This is an original work of Flash Fiction by Patrick Hester
© 2009 All Rights Reserved
Falling from a thirtieth floor window sucks.
If you don’t have a parachute, it’s worse. Still, I don’t panic. I still have the crossbow and the bolt with the line. Plus the automatic pistol. I shoot down, shattering the windows below me, then pull the crossbow and shoot for the hole I’ve made as I pass it. The ground is rushing up, or am I rushing down?
The line is attached to my harness and as soon as the bolt hits, I can feel the tug, feel the resistance. I have no idea what the bolt has hit or how well it’s in place, so I have to make this count. I pull the brake and start to swing in. The machine pistol makes short work of the window and in I go. I didn’t give myself enough slack though, so I have to cut the line or else get pulled back out the window which, as I already mentioned, sucks.
Luckily, my harness has a dead man’s switch; it slices right through my bi-pattern 9.9mm, Dry-Core two hundred dollar line. My feet firmly back on solid ground again, I take my first breath in I don’t know how long and then start racing for the door. I’m in some sort of office, lots of computers and cubicles but no serious lock on the door, just one of those deadbolts with the switch on the inside – I love those. So easy to get passed em.
Elevator is still locked down, so I hit the stairwell. I can hear the shouting from upstairs. The guys who forced me to exit through the window in the first place are not happy that I’m back inside. It’s my fault they’re on me; missed a pressure sensor on the display case. I’ll kick myself later. I pause on the top stair and pull out the small bottle of vegetable oil from my backpack and spread it in a thin line across that stair, then I start down. From the noise above, I don’t have much time so I skip some stairs here and there.
There’s a satisfying yelp followed by tumbling noises above and I allow myself a brief smile. The random gun fire wipes it away. Idiots! Who shoots a damned gun blindly down the stairs?! Do they not know that bullets ricochet?! I go through a door with a giant ‘3’ on it and look around. Nothing screams ‘use me’ except for the fire extinguisher, which I pull off the wall and start spraying towards the door to create a little fog. It’s less than I hoped for but it’ll do. I don’t have much time. I jump into one of the cubicles and see a stash of Mardi Gras beads. I cut the string and toss the loose beads down the hall, then spray the rest of the fire extinguisher’s contents after the beads.
If I remember my floor plan correctly, I’ve got another stair well in the north corner so I start running. I hear the shouting behind me, hear the crash as someone slips and slides. I round the corner before they can figure out which way I went. It won’t take them long to catch up though, so this is where all that cross-country training comes in handy because I can punch it and go full out sprint. I’m through the door and down another flight of stairs in eight seconds, which isn’t bad, though not a personal best.
I’m nearly out of tricks.
The first floor has a security desk and some monitoring equipment but nothing too terribly fancy. The plan never included having to get out of the building this way. I can’t imagine the guards haven’t heard the shooting, which means they’ll either be on alert and paying attention or they have called the cops or both. None of these scenarios especially appeal to me at the moment, but I don’t see another way out at this point.
I slip through the door and listen; nothing comes to my ears and I have excellent hearing. I push down the hallway, towards the only option left to me; the front doors. The halls are lined with this green marble tile – pretty snazzy stuff. I’m hugging the left wall pretty close, trying to get a glimpse of the security desk. What I see isn’t good, so I stop skulking and step out into the foray.
I count at least a dozen cops spread out, weapons drawn, all looking at me. Behind them I can see a line of squad cars forming a perimeter outside and all of it cutting me off from escape.
It’s so much easier to steal things when you don’t get caught.
I slowly raise my hands, releasing the small flash grenade I palmed before stepping out into the open. It’s a small, silver ball – my own design. It bounces once. Twice. All eyes are on it except mine, which are shut when it goes off. Screams but I’m already moving. Past the disoriented police officers blinking against the spots, through the glass double doors and out beyond the squad cars with their red and blue flashing lights.
I don’t stop until I’m at the door of the limousine. The driver opens the door and I slide right in. The man inside is wearing a suit that costs more than my monthly mortgage payment, and he is anything but pleased as I take my glass of champagne and down it. I slide the 800 year old Japanese sword onto the seat between us, then press the button on the timer. Twenty-two minutes. That is a personal best.
“I told you your security sucked,” I say with a smile. I pour myself another glass of champagne. Easiest two hundred and fifty thousand dollars I’ve ever made, and all to help fix the holes in this guy’s security.
…then the bastard picks up the sword, admiring it. The limo starts moving and something occurs to me; the look in his eye as he stares at the sword, that’s lust. Then he stabs me with the damned sword I just stole for him. I’m an idiot. I should’ve known. I’m still awake when he pushes me out the door of the moving car easily doing sixty-five. I hit the pavement and take a bounce down the embankment before everything goes dark.