Across the Wire Excerpt
I ground my teeth.
Don’t give up.
Looking around the cell, I searched for anything that might break the collar. The bars. Maybe if I wedged the end of the pillory between them I could twist the hinge. I struggled to get on my feet. While on my knees, someone entered through the first door of the cell. It was the same sentry that had run to the outhouse after me. My heart dropped.
Her mouth fell open as she took in the empty cell and bent bars. She turned, headed for the panic button on the wall that would trigger the alarm. It was all over now—I hoped Gavin had gotten out.
Something struck the side of the sentry’s head. She stumbled, fighting for balance, arms flailing to steady her. The man with the holster appeared from the gloom, hidden in the night by his black clothes, holding a bar in each of his hands. The sentry raised her shock-rod. The zing of the charged rod echoed through the cell. The woman shot forward, shock-rod in hand, needing contact to electrocute unlike the stun-guns.
“Look out!” I said.
He’d blocked the woman’s attack with his rod. A spark from the shock-rod lit the cell for a second. He’d sidestepped her, hooked the sentry’s arm back with a rod, and struck her on the forearm. Bone cracked. The sentry screamed. The shock-rod dropped from her useless right hand. A second blow knocked the woman out. She crumpled like a heap of rags thrown carelessly against the wall.
He slipped through the bars and crouched next to me while he tucked the rods into a belt at his hip. How did he know how to fight like that?
“You came back?” I stared at him.
He reached for his neck and pulled the swathe off his head. Comprehension slammed me in the face. The man with the holster was a woman.
I flinched away from her. She looked me straight in the eye, and I couldn’t look away. Her gaze held me like the collar around my neck; there was no resisting. I was that shocked.
“Listen, I’m gonna get you out of here. What’s your name?” Her hands rested on the wood around my neck.
A cough racked through me, I couldn’t get enough air. Felt like a serrated knife stabbed me in the side with each hack.
Her hands went to my face. Her touch startled me, her fingers laced through my dirty beard. I twitched again, uncomfortable with the contact, but the look on her face told me she was serious. “What’s your name?”
“Eben.” My response came out like a croak, but the cough died.
“Eben,” she said, and somehow my name sounded different when she said it. “I’m Mia and I’m not leaving without you.”