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PAN - Loot

by BP | Score: 7450

Outside the sirens wailed. Ash ducked again, more out of habit than any real sense of danger. He he could see the lights flashing, bombing down Oak, spraying the tenements red, blue.

"There's no time, man." He heard someone say. In the darkness he couldn't tell, but he thought it was [Hibiscus]. Strange. He'd grown up with these boys but now, in the darkness, in this night, they sounded foreign to him.

The building was and old factory. Laboratory, they called it when it first went up thirty years ago. The sign outside still said the same, but the lie had died about thirty minutes after the opening. It was factory. People had known that and didn't mind. Lab was a word used to instill a sense of pride in people as if working in a factory somehow didn't.

Or maybe it was to instill confidence, Factories closed. Factories became automated. Factories moved to different cities, to different states, to different countries. Laboratory felt special. More permanent.

But in the end it closed all the same.

Something banged and someone whispered a harsh curse. Ash could feel his insides lurch toward the door. His guts telling him to cut his loses. Toss everything to the floor and make a break for it.

He didn't budge. His insides settled, his legs, once planted to the ground, regained their flexibility. He could move again, and he wasn't going to head for the door. There was too much to do.

"Come on," he heard himself say. His voice sounded older. More in control. "We're gonna sneak across. Take the place from behind."

A chill ran through his body. He could feel it in his cheeks. After everything that had been taken from him, everything that had been denied, he was going finally going to take charge. Do something he'd been told his whole life was wrong, but deep inside him he knew was right. Justice. Not the kind they taught in schools, but the kind they knew about on the Rises. The style of justice that had kept them up there and Ash and his down in the gutter.

"Let's go."

[Hib] jumped. He hadn't known Ash was behind him. Again, that chill shot through Ash. He was in charge. Acting like he had always wanted to act. Calm, sure of himself. Active. The word pounded in his head. Active. No more sitting around reading. No more practicing. No more begging for jobs. He was standing up and telling. The thing his parents had always warned him against. "Sit down. Take your time. Don't stand out."

Not anymore.

The lab was enormous. Each step they took through the abandoned rooms echoed back on them; shadows tapping along, following them. Old Ash would've wilted in the face of it. Let the fear over take him. Now he was too close, too filled with righteousness to care. Nothing was going to stop him from breaking in, taking what he'd been accused of eyeing for so long.

"Hey." [Hib's] voice came out like a breathe. More an accident of nerves than a conscious effort to speak. "Maybe we should head out. Sounds like things are getting messy out there."

"Things always messy out there."

[Hib's] response got caught in his throat. Ash could see his profile in silhouette. Mouth open, body frozen like a rodent caught in a flash of light. 

"Come on," he said again, and they moved together in silence.

The backdoor had a simple lock. He'd never used one of the fobs, but he couldn't imagine it was too hard. The manager's face flashed before Ash. His pale face sunken. His eyes looking out, frightened, as if something was suffocating them and, without use of his mouth the best they could do to plead for air was bulge out, shaking like water, in the hopes it would get across one single determined word: help.

The bottom fell out of his confidence. His foot came down on a piece of debris and almost sent him stumbling into an old, spider-infested desk.

[Hib] reached out, grabbing him, pulling him to his chest.

A spark shot through him, more fire than electricity, and he shrugged his friend off. He couldn't waver now.

When they stepped back out into the night it actually felt cool compared to the damp, humid claustrophobia of the factory. Even with its high ceilings and blown out windows it still managed to retain some of that old feeling. A prison men and women went, hoping the time they spent their would somehow absolve them from sins they'd been convinced were theirs.

The fob was slick with sweat. If he didn't hit it right, if he swiped too closely to the pad, hit it with the tip of the fob and it let out a negative response, he knew he'd drop it and he'd never have the courage to pick it up and try again. His feet were ready to run.

"Go on." {Hib] urged.

"All of a sudden you ready to do this?"

"We're already doin it. So, come on."

It was slipping. That new found sense of self. He could feel it draining from his body with every bead of sweat, like the city was squeezing it out of him.

He changed the fob from one hand to the other, wiped his dry on his pants, then, for good measure, wrapped the fob in his shirt and wiped it clean as well.

When the pad beeped a cheerful affirmation and the light turned green, Ash couldn't even hear the lock remove itself. He froze again, waiting, wondering if he did something wrong.

"What you doin?" [Hib's] hand shot into view, grabbing the door and pulling.

It opened with a slight whoosh. As if a seal had been punctured and all the cool, pure air of the store was momentarily sacrificing itself to allow them access. They were stepping into a different. A different class. The door shut behind them, soft as a whisper. Ash knew he was going to take more than a standarad DU. He neeed 

Completed challenges

The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:

Begin Start typing to begin
Letter Use the letter R
Event Sirens sound in the distance
Words Reach 50 words
Sentence "There is no time."
Words Reach 100 words
Location A laboratory
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Words Reach 400 words
Words Reach 500 words
Event Your character plots revenge
Letter Use the letter T
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words
Words Reach 800 words
Words Reach 900 words
Words Reach 1000 words

This story was written using Taleforge, the free writing exercise app powered by The Story Shack. Curious? Try it yourself.

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