How Dare They! | Daniel Norrish

Our hero attempts escape in Part 3 of Daniel’s Bonus series.

How Dare They!

Daniel Norrish

 To the Nines Award Part 3

How dare they! How dare they entrap me!

I could feel the anger in my belly like a trembling fist in the pit of my stomach, but I was clever. I pretended to be afraid and I pretended to crave their approval. Perhaps these underground researchers, or whoever they were, had saved me from the bullets, but only to imprison me.

Read these words and know a man who will not be chained or locked away has written them.

I waited until after we had eaten and after my comrades and new dorm-mates had all fallen asleep, then I rose with the intention of escaping. The people who locked the doors assumed I was as terrified as they were of the outside world and so no one thought it necessary to guard me. I moved about the underground facility freely, searching for a discreet exit.

The place was exactly the same at night as it had been earlier and, of course, there was a ventilation system. As if I was in some pathetic, low budget film, I crept through an air vent until I found a grate to the outside world. Then I was in the bush again.

It was dark all around me, only thin steamers of moonlight dangled to the earth from the gaps in the foliage above my head. Only the crickets and bugs sang out into the night to form a constant drone of ticking and clicking.

I had taken no more than a single step when I saw the white palm of a human hand charge out of the blackness and grab at my face. Thank god for my training and my instinct, because without it I would not have ducked. Without it, the knife that followed that hand would have cut across my throat as surely as the morning light cuts across the beach upon the rising of the sun.

I struck out with fists in the blind midnight air and I felt the knuckles of my left had hit something solid, something alive. But it wasn’t enough; this ferocious attacker got a hold of me and we fell to the ground as their fingers clamped over my windpipe. I knew there was a knife somewhere, was it in their grasp? I could see nothing, was the blade falling down on me as

I lay throttled on the crackling, dry leaves?

I bucked and twisted so they fell beside me, then I was on top of my enemy. I pressed down on their mouth and nose, holding back their breath and muffling their frantic cries for help all at once.

But where was that knife!?

Surely it would soon be thrust into me if I didn’t end this struggle immediately; surely my foe had a better grasp of the situation than me. I could feel one of their hands on my wrist and the other was clutching out over the ground, searching for something. I reached out as well and I found something solid.

I knew it was a rock and without a moments delay, I smashed the heavy stone into the meat of their face. Again and again and again I brought the little boulder down on their head. This was no time to be squeamish and I felt the bones of the face fall in upon the brains and I knew the battle was won. I fell away, panting and struggling to catch my breath beside the bleeding corpse.

As the seconds passed, I got to my feet and moved over to the body to assess the situation. To my horror in the black, I felt the tender flesh of someone softer end more supple than myself. It was the first time I’d ever killed a woman and I lost a piece of my soul under that unforgiving moon as I covered the body with the few sticks and branches I could find.

I moved away from the structure and my victim and I crept through the night like a hunted animal. I was as silent as I could possibly be, but another figure emerged from the night and screamed, “Stop!”

My heart raced and I considered running, but the beams of several bright torches were thrown over me and I could see a rifle pointed at my head. I was certain the gun would fire now, why wouldn’t it after our arrival was so violent?

Instead of a bullet, I was struck dumb by a familiar voice asking, “Edison? Is that you?”

“Antonio? You’re alive?”