No! Steps. Easily a hundred of them. Down into who knows where. I can’t see anywhere ahead of me. The rain is too thick. It’s too much.
“I can’t,” I say, hoping he can hear me. Hoping anyone can hear me. “I can’t go any further.”
“Don’t worry, Eve,” Billy answers calmly. “You did good. You’re great. Stay there. Find some place comfortable, and just stay.”
“Okay,” I reply dumbly. I don’t know if this is the right choice, but I simply don’t have anything left in me.
I find a nearby tree, one at the top of the stairs, where I can look out into the foggy mess of nothing and allow the rain to wash over me.
I’m completely drenched, completely worn out, and completely lost.
And for some reason I can’t fully understand, I start laughing.
Loud belly laughs which echo through the ravine below me. Each loud chuckle sends shooting pain through my entire broken body, but I can’t help it.
I’m here. I’m done. I’ve given up. And the laughter coming out of my mouth and the tears coming out of my eyes tell me this is exactly where I was supposed to end up.
I just hope it was enough.
You know, I could get used to something like this, I think as I lean back in my rolling office chair behind a desk at the car rental agency. A desk job where you’re completely stress free, just waiting for the computer to upload a patch. It’s not a bad life.
Not that I wasn’t a desk jockey already, but this feels, I don’t know, much more relaxing.
A few sirens sound in the distance, getting closer.
I fall back in my seat, head hitting the ground. This is what I’ve been waiting for. If my plan worked, they should fly right past, if not, well, then I’ll be sitting here underneath this desk I’ve now crawled under, waiting for the inevitable shootout to begin. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll kill each other with the crossfire, instead of, you know, throwing a couple of tear gas canisters into this tiny building and storming in SWAT team style to extract me so they can execute me later.
There’d probably be some torture involved in there as well. Unless I give up the backup drive easily.
I can’t do that though, can I?
My heart stops as the sound of the sirens gets closer. There must be over a dozen of them. Alvin wasn’t screwing around when he decided to call in the reinforcements. I can’t imagine that bodes well for Eve. That device of his probably has a tracking chip in it, which means he’ll know exactly where she is. That would explain why they were just hanging around the house, instead of chasing after her. Alvin must have already captured her, right?
I have to get this system back up and running. If there’s any chance she’s still free, I have to help her. I could be the only chance she’s got. Looking at the screen, I see I’ve easily got a few hours left before the backup is restored. And until it’s updated, there’s almost nothing I can do.
Not from here.
The sirens reach deafening levels and then begin to decrease in volume.
They passed me by! My plan worked!
Alright, so, I saved myself, the next question is, what can I do to help Eve? That was his last request. To save Eve. Not that I wouldn’t have done it anyway.
I wonder if I could overclock the system and speed up the processing of the restore? Since this is mostly file system stuff, it probably wouldn’t do much, but every little bit helps. Of course, that would mean I’d need to restart the computer. Since I’m at seventy-four percent complete, that’s probably not a great idea. Any time I might save would be lost by restarting the whole process.
That’s not to mention how likely it would be that I could brick the entire computer if the backup happens to be flashing the BIOS at the time I restart. That would definitely ruin everything.
So, I wait.
And try my hardest to keep from picturing all the horrible ways Eve could be dying.
Please don’t be dying…
Go to Chapter Thirty-Nine