Jackie had finally calmed herself down. Still scared shitless and afraid to even look out the window, she sat on the couch with the shotgun leaning against the end table next to her. She wasn't sure what her next move should be. There was no way she was going outside again tonight and sleeping was out of the question. She decided to go ahead and call her friend Sarah, knowing she would have to keep the conversation light. If she mentioned anything about what was going on up here Sarah would freak out and either want Jackie to leave immediately, or she would want to come there right away. Jackie thought she would actually love the company, but until she knew what was going on she didn't want to put her friend in danger. She made the call.
"Hey Sarah, it’s me! How are things going?"
"Jackie! Hey girl, how have you been? I’m doing okay, I’ve been waiting to hear from you!"
"Yeah, sorry I haven’t called sooner. I’ve just been real busy trying to fix up the place and get settled in."
"So how are you liking it up there? Is it weird being in the house without your grandmother around?"
"Yeah, a little. I'm getting used to it though. There’s a lot that needs to be done around here; so I have been trying to keep busy. What’s going on with you? You still dating that Matt guy?"
"Well I was up until about two weeks ago. I found out that jerk was seeing someone else on the side! Can you believe that crap? He was acting really weird when I would call him and every time we were together he would always be texting someone. He told me it was his mom and that she was having a hard time after her sister was diagnosed with cancer, and that she just needed someone to talk to. So the other night we were at my place and I had made us a really nice dinner, I lit candles and everything. We ended up in the bedroom for a little bow-chicka-bow-wow and when it was over, he got up to take a shower. The dumbass left his phone on my nightstand and when it vibrated I decided to take a peek."
"Uh oh" Jackie giggled, "This can't be good."
"I know right? Anyway, I looked to see who was texting him and it was some chick named Angie. She was asking him what time he would be over and that she had something "real special" waiting for him. I decided to scroll through the previous conversation a bit and it turns out he's been seeing her for almost a month while dating me!"
"Sad mom my ass" Jackie said.
"Yeah! That idiot was playing me for a fool!"
"Well, what did you do?"
"I'll tell ya what I did. He came out of the bathroom in nothing but a towel wrapped around him and I asked him real politely; "Baby, will you grab the paper for me? Its right outside in the hallway." So when he walked out the door and bent down to grab the paper, I yanked that towel off his skinny ass and pushed him out into the hall and slammed the door closed!"
"Oh my god! Sarah, that is too funny! Not that he's a piece of shit cheater, but the way you handled it; like a pro!"
Sarah was laughing so hard she could barely talk. "He started pounding on the door asking why I wouldn't open it. I put the chain on the door and cracked it open a bit and showed him the phone so he could see that he was busted. Then it was all "Oh c’mon baby, it’s not like that. She’s just a friend, she doesn’t mean anything to me, I love YOU!" BLAH BLAH BLAH. He actually started to cry, although I think it was just because he was naked. The neighbors were starting to get curious; opening their doors to see what was going on and I wouldn't give him his clothes!"
Jackie and Sarah were both laughing hysterically now.
"Oh Sarah, stop! STOP! I’m about to piss myself!" Jackie wiped the tears from her eyes and took a deep breath. This is why she missed her friend, even in a sad situation, something that was truly hurtful for her; she was able to laugh about it. Not only laugh about it, but thrive because of it. Jackie had already put what happened earlier in the evening in the back of her mind, and that was thanks to Sarah.
"So what happened after that? Did you just leave him out there naked?"
"Yep. After being all sad and trying to make up, when he realized I wouldn't open the door, it turned in to "You'll pay for this bitch!" and "You were a sucky lay anyway!" So I dropped his phone out the window then called the doorman. He had security come remove him from my building. Have you ever seen a smart phone dropped from five floors up? It was disintegrated!"
"I’m so sorry Sarah. I thought this one was a good guy."
"Yeah me too, but you know me, my "good guy" meter is for shit."
They both started to laugh again.
"So tell me about Colorado, any hot guys up there?"
"Um, I'm really not sure. I don’t get out much. Other than the occasional trip to the hardware and grocery store I pretty much stick around the house."
"Well girl, you need to get out more! Find some stud muffin mountain man to warm up those flannel sheets of yours!"
"We'll see." Jackie giggled. "Well, it’s getting late. I just wanted to check in with you and let you know I'm still alive."
"Glad you did. I miss you something terrible. Maybe I will come out next month, I have some time off coming to me and I would love a trip out to the mountains to visit!"
"That sounds great! Call me soon and we will figure out the details! And Sarah? Thanks."
"For making me laugh harder than I have in a long time. Have a good night, I love you."
"I love you too girl. We'll talk soon. Goodnight!"
Jackie hung up the phone feeling better than she had in a while. She went to the kitchen, grabbed a bag of chips, a coke and settled back down on the couch in front of the TV.
Remington couldn't just leave the body lying on the floor. If someone came down the hall they could see the guy lying in a heap from several yards away and would know in a second that something had happened. Remington needed every second he could get. Lifting, literally, dead weight, he put the man back in his chair by the door; positioning his feet in front of him bent at the knees for support and resting his head on the back of the chair. Remington went through the guys’ pockets looking for keys to open the door and found none. He did find a two-way radio, which he clipped on to the back of his sweats. He placed the magazine in the man’s lap. From further away it would just look like the guy was having a nap. Remington went over to the door and grabbed the handle. His heart started beating fast. His hand grew warm with the power he was stirring up. He pushed down hard on the handle and it broke completely loose from the door. He looked down at the mangled knob in his hand as the door swung wide open. Freedom.
Walking through the doorway wasn't what he had hoped for; instead of being able to look up at a starry sky, it was another corridor. Except this one was dripping with water. The walls, floor, and ceiling were rock. He was in a cave. Lit by small wall sconces down one side Remington made his way down the corridor wading in freezing cold ankle deep water. With each new step he took came biting pain, like needles being stuck in to his bare feet. He figured he better pick up the pace before his feet went completely numb and he couldn't move at all. He started to run. He tried to watch the water in front of him, not knowing if his next step would land him on a sharp rock. It was damp and very cold. The ceiling was practically raining on him, his shirt was already soaking wet, turning a pale pink from the water mixing with the blood running from his nose. He kept on running until he saw the lights on the wall had ended. Remington slowed and up ahead he could see an opening. He could see the stars and knew he had finally found his way out. He was at the mouth of the cave. When he peered out, lit by an almost full moon, he saw there was no ground; nowhere to take that next step leading him out. He looked down and saw a wide river. It had to be at least eighty feet down, and who knew how deep it was or if it could help with breaking his fall. Looking to either side he saw that there was a small ledge to his left jutting out from the cliff he was on. It seemed to disappear higher up into the woods. It was going to be a long climb. The edge of the trees were about two hundred yards away and he would have to climb up at least another fifty feet once he reached the end of the ledge. Just then his radio came alive.
It was time for Josh to take over guard duty for that asshole Mike at the cave exit. This wasn't his job, and he didn't like doing it. He was hired to check in on the subjects, bring them their food, taunt them a little and that was it! He liked his job, especially the taunting part, but ever since Mike’s regular replacement Rick went missing, Josh had to take up his slack and he hated it. That ass-wipe was probably on some bender, shacked up in a nasty motel with some juiced up diseased hooker. Josh never understood why Mr. Smith would give that loser Rick a job in the first place; he was always late and when he was there he was a complete dick. He was always strutting around like he was some badass and his shit didn't stink.
he thought to himself. Now if they would just find a replacement, Josh could go back to the boring but well paid job he was hired for. He made his way down the hall toward the cliff exit; not an exit really unless you wanted to kill yourself jumping from the cave into a raging river below, but none the less, it did lead to the outside, and
the exits needed to be guarded. Josh could see Mike at the end of the hallway all laid back in his chair with his magazine on his lap. "Is that fucker sleeping?" He said to himself. "Hey! Mike! Wake up you lazy ass!" Mike didn't stir. Josh continued moving closer. "Mike! It's time for shift change! Take your tired ass home!" Mike must have been deep in to it because he didn't move a muscle. When Josh finally reached him, he could see Mike’s eyes were open and his head lolled to the side. He had a deep purple mark around his neck. "Oh shit! Mike!" Josh shook him and he rolled out of the chair landing on the floor with a thud. "Oh fuck!" Josh reached for his radio. "Breach! Man down! Breach! There’s been a breach at the cliff exit! Somebody! Help!"
Remington heard it come over the radio, "Breach!" And that was all he needed to get his ass moving. He reached out to the left of the opening grabbing onto the rocks and pulled himself onto the narrow ledge. He knew he should take his time, take it slow, but they know now that the guard is dead and someone had escaped. He kept himself facing the cliff; he sure as hell didn't want to look down. He pressed himself as close as he could against the cliff face and shimmied his way across the ledge, grabbing anything he could hold on to for support; rocks, roots. He estimated he was about half way across when he heard panicked voices coming across his radio again.
"Breach! Seal all exits, check every room!"
Apparently they don't know who they are looking for just yet
Remington thought. It would only be a matter of time before they figured it out though. Remington kept going, sliding his feet carefully across the treacherous ledge. He had made it almost to the end before he would have to start climbing up when he lost his foothold and slipped from the ledge. Grabbing out, his hand closed around a root sprouting from the rocks like some long dead skeleton arm. He had it by both hands; struggling to regain his footing when the rocks surrounding the root started to crumble around it. "Oh shit!" He yelled. The entire root came dislodged from its rocky burial place and it, and Remington began to fall.
He saw his life flash before his eyes. He always heard people that had a near death experience say that; that their entire life flashed in front of their eyes. He saw himself in the military since he was eighteen; training, fighting, and then he saw his mother; hugging him, telling him how proud she was of him. Remington hit the water hard. It was like falling onto a slab of concrete, and he sunk straight to the bottom. It was deeper than he thought. He kicked off from the bottom and broke the surface gasping for air. The river was punishing, sending him bobbing up and down in the fast moving currents. He went face first in to a protruding boulder; that was going to leave a mark. His legs were getting sliced up by the sharp rocks beneath the surface and his right ankle got jammed before twisting and being set free again. Remington struggled to keep his head above water. He was getting knocked around like a piñata at a child’s birthday party. He knew he must have been in that rivers icy cold grip for at least five minutes before the current started to slow, and he was able to swim toward the edge and finally pull himself up on to the sandy bank.