Today’s Daily Prompt: Carefree
Guns N’ Roses was playing, Axl singing about wanting to hear you scream in the jungle. It’s throwback Thursday, Appetite will be followed by Lies then the Illusion albums. As far as she was concerned, that’s all they recorded.
The good years for the Gunners, the carefree years for her. The Before. She ramped up the speed on the treadmill, outrun the memories, because that always worked.
“Fucker,” she muttered as her feet thumped, her arms pumped. Faster, harder, stronger, better. Because if you’re faster they can’t catch you. If you’re harder they can’t hurt you. If you’re stronger they can’t beat you. If you’re better they can’t … well she wasn’t sure about that one yet, she wasn’t better yet.
She finished her run part way through Lies, flicked out her mat to the mournful ‘Patience’ and started in on the punishing floor routine she’d devised. Afterwards, gasping for breath, more than a little sweaty, she chugged some water standing at the kitchen sink. No where else to do it really, she had her treadmill and a bed to sleep in but not much else. Nothing to leave behind. Her go bag by the door, another one under the bed, one on the roof of the building, because you never knew did you?
No, you never did. Not when, not where, not who. Which is why you had to be Ready. All the time. Why was she standing here in sweaty workout gear? She needed to be Ready. She rushed into the minuscule bathroom, took the quickest shower she could, then dressed in her usual jeans, t-shirt, a light jacket, socks on and shoes she could step into in her hands.
Feeling anxious she checked her go bags as November Rain played then made a light meal. The last of the eggs, ham and cheese made a tasty omelette, she drank the milk too then sat down on the edge of her bed and pulled on her shoes. She left Axl singing as she packed the go bags into her larger rucksack, tucked her e-reader into it’s pouch and did a sweep of the room, making sure she wasn’t leaving anything important behind.
She opened the window and stepped out onto the fire escape, up or down? She looked down and saw the car with the too dark windows then the man in the suit standing by the door. Too late. For them or for her? She heard a knock on the door, how civilised, as she made the decision to go up though really, that decision was made for her as soon as she saw the car.
One last look at the space she had managed to stay hidden in for three weeks, then she stepped quickly out of sight as the handle turned and the door opened. No kicking down doors, that might attract attention. As if he didn’t attract enough attention just by breathing. He stole her breath, as he stepped into the room, his dark gaze sweeping quickly around.
“She’s gone,” he spoke into a handheld device as he turned his back on her, strolled over to check the bathroom. That was her cue to move. Up, up, quick and quiet, only three floors to go, now two, now one. She cleared the edge as she heard his voice again.
“No, I’m sure. She was here,” his voice was clear, then there was the sound of metal creaking and she knew he was outside with her. “I’ll check the roof then we’ll head back.”
Faster, harder, stronger, she ran for the opposite edge of the building, retrieving her last bag on the way and didn’t stop. The next building was a decent jump away, a floor lower and she’d practised so she knew she could make it. More importantly, they’d never expect her to do it, to even attempt such a thing.
The edge of the building approached, she pumped her arms, pushed off from the edge with her legs and she flew. Seconds of weightlessness that she wished would last forever, then the impact, a jarring thud but no time to stop. She ran and hid behind the air conditioning unit, her breathing harsh, and she waited.