We entered into the secret stairwell that the Professor had told us would lead to the prison. Once inside, we had to take our time moving up the stairs, as it was a narrow area. With only enough room for a single file line, we moved up the rickety iron steps. Our shoulders were pressed against the brick wall and I began to feel a bit claustrophobic. I had never been one for enclosed areas. Michael kept looking over his shoulder to check on me. He was well aware that I did not like small spaces and was trying to reassure me by saying that we were almost there. Just as I was about to loose my nerve, we reached the top.
The professor stood at the door for a moment, then on a count of three we rushed out into the open, ready for a nasty gun fight, but no one was around. Had every guard followed the emperor to safety? I had only taken a few steps before beginning to suspect it was a trap! Even as that thought flashed through my mind, five men ran from out of a cell, unloading their guns on us. Quickly we returned fire and pushed the guards back into the open cell. We took cover behind a dividing wall and each of us took turns firing at the men. The scene was reminiscent of an old gangster movie. Without warning, Michael ran out from his cover and headed directly toward the men. It must of caught them off guard because they were only able to fire a few shots before he was inside the cell with all of them. Mike quickly mowed the guards down with rapid gun fire and within mere moments, they were all dead.
Amidst the resounding silence, Michael stepped out of the cell. My heart fell as I saw the blood splatter that covered him. Without thinking of my own welfare, I ran over to my son. After examining him, I was relieved to find that Mike was all right. He had only been grazed by a bullet--the rest of the blood was from the dead guards. Once I was completely satisfied with his safety, I asked him what he had been thinking. He could have been killed! At that point he interrupted me by telling me I shouldn't worry so much. He walked away, not giving me a chance to rebut his argument.
We continued heading north until we reached an intersecting hallway leading east. I told Michael and the Professor that we would have a better chance of finding Richard if we were to split up. I volunteered to continue up our current course and suggested that they take the east route. I could tell Mike was not to happy with that plan by the expression on his face, but he did not say anything right away. I walked over to my son and embraced him, telling him that I would be all right, and for him to be careful himself.
As we started to go our separate ways, I stopped and turned around when Michael called to me. He ran over to me and said something I had not heard from him in years. He said, "I love you dad!" I was speechless; he patted me on my arm and told me to be careful, then went back over to where the Professor had been waiting for him.
I stood there watching them walk away, until they were no longer in sight. I then started back up the hallway that led to the cells. I walked in silence for sometime. It was obvious to me that I most likely was heading into a trap, but the question was, when was I going to step into it? I heard laughter in the distance, and following it, I was led to what looked to be a break room. Looking inside, I saw five guards sitting around a small wooden table, each enjoying their respective meals. I could see that they were all armed.
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