“Where is that picture?” I said as I hooked a few fingers around the handle of the rest. Was one of those clawed ones as well.
“It’s at the reception.” He said sneering and then grimacing in pain. “I could take you if you’d like” is said in a pseudo-sweet manner.
“No, thank you, air hostess.” I said. He was about to say something but I didn’t let him. As quickly as I could I dropped the ball I was holding and took a proper hold of the rest then swung it at him putting as much force behind it as I could and only just refraining from making a light-sabre noise. It cracked against his face and I dropped the pole instantly running towards the door not stopping to look if I’d knocked him out or not. I slammed the door shut behind me, buying those vital seconds.
I vaulted over the reception desk and snatched up the picture. It had been gathering dust on shelf with other bricka-brack: an Eeyore key-ring and a set of prayer beads were other things that caught my eye.
Unbelievably the picture was still in its original frame. The stupid tatty thing was almost twice the size of the picture and looked ridiculous. The picture was still in good condition though, I noticed as I removed it. I looked at it. It was just us, smiling. Shawn was hugging me from behind and our cheeks were touching. Whoever this “Janice” was had a pretty strange idea of how brothers, generally, acted.
It was a roasting hot day but inside the base we had some shade. Shawn’s dad had recently bought a Polaroid camera which Shawn had decided to steal for the day and see if we could get any decent pictures of us. We’d tried quite a few times to take it ourselves, by holding the camera out in front of us (like what people do with mobile phones now) but it was too bulky and our arms were to short. A small collection of miss-taken pictures of us littered the ground (he’d actually kept these but when his parents were clearing out his room they threw them out).
“Right, fuck this, Rye.” He said standing up and making to leave. “We’re gonna get someone to take this for us.”
“And how’s that gonna look?” I asked.
“With me in it? Fabulous.” He said ignoring my actual question.
“If he thinks we’re gay then fine. It won’t matter if a stranger knows.” He said cutting me off. “Now come on.”
“What if he tells people?”
“Oh for Christ sake!” he said like an exasperated parent and making me feel like an incredibly slow child. “You worry way too much Ryan, if people don’t like it fuck ‘em. They aren’t important.” That was pretty much his philosophy: fuck what others think.
It took me too long to realise he was right.
“Now come on, I’m getting our picture taken with or without you.”
I heard heavy footsteps coming down the hall way.
“I am gonna fucking kill you!” he shouted at me when we made eye contact.
“Do you realise what a cliché you are?” I baited while darting for a near by cupboard, praying it had a lock or something. Shit. There wasn’t a lock but there was a book case stacked with boxes of paper. I pushed it out in front of the door, it was surprisingly light, and then I pulled it over causing it to wedge between the other book case and the door. A second later the man slammed against it.
Fuck! I thought to myself as I found the light switch. Running into a windowless closet. Now that’s a cliché! The man slammed against the door, shouting more aggressive threats of rape and torture and such. I still had the knife so I could still fight him off if necessary. I sighed and looked up. Well the cupboard wasn’t completely windowless. It had one of those pyramidal shaped windows in the ceiling. The ceiling was pretty low. I tried jumping a few times, but I couldn’t reach. My would-be killer slammed against the door at a steady rate. I climbed the book case nearest the window, it was slightly off centre, and reached out and grabbed the boarding around the window. I was hanging on by little more than my fingertips and my arms weren’t used to having to hold this amount of weight so I was struggling.
For some reason I had thought there would be a latch here or something for opening the window but, of course, there wasn’t. I was using both hands to hold my self up but I let go with my right and then reached into my pocket for the knife. I flicked the blade out so I got some length. And then started stabbing the window.
I managed to crack it before I had to let go of the skirting. I hit the floor ass first and pain shot up my back. My fingers and arms too were numb. I decided to wait a minute or two before trying that again. The banging stopped.
“What are… you… doing in there?” the man asked gasping for breath.
“Masturbating.” I said casually. “Can I have some privacy?”
He didn’t respond.
Reality started hitting me. My arm started stinging where he’d cut me and they were still tired from the exertion of holding my self up for so long. I really needed to get out of here. If more were coming they’d easily be able to get in. I searched around to see if there was anything – a sturdy folder or a hardback book maybe – that would allow me to break the window without climbing up first (I knew I could throw the knife but I didn’t want to risk it going through the window and getting lost outside). I looked around in a few boxes, most just had files in them and proved useless, but then I found one that was clearly “Lost Property”.
Aside from about fifty Golf balls (of all possible colours) there was other lost property stuff but nothing else immediately useful. I started throwing the golf balls at the window.
“Hey, Ryan, What are you doing in there?” The killer asked. I ignored his question.
“This doesn’t seem very fair. You know my name but I don’t know yours…”
“What do you want to know my name for?”
“Well I’m just sick of calling you “The killer” in my head” he made a witless noise, though I couldn’t see I imagined his moth hanging open gormlessly. “Do you mind If I just call you Richard?” I asked as I threw another ball that cracked the window further.
“Erm… sure.” He said clearly throw off.
“I thought we agreed Richard?” he said indignantly, almost hurt.
“Yeah.” I confirmed. “Dick is what Richard gets shortened to.” I threw a Pink golf ball and this one actually broke the window. Already riddled with cracks and being pretty old and thin most of the glass collapsed and fell on the floor.
“What are you doing!?” Dick said with a renewed urgency.
“Escaping. Bee-beep” I said impersonating road runner as I climbed the book case again. I clung to the edge as before. Then I reached up with one hand and took out as much of the glass that was still stuck in the frame as I could. I gripped the frame this time and pulled myself up feeling tiny jagged bits of glass tear into my hands. I had to drag my tummy over the glass too as I hauled myself onto the roof. I lay on my back for a while panting and hoping that those cuts on my perfect torso wouldn’t scar. They probably aren’t that deep anyway. I told myself throwing the bleeding cuts out of my mind.
I walked to the edge. It looked pretty high. I didn’t want to risk jumping; if I broke an ankle I’d be dead for sure. I lay down parallel to the edge and swung my feet over, clutching to the ledge much like I had been doing moments ago. My legs were flailing and I felt them kick cold glass once or twice as I tried to steady them (I really didn’t want to sprain anything).I must have got Dick’s attention when I kicked the window as he dived through it.