Part 9 – Free At Last!

Running made his dizziness worse. His vision warped and wobbled. His head felt like it was full of liquid cement sloshing from the back of his head right up into his face.

But Ambrose couldn’t stop.

Hildreth was chasing him.

A full barrage of stakes bounced off his back. They couldn’t penetrate his skin, but their impact stung and hurt. He would have bruises later.

He snarled. I should turn around. Beat him up. Pummel him into begging and pleading. After all that I’ve been through, that would be so satisfying. But he would shoot me dead. I don’t want to die. Not like that.

He raced across the vastly empty parking lot to the parking lot’s gates. They were pulled shut and locked up tight with a chain and a padlock.

“Rrraaah!” He kicked the padlock with all of his strength.

No effect.

“Fine.” He grabbed the padlock and yanked it off. He threw it on the ground and got busy removing the chain.

Footsteps. Splashing hard and fast through the puddles.

Ambrose dropped the chain and grabbed hold of the gate to pull it open.

Footsteps.

Closer.

Closer.

Closer.

Stopped.

A metal barrel pressed against the middle of his back.

He stiffened.

“Surrender.”

Ambrose looked outside the black metal bars.

Busy road.

So many cars.

A forest on the other side.

Freedom.

“Fine. You got me. I surrender. Now, get that thing off my back.”

Hildreth hesitated.

“Please. I’m tired. I’m hurt. I just don’t want to fight anymore.” Ambrose pressed his forehead against the metal bars, which were warm and wet. “I’ll let you put that muzzle on me, although you don’t need it. I’m not going to fight back. I surrender.’

He lowered his weapon. “How can I trust you?”

Ambrose smiled. “You can’t.” He spun around, grabbed Hildreth by his slicker’s lapels, and slammed him face first into the gate.

He dropped him, yanked the gate open, and ran out into the busy street.

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