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   Chapter 4 No.4

High Steaks By Christina Engela Characters: 5114

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:01


There was another commotion on the other side of the large white double doors as the rapidly tiring and grunting team of fascist soldiers charged it again. They managed to gather enough momentum to ram it into the door a little harder, making the hollow bronze statue they were using as a battering ram ring like a bell on impact. A slew of fine gray dust fell from the surrounding lead-wood door jamb.

Gary smiled grimly to himself, as the last sounds of Mei and the party of refugees from the situation room faded from hearing. He knew the door was made of solid Deannan lead-wood. It would take a hell of a lot more than that to break it open!

He sidled past the reception desk nearby the entrance, and risked a stealthy peek outside through the window on that side, taking care not to disturb the lace curtains.

One of the big boys at the front of the statue groaned with fatigue and frustration, and let the heavy weight sag to the tiled floor of the verandah.

"Why don't we just shoot the lock out? Or blow it up?" He heard another trooper suggest. A shorter, rounder man of similar age looked to another who seemed to have more authority, for guidance.

He saw the tall blonde man standing to one side of the group operating the battering ram – which he recognized as a statue taken from the large fountain at the center of the Square.

"Hmmph." Gary muttered under his breath. "Adriano Lupini! Who says you can't fight city hall?"

The guy in charge wore what looked like an officer's cap and insignia, and Gary recognized him as the dude who was running the show. He shook his head. Gary knew the fascists wanted the Palace taken as intact as possible – after all, it was to remain the seat of government! The officer looked round, seemingly gauging the large windows along the wall either side of the door.

A funny sort of urge overtook him, and he reached down to a faintly glowing control panel on the reception desk. He cleared his throat, and stifled a little chuckle.

"Hello? Hello?" He called, distorting his voice so that he sounded just like a doddering, senile old man. "Hello? I say, is someone there? Did someone ring?"

Leaving the group of fascists outside to ponder what the hell that was about, he dashed out of the lobby, down the corridor – after Mei and the others. He knew what was coming next. Just as he reached the kitchen, which was at the far end of the left wing of the building, at the rear, he heard the sound of breaking glass, which told him the fascists had lost patience with the door and i

nstead smashed the window with Adriano Lupini – the bronze edition, and were now climbing through the hole. They would of course, conduct a thorough search of the building – which would take time! Mei was waiting for him in a far corner at the back of the kitchen, at the entrance to a dark stairwell that led to the basement.

"Took your sweet time!" She grinned at him. "Did you have fun?"

"Some!" Gary giggled. "Is everyone inside?"

"We're waiting just for you!" She said, looking him in the eyes as he moved up beside her at the top step. "I know we have a big advantage!" She told him. "But let's still be careful, okay?"

He nodded. He knew she was right, of course. She led the way down the stairs. The basement had been used as a storeroom for many years. A row of dim lights illuminated the concrete chamber – at least enough to cast delightfully creepy shadows everywhere. Old furniture stood stacked about, covered in dusty sheets. The pair squeezed through a gap between an old bookshelf and stacks of dusty picture frames leaned against a wall – portraits of heads of state, visiting dignitaries and former Governors of Deanna. The anticipated cluster of agitated and impatient worriers stood huddled at the very back wall at the far end, waiting. There was no way to go any further, and they'd noticed. Their faces lit up when they saw Gary and Mei coming to join them.

"Mr. Beck!" Phil said urgently, "There's no way out! We're trapped!"

"No worries, Phil!" Gary said, and pulled an object from his slacks pocket. It looked vaguely like a TV remote. A little red light blinked on it to indicate power – though perhaps only Mei and Gary appreciated exactly how much. Phil blinked back, unsure what to think.

"Right about here, eh love?" Gary checked with Mei, pointing at a spot in the center of the wall. Mei nodded. Gary pointed the device at the wall, pressed something, and waved it in a circle. As if by magic, a dark circle big enough to swallow an adult humanoid and still fancy dessert appeared on the wall.

"What is this? Art class?" Landry, his nerves fraying, murmured. "How will drawing on the walls help us get away?"

Gary shook his head, more from amazement at the tool Scrooby had loaned him, than irritation at the crotchety old Governor.

"Easy!" He said, smiling victoriously back at Landry, before sticking a hand into the circle – and shoulder-deep into the wall!

"Follow me – quickly! Don't stop!" Gary announced, before taking a step forward – vanishing into the dark circle on the wall.

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