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   Chapter 19 Prison-Break

Stolen Souls (boy x boy) By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 14695

Updated: 2018-02-10 21:49

It's easy to find your way through a prison by memory.

See that unremarkable brown wooden door? Well, there's where the Blazer Gang was giggling at you. Boom. Turn left. And see that long, drab hall with the custard walls? That's where you disrespected the mayor of Spiral City. That's a right. Now just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

The complex is empty. It's a Sunday morning, after all. Most people are at church or at Ihop, listening to sermons or pouring butter pecan syrup on their stacks of pancakes. And that makes me hungry. For the Word of the Lord and for pancakes.

I wander at a light jog. The halls all lead back on themselves, so I just run a loop or two around the complex until I find the big steel blue doors. I ram those open with my shoulders just to feel cool, and all look-at-me-I'm-a-knight-rescuing-someone. Now my shoulders hurt.

The stairs are just as long and imposing as I remember them. But it's different on the way down than on the way up. On the way up, it's a relief, on the way down, holy heck, I think I'm going to break my neck. And maybe get locked down here, too.

I muster up all my courage and all my strength. Pump my arms at my sides and charge into the cold white abyss below. My footsteps ring out in rapid-fire bursts, magnified a hundred times in the silence. I jump the stairs, two at a time, staring at my boots. Still no scratches. So I keep jumping. Hard and fast, listening to the clicks, humming under my breath. By the time I hit the last step I'm wheezing and my ribs crackle with this sharp, dry pain.

I clutch my side, hobbling into a walk, spinning the rose between my fingers. My insides have gone cold from walking past so many cells. Though few are occupied, I want to let those poor people out. Maybe they're like me and Jules, losing their sanity as they wait for someone to save them. But I don't have a key or Goliath strength to plow through the glass and set them free.

"Jules?" I whisper. The hall is all white and long. The disinfectant reek makes my stomach churn. I hold my breath, but no one responds. The lumps curled on the floor of their cell don't even lift their heads. The lab-techs have long gone, leaving the place silent.

I tip-toe past cell after cell. He isn't here.

I've started to wonder if I've made a big mistake when I hear muttering from the end of the hall. I let out a giant breath of relief. I don't know if it's Jules for a fake, but I do know that Jules talks to himself. The deeper I trek into the crisp whiteness, the easier the trek becomes. The more at peace I feel with it all. Everything that's happened, about to happen.

When I reach the end of the hall, there are two doors. One's creaked open. I hope it's where muttering comes from. I turn the knob and creep in.

"Jules?" I whisper again.

In the darkness, two blood-red pupiless eyes regard me coolly. I stuff my hand over my mouth to mute a scream and slam the door behind me.

I try the other door, my arms, shoulders, chest gone hollow. Something bad's happening here. But I don't have time to investigate or even think about it. I compose my breath, tell myself to toughen up, and push the second door open. It makes a low, painful creak. The light hums softly in ambiance.

"Hey, Jules?" I ask. My voice is shaky. When I repeat myself, the words or even squeakier.

There are two bars of fluorescent light on the ceiling and no windows in the cinderblock walls. The floor is polished white and flecked with deep, dark veins. Two gurneys sit in the middle of the room, the one closest to me empty, the other...well, I can't tell. Just shadows. I shove back my fear and creep around the empty gurney on the lightest footsteps I can make. "Jules?"

The shadow groans. Shifts, movements slow and sleepy. "Oy, Shiro, hey. You came." Jules turns up his face and smiles this loopy, half-lucid smile.

"Uh-huh." I step toward his gurney, hands fidgeting now behind my back. He looks too relaxed after trying to stab out his own heart. He's still in his tux, his shirt stiff and pungent with the stench of dried champagne. His hair is dishevelled, the white streak so out of place it looks like it's been sewn in. His chest swells and falls in smooth, easy motions.

Thick black straps pin him down flat at the wrists and elbows, ankles and knees. Two even heavier ones are drawn over his chest and hips. Bu

ible form of mind. I want to shake him, ask him what the heck he means and can he quit being so confusing please. But then again, we're breaking out of some secret facility, probably under the capital, definitely in a highrise. We need to think about getting out. But I have no plan. Not even a basic idea. I'm just plowing up a flight of stairs with doped out Jules Cervantes draped over my shoulder, my pulse fluttering in my wrists and my tummy turning. Makes me want to punch myself for not connecting the correlating emotional reaction to the correlating situation at hand. Breaking out of a dangerous illegal lab from kidnappers does not equal butterflies and tummy turning! It does not!

And while I'm fighting with myself on the inside, working out the knots as I yank myself this way to that, trying to understand the many, many strange valleys and nooks of the crooked youthful mind, a flutter of motion telld at me to stop and pay attention, now.

Three figures stand on the top step. Arms crossed. Two are wearing sunglasses and trenches, the one in the middle, a very scary scowl.

"Hey, Mom!" Jules waves, and he's slurring now. I think they overdosed him. Know it. But I can't even worry about that now, because the Mayor is pounding down toward us. Her face is red with the rage of a thousand suns, and I freeze. The jig is up. I failed. Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars. More importantly, you're going to die in a glass cell with a horse bit in your mouth and your arms and legs stuffed in manacles so heavy they might as well be carved into rock.

Breathe in, breathe out. Calm down. Think. Problem solve.

"Jules, sweetie." The mayor smiles tightly. "Are you situated? Why are you with Star?"

"Oh, Star. Shiro, you mean." He rubs me on the head. "He's saving me." Kath and Sirius are too close for comfort, hemming me in, one on my left, one on my right. I step back so suddenly he almost tumbles down the stairs, stumbling on his heels and clawing my arm. He yelps.

"Shiro." The mayor steps down, closer. "What are you doing with my son?"

I shrug. Make my eyes all big and innocent. "Saving him. It's kind of sick you'd have him drugged. Thought I should get him out of here."

"My rose, " she breathes, and when I glance back, I realize Jules took it and stuffed it into his pocket. For some reason that makes my heart beat even faster, and again, I run my brain through the 'correlating response' thing. Goddamn, I'm about to be jumped! In an illegal lab! On the stairs!

I grab Jules by the hand. Intertwine our fingers, draw up my breath, and bow. Quick and painfully, new aches racing up a back that's been crunched so long I can hear the vertebrae popping in my spine. "Run!" I shout, and Jules and I tear down the steps. Him stumbling as I lead the way. Kath grabs for my hair, but I jerk my head low and roll out of the way, and whip back down into the lab.


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