. Frank motioned with his chin, and the two started off at a hard run in that direction.
As they bolted down the hall, Brian scanned the other cells, packed with prisoners, feeling a pang of guilt, knowing he couldn’t help any of them. Trying to still his racing heart, Brian whispered, “We’ll be clear in two minutes.”
Suddenly the sound of one familiar voice filled Brian’s ears. The two skidded to a halt and listened. The sound was coming from up ahead, around the corner. Black, the warden. Another voice sounded, and Brian recognized it as the voice of the head guard. The escapees looked at each other. Brian watched Frank’s mouth slowly drop open in a look of utter terror.
As the two turned to run the other way, Brian saw Black step around the corner. They’d been seen.
Brian ran vigorously now, concentrating on nothing more than putting one foot in front of the other. A moment later he caught sight of a door to his left, leading outside to the exercise yard. He turned, and leaped, plowing into the door and throwing it open. He stumbled, but caught himself and raced across the yard, his legs frantically pumping.
He heard a scream behind him, and for a moment considered ignoring it. Brian risked a look over his shoulder and saw Frank sprawled on the ground, clutching his ankle.
“I tripped!” Frank shouted.
Stopping and racing back toward Frank, Brian noticed the mud on the pavement, now smeared across Frank’s legs.
“I hurt my ankle, Brian.” His face contorted, gritting his teeth, in a look of agony. “I can’t run anymore.”
“Come on,” Brian said, bending over to help Frank to his feet.
With Brian’s help, Frank pulled himself to his knees, but then screamed again and collapsed. “No,” said Frank. “There’s no hope. Save yourself. You can’t do anything for me now. Run! Save yourself!”
After a moment of quick thought, Brian saw the logic, knowing there wasn’t a second to spare. “Good luck,” he told Frank and bolted off in the direction of the other door.
______ ______ ______
“They’re not getting away,” Brad said, looking at Black. “I’ve got it covered.”
“Show no mercy,” Black nodded.
Brad sprinted after the two escapees. As he ran through the hall he patted his hip, expecting to find a firearm. His hand came up empty and he remembered that he was not allowed to carry weapons in this place. Silently, he cursed the safety regulations.
Turning, he threw open the door that led to the exercise yard and saw Frank sprawled out on the ground. He stopped for a moment, surveying the fallen, and determined that Frank had no further chance of escape. Brad continued running and for a moment caught sight of Brian, across the yard, reentering the building.
As he sprinted, Brad risked a look at his watch. Almost time. There was to be a gathering down the hill in the gymnasium. Frank and Brian had picked this moment to make their escape because it was the most hectic time. They would not get away this time, Brad promised himself. Frank had already been caught. One down, one to go.
He plowed into the door, forgetting that it opened out. Several valuable seconds lost. Throwing it open, he rushed in and scanned the area, catching a momentary glimpse of Brian at the end of the hall, and sprinting after him.
As Brad watched Brian throw open the next door, a tone sounded, marking the time for everyone to head down the hill to the gathering. A second later, the hall flooded with people. Caught in the flow, Brad pushed them aside and succeeded in clearing a path, but found his speed greatly reduced.
After several moments, fearing he had lost Brian, Brad made it to the exit and opened the door on the right. He had to shove a group of people out of his way, who, for some reason, insisted on entering through the wrong door.
He took several steps outside, then stopped to scan for the escapee. His heart jumped when Brad saw him across the yard, heading toward the parking lot. He restarted his pursuit, his legs aching with the force he put behind them. He started to catch up with Brian. It’s all over now, thought Brad. There’s nothing to stand in my way.
Brad entered the parking lot five seconds after Brian. He noticed a car waiting in the aisle between the parked vehicles, the driver gripping the wheel, ready to take off. Brian ran toward it.
“No!” shouted Brad. “You’re not getting away this time!” He put his last remaining strength into his run.
The distance continued to close and Brad thought for a moment that he’d surely catch Brian before he could enter the escape vehicle.
Instead of stopping to open the car door–which would have meant his capture–Brian dove headfirst through the open window on the passenger side. The vehicle started moving before Brian’s feet were even inside.
“It’s not time for you to go home!” shouted Brad, not caring that no one would listen. “You cannot leave campus!” He continued running, his arms flailing at his sides. As the car slowed before exiting the parking lot, Brad managed to put a hand on the rear bumper and tried to hang on, but the vehicle sped into the street and he lost his grip.
The guard ran after them into the street. As cars swerved to avoid him, he shook his fist and shouted, “You may have gotten away this time. Next time you will be there! You will watch the cheerleaders, and you will stand for the national anthem! Do you hear me? You will attend the next spirit assembly!” And he fell to his knees, still waving his fist.