Coffee Break Read – Escape

When our chance to run away finally came, we almost missed it. Had I not awoken with a full bladder, we would have been herded into the panic room with the rest of the breeders. But I did, and glanced from my window before getting back into bed. I saw lights moving in the hills behind the woods outside the garden wall. For a moment they meant nothing to me, but then I came fully awake with a start. I scrambled into my running clothes, put the little red book and my own book of herbal remedies in my pocket, then crept along the corridor to eight’s room.
I shook her awake, but put my hand over her mouth to ensure she made no sound. She sat up and eyed me warily, then realised I was fully dressed. She dressed herself in silence and, together, we slipped silently up the attic stairs. Not a moment too soon.
We grabbed the contents of the old trunk, then I stood on eight’s shoulders to reach the trapdoor leading to the roof, pulling her up behind me. As the trap closed behind us, we heard the sirens start. We crept carefully along the apex of the roof, until we reached a bank that of chimneys where the roof of the main building met that of the kitchen. We concealed ourselves among the brick chimneystacks, from where we could observe the goings on below us.
For the first time eight spoke. ‘How did you know?’
‘Very luckily. I woke with a full bladder. Looked out of the window on my way back to bed. Saw lights. Fortunately, I was awake enough to make a connection.’
‘You were only just in time.’
‘I know. And now we watch.’
We huddled in the shadows, waiting to see from what direction and in what numbers the raiders came. Firstly, the lights beyond the woods resolved themselves into snarling all-terrain vehicles, then we heard the strange high-pitched whine that denoted the presence of aircars.
This was no random raid by local toughs. This was a big one. The all-terrains raced to the front of the building, three aircars landed in the garden, and two more took station outside the walls. We heard the sound of splintering wood, as some sort of weapon split the front door. Well, we knew our direction of escape, and now was the time to go.

From The Barefoot Runners by Jane Jago.

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