9.5 Hiding (Bijoux, Pt 2)

by Matt P.

Two different thoughts ran through Antigone’s mind at the same time. The first one was to run as fast as humanly possible away from the people, because oh my god they were coming for them. There was a terror, Antigone found, to being hunted and knowing it that she hadn’t expected. But the other part of her mind was screaming at her that they needed to find somewhere very close by to hide in, because the person had mentioned other people who were going to look for them.

“I don’t fucking know!” Antigone hissed out in response to a question no one asked, shaking her head. Now it was her turn to look over to Siobhan and shake her head again. “Bonnie, I don’t know what to do—” she panicked. Siobhan reached out and grabbed her, and all of the panic that had gripped her disappeared as she saw the look of calm in her sister’s eyes. It was like a cool salve on a burn, or the feeling of clarity when a headache is gone for the first time in hours. Her sister knew what to do, and that meant that Antigone didn’t.

“They don’t have an army,” Siobhan whispered quickly. “Or they’d just start shooting everybody. They cut the lights, which means they want some privacy. We can avoid them, get out, and get to safety.” Antigone nodded, and Siobhan grabbed her shoulder and squeezed. “Our first plan was good. We stick to the shadows, avoid the main hallways, and get out the front.”

Once again everyone fell in line, and Antigone ended up in the middle. That cold-electric feeling of adrenaline running through her body was leaving her on edge, and everything in the world seemed to make more noise than it should. The clop of Siobhan’s boots, the rustling of Scotty’s jacket. At least she and Sally were walking quietly—of course, her forgetting her sandals and Sally not having them would be a serious disadvantage if they had to walk over broken glass. But then again, things were unlikely to go full Die Hard.

They crept down the hallway for a few moments until the Eisenhund sniffed the air and paused. Antigone was afraid that it would growl but it seemed to understand that they were sneaking, so it contented itself with baring its teeth and flattening its ears. They all took the warning and glanced around. Siobhan quickly motioned them down a side-hallway, which Antigone recognized as being the one with the memorial to the victims of the plague from decades ago. It was not exactly a place that she wanted to hide, but they weren’t spoiled for choice—they all quickly, and as quietly, as possible shuffled in to the hallway. The emergency lights ran on the major arteries of the hospital and many of the smaller hallways, but not all of them, so as they all but ran in to the memorial hallway they were plunged int darkness. Almost as one they turned to look back in to the crimson clad hallway, breathing softly and trying not to draw any attention to themselves.

Slowly, slower still to a hallway f frightened teenagers with pounding hearts, the sounds began to grow closer. They were, at least to Antigone’s eyes, probably well trained at sneaking—their boots made very little noise as they walked and it was likely just an accident that had given them away. In the red light as they passed by the mouth of the hall in tense silence they looked even more ominous and threatening than a group of scary men in dark military style outfits would have. Their black shirts and pants were given a red gloss by the lights, which also gave a sheen to their weapons. Most of them appeared to be human, but there was something about the way two of them walked that made it clear they weren’t. Their walk was too smooth, too gliding—they didn’t seem concerned with anything around them, and they didn’t carry any guns. Their eyes moved lazily from side to side as if looking unenthusiastically for something or someone.

Antigone watched them like she had watched nothing else in her entire life, her heat beating so loudly in her ears that she was convinced it was audible from space let alone from just outside the hallway she was in. And for what was then almost a heart stopping second the figures stopped just beyond the hallway and looked around. They had passed the hallway so their line of sight didn’t include on the group of teens, and after a moment they continued walking along. Sweat beaded on her brow and after a long moment she reached up to wipe it off of her brow. With her eyes adjusting to the dark Antigone could see enough of everyone’s faces to see her own emotions mirrored there. After about two minutes of silence they nodded to one another and began to walk out of the hallway. They could hear sounds of conflict rising further in the hospital, although Antigone couldn’t tell exactly what was happening. They made it back to the hallway and started to walk toward the entrance of the hospital again, still sticking to the plan and hoping they weren’t walking toward the fight. They were creeping in the right direction, past a couple of private rooms and storage closets, when a voice broke the silence like the crack of thunder.

“You!” The voice shouted, followed by searingly bright flashlights shining in their faces. They all paused, and Antigone saw that Siobhan tucked her sword behind her as she turned. It left her standing awkwardly, but her body hid the slender blade well enough without her having to summon it again. They all shared an awkward look as if trying to decide who should speak, when Lacey stepped forward. Petite and blond, she was about as non-threatening as anyone could appear to be.

“Are you a cop?” She asked hopefully. There were four men, each dressed in black and holding an AR-15. The lead one kept his shouldered while the others, arrogantly or lazily, had their rifles held loosely. “When the lights went out we got so scared, sir—” She continued.

“Shut up!” The lead man barked, looking at her. Then his eyes went to the rest of the group, and fell on Sally in her hospital gown. He smirked, and motioned. “There. Radio the others. Take her, kill the rest.” His rifle raised to point directly at Lacey’s face, drawing a squeak of fair from the young woman, and Siobhan started moving.

It won’t be fast enough, Antigone thought in horror, as the man’s finger moved inexorably toward the trigger. It almost made it too before the Eisenhund caught his attention with a room-shaking growl. Turning his rifle toward it in shock turned out to be a terrible mistake as Siobhan flowed past Antigone like water and silk and with one confident move severed his hand at the wrist. He screamed, although it was lost in the growling of the Faerie hound, while Siobhan kept moving and rushed the other men as they raised their weapons.

“GO!” She screamed, as the fight began.