The End: Story One
The Great Escape Pt.3

By: David K. Montoya

We searched the backstage area for some time, looking for any sort of information that would lead us to Richard. The two of us found ourselves back in the same dark halls we passed through last night. I readied myself for anything that might be lurking around in the shadows waiting for us.

Michael and I followed the hallway until we came to a dead end. At that point it seemed that we would have to go on without my brother. And still, no one was even sure if Richard had survived the battle with the Unluckys. All of this could have been a waste of time. I told my son that we would have to leave Rich behind.

We moved back up the hallway toward the lobby. I came to a complete stop and shouldered my weapon, and in doing so, Michael readied his gun as well. We both heard footsteps that sounded like they were heading our way. I motioned my son up against one wall, while I hugged the other one then Mike and I slowly walked on to meet whoever was coming toward us.

We could see a figure emerging from the darkness. Still having our rifles up and ready, the two of us once again came to a standstill. As the person entered a pool of light, we were relieved to discover that it was only the janitor we ran into down here yesterday.

Though we did not lower our weapons, he continued to walk up to us. In a deep strong voice, the man introduced himself as Professor Dean Kaide, and said that he was of no threat to anyone (at least not directly). Also, he promised to help find Richard, plus show us a way to escape, as long as we would take him with us.

At first I was leery about his offer. It could have been some sort of trap, though Michael seemed to be all right with it. Reluctantly I agreed to Kaide's terms, but he would have to lead the way, while one of us had a gun on him at all times. With a half cocked, satisfied grin, he stepped in front of Mike and myself to lead us to where Richard was being held.

#

Once the three of us reached the exit that led back to the main part of the coliseum, we heard the sounds of men marching. Turning left to go through the double doors that divided the backstage area from the seats, I could see that a handful of guards were standing there blocking any movement in or out.

Instead of trying to force our way through, we continued following the hallway until all of us were standing in the center arena. As I looked around, it was evident that no one had cleaned up after Richard's battle. The bodies of the two Unluckys, as well as the poor bystander were still out in the open. My attention was drawn to the entrance as the protective gate dropped down, locking us inside the arena.

I knew someone was on to us, but I wasn't sure who it was. We were looking around trying to find an exit when thunderous noises echoed above us. Without warning, all of the exit lights went out, replaced only with the main spotlight.

Trying to see past the bright light, I saw a figure standing in the Emperor's V.I.P. box. The person revealed himself, as he stepped out in the open; it was Arch-Commander Patrick. He did not say anything at first, just stood there looking down at the three of us with his arms crossed. I could barely make out that he had a rather large smile on his face.

Finally he uncrossed his arms and placed them on the railing in front of him. Patrick explained that he knew we were going to be a problem the day all of us were stopped while on our way to Haven. The Arch-Commander stopped speaking as he noticed that a third person was with us.

He asked the Professor how he liked his new friendship, and that his insubordination to Palace City and the Emperor caused his fate to match our own—Death! Patrick turned back into the darkness and within moments I could hear growls and hissing which indicated the arrival of a pair of Unluckys!

I had to think quickly, as I didn't want to waste valuable ammo on them. We could easily go through a full clip each before the Unlucky would truly be dead, but there was nothing we could do. Mike and I shouldered our guns and waited for the Unluckys to come into the light.

Before we knew it, one of them lunged out at me from nowhere, knocking me to the ground. I could hear my son calling out to me, saying that he was coming to my aide. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the Professor grab up my rifle and join in the attack on the other Unlucky.

I heard both rifles being fired, but I knew I was on my own; Michael and the Professor were too tied up with the second monster. I did the first thing that came to mind, and placed my hand around its neck and started to squeeze.

The Unlucky continued its attack on me. The demon swiped me across the face a couple of times, but I refused to let go and only tightened my grip. Blood from my facial wounds started to roll back into my eyes, causing me to squeeze them shut.

Now basically blind, I could no longer see what was happening around me. I focused on the hissing coming from the Unlucky, felt the creature's nails slice through my arms and heard Michael screaming to me that he was on his way.

I re-positioned my right hand on the thing's neck and found that it was right under its Adams apple. I dug my fingers into its flesh as I continued squeezing, making it harder for the Unlucky to breathe as well as to swallow.

I could feel the monster's hot blood run down my hands and onto my arms. Its hissing was replaced by the sound of gasping. Finally after what seemed to be forever, the demon's body went limp. I shoved it off of me and made my way back to my feet.

I was shaking, but not from fear; it was excitement! I had just taken another life, but it was with my own two hands. At that point the only sound that I could be hear was the rapid beating of my own heart.

Still in darkness, I called out to my son and felt a cloth placed over my face. Wiping the blood away, I could once again see what was going on around me.

Examining myself, I was relieved to find out that the wounds on my arms were minor. I realized then that there was no more gun fire. Looking over at the Professor, I saw him standing over the bloody corpse of an Unlucky. I looked down at the one that had attacked me. It was on its back, and black tarry blood slowly ran from its neck.

I looked up at the V.I.P. box and saw Patrick standing there, clapping his hands. He said that we did well in the first stage of his plan, but would bet that none of us would be so lucky with the next. As he turned away I could hear the protective gate rising.

We took a moment to gather ourselves, and then exited the arena to resume the search for my brother Richard.

#

We were able to get through the main exit that led from the backstage area to the lobby entrance of Palace City. Within minutes we found ourselves back inside the town center. I noticed that the guard's body from earlier was gone, which meant that all of the city's guards would be on high alert.

Slowly, we moved through the city. The professor continued to lead as Michael followed behind, and I covered the back. Still somewhat winded from my fight with the Unlucky, I stopped to catch my breath. That was a mistake, as I turned my attention away from the others, letting down my guard.

I felt a cold steel blade placed over my jugular. Someone managed to sneak up behind me, but he was hesitating. I seized the opportunity and slammed the back of my head into the man's face. The knife moved away from my throat, and I heard the guy crying out in pain.

I turned away, putting some distance between the man with his blade and myself. When he tried for a second attack, I was able to dodge him, and this time I countered with a kick to the side of his left knee.

When the man hit the ground, I saw his knife fly from his hand. Before he noticed it was gone I grabbed it, and placed the heel of my boot on the bridge of his nose. By this time Michael and the Professor realized what had happened and were now by my side.

The guard got back to his feet, and realized he was out numbered, so he put his head down and dropped to his knees, surrendering to us. When I turned away to walk back over to the others, the man made one final lung for me. But he never made contact, as Michael fired one shot into the man's head.

That single gunshot rang throughout the town. Before any of us could prepare ourselves the group from the coliseum was coming at us from all directions. We took off running as fast as we could up the town's road. Just when I thought we were going to get away without further incident, gunfire erupted.

Not stopping or looking back, Michael and I returned blind fire. We could see the entrance that led to the hotel. The Professor said once we reached the elevator inside, we would be in the clear, but the guards we gaining on us!

I told the Professor to go in front of me, as I didn't want anything happening to him, especially if he did indeed know where Richard was and could guide us out of there. We would run a few paces then turn to fire, run some more and fire once again.

We finally reached the elevator, but were quick to discover that the control panel had been destroyed by one of the stray bullets. The Professor turned to us and said that the only way up now, was to take the stairs.

Not having time to debate the issue, the three of us headed for the stairwell. Once we were inside, I wedged a knife between the door handle and the wall, creating a temporary lock to buy us a little extra time.

#

We moved up the first flight of stairs quickly, and the Professor stepped out an exit onto the second floor. I asked him what he was doing; why did we leave the stairwell?

He explained that we would be able to use the elevator on this floor and that none of us would make it up fifteen flights of stairs. Again, we did not have time to talk it over, so we raced down the hallway heading for the elevator.

I hit the button, but at the same time I heard someone shout out, "They're over here!"

I turned to look over my shoulder and saw a group of guards coming up the hallway. Michael was about to fire his rifle until I stopped him. He questioned my actions, and I explained to him that we were safe for now. The guards were not firing at us because they would put their residents in danger if we exchanged gunfire there in the hallway.

Moments before the guards would have reached us, the elevator doors slid open. We rushed inside and I punched the 'close' button several times, trying to get the doors to close faster.

As they slid together, I could see the faces of a few of the guards and they cursed at not being able to reach us. There was blood lust in their eyes, but they would have to wait because for now, we were safe from them.

#

The elevator doors opened on the fifteenth floor and the three of us ran into the Penthouse suite. The Professor said that we had one more floor to go, and I asked him how that was possible, as the Penthouse is the top floor.

He explained that the Emperor had the Presidential suite turned into a prison. That way he would not have to worry about anyone escaping; the only way in or out was through the highly guarded staircase.

We ran farther up the hall, and saw an Imperial guard step out of a room. He noticed that we were coming up on him quickly and opened fire. I could see another guard rushing the Emperor out of his room and down the opposite end of the hallway.

Two more Imperial guards stepped from the room with their guns blazing. With only a few feet between myself and one of them, I pulled the trigger of my weapon, only to find that I had run out of ammo! Not knowing what else to do, I took the butt of my rifle and slammed it into the metal nose guard of his helmet. Blood started to pour from the wound where the metal had been forced into his face. He fell to the floor and began to convulse. I grabbed his sidearm and opened fire on one of the Emperor's cohort.

The third guard dropped his gun and made a run for the elevator. The Professor grabbed up one of the weapons and put a few rounds into the man before he could reach safety.

To be continued…

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