Stupid, stupid, stupid.
There’s no possible way this is a good idea.
I’m on foot and they’ve got every single form of transportation ever invented at their disposal. What could I possibly hope to gain from this? All I’ve got is my feet, a music player, and this backpack. That’s no match for anything they could send after me.
If what Billy yelled at me as I left was right, I’ve only got two hours before they wake up. No matter how fast I run the best I’m going to get by then is twenty miles out. That’s nowhere near enough distance for this to do anything except ensure I get killed.
Huffing my way along, cursing myself for such a reckless decision, I do the only thing I can do at this point: put the headphones over my ears and hit play.
Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen.
“Not so fast,” Grant shouts from behind me. I stop in my tracks and look down the tunnel behind me. Lit by the light from the open hatch above, I see a knife held to my brother’s throat. More surprising is the man holding the knife.
“How are you so hard to kill?” I ask Grant, hoping this is all just some weird dream.
“Cyrus, run!” The Geek yells.
I frown at my brother before looking to Eve. She’s standing there staring at what’s happening in front of her, almost as though it were a movie and not reality.
Alvin climbs down the ladder into the tunnel with an obnoxious smile on his face.
“Grant,” Alvin says cheerfully. “Not so rough with the boy. We’re not here to scare them.”
Grant growls, but loosens his grip. The knife doesn’t move.
Eve shakes herself, as though waking from a daydream.
“Grant,” she stammers. “You’re—“
“Sorry about the whole faking his death thing,” Alvin cuts in as he separates himself from the ladder. Maxine follows behind him. “In retrospect, I’m certain there could have been a better way of going about things, but, well, we needed to have a little discussion with Mr. Caesar in private.”
“Fine, you win,” I interrupt. “So, if you’re going to kill us–”
Alvin laughs heartily. “Kill you? Oh no, my boy. Not a chance. You’re our hero, Cyrus. All of you are.”
“Hero?” Eve asks, raising an eyebrow.
“Of course. You saved the day. You took away Miss Nile’s power. You took out the corrupt politicians. You finalized the revolution.”
“You knew about Miss Nile?”
“Of course, I did.” Alvin smirks knowingly. “You think a man in my position wouldn’t know about her?”
“If we’re your heroes, why does your henchman have a knife at my brother’s neck?” I growl.
“Grant!” Alvin scolds, noticing my brother is still being held at knifepoint. “I apologize, Mr. Rhodes, I had not realized my compatriot was still keeping your brother captive.”
Grant reluctantly releases The Geek, who immediately runs to my side.
“I’m not sure you’ve ever been so quiet before,” I smile and tousle the little guy’s hair.
“I’m not sure I’ve had my life so directly threatened before,” he whispers breathlessly.
“Okay, so, we’re going on our way then,” I say, turning to walk away. Eve and The Geek join my side.
“Don’t you wish to receive your reward?” Alvin asks. “You did do an awful lot of work after all. It would be a shame for it all to go unrecognized.”
I stop and look over my shoulder. “Are people going to stop chasing us?” I ask.
“Yes, I would believe so. Considering the current state of affairs above ground, I can’t imagine why anyone would mean you any ill will.”
“That’s all the reward we need.” I turn and begin walking.
“Could we not at least give you transport to your homes or wherever you would prefer to be? You’ve already traveled an awfully long way to get here, the least we could do is get you home.”
“I am really tired,” The Geek whispers to me.
“I could definitely go for a long rest on a plane or a train or whatever,” Eve agrees.
I consider the offer momentarily. Over the course of the past two weeks, I’ve run across the country, I’ve been shot at, dropped from sky scrapers, and was involved in two prison breaks.
This could be the absolutely worst decision I’ve made over the course of these past two weeks, but the bottom line is, I’m tired. And I really want to go home.
I turn to Alvin and flash him my brightest smile. “You have no idea how good of a reward that sounds, Mr. Alexander.”
“Perfect!” Alvin cheers, clapping his hands once. “Join us topside. Our pilot is eager to see you again.”
Go to Chapter Two