Exploits of a Midnight Traveler (Part 28)

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The gunshots frightened me… I was frightened!

The realization that something which not so long ago would have been pedestrian in my nanite form made my heart race with anxiety. My fight or flight instincts were in overdrive and I realized I was hyperventilating. I tried to focus my thoughts and control my breathing, not only to calm myself but also to keep my position secret from the woman in red heels and whomever else was in here with us.

My mind raced in a thousand different directions as I slowly brought my breath under control and strained my ears for any sign of the other shooter in the building. The light was low and shadows draped every angle and surface making it hard to see anything.

I had heard the gunshots then the sounds of bodies hitting the ground. From where I was hiding I couldn’t make out anything but I did hear breathing. Actually it was more like gasping, the struggling last breaths of someone clinging to life. I dared to peek around the corner of the stack of pallets I hid behind and saw the woman splayed out on the ground, her chest slowly rising and falling in ragged breaths.

She was clearly very badly injured and near death. She stared straight up at the ceiling, her legs and arms splayed from an awkward fall after being hit. I couldn’t tell how many bullets she had taken but one is usually enough. Scanning the area for any sign of the other shooter I found nothing but glimpsed her handgun loosely grasped in her hand. I made the decision to act and scrambled towards her.

It wasn’t the most stealthy maneuver in the history of stealthy maneuvers but I was relatively quiet and nobody shot be from the shadows so I assumed it had worked. As I crawled up beside the woman her eyes darted to my face and a weak smile crossed her lips. A small trickle of blood meandered out of the corner of her mouth dripping to the oil stained concrete floor beneath her.

I grabbed the handgun and inspected it quickly making sure there were at least a few rounds in the clip. I didn’t know much about guns but it sure felt good to be armed while preparing to fight for my life.

“Do yourself a favor…” The woman whispered to me, clearly in a great deal of pain. “Use it on yourself. It will… hurt less than…”

She let out a last gasp and her body went limp, all tension and life fading away before my eyes. How many people had I seen die since this all began!

A sound! A clicking, shoes on concrete. I had started to think that I might have been alone after all but no such luck. There was nothing I could do for the woman now so I hastily shuffled to the cover of another stack of pallets a few feet away. The layout of the place made sound travel strangely and the echoes of the footfalls bounced around confusingly. I needed to find somewhere to hide until I could figure out what to do next.

As I scanned the huge space I caught sight of a crane across the warehouse floor extending like a skeletal arm from its base. It must have been used to load transports at one point but now looked as derelict and decrepit as the rest of the building around it. Seeing nowhere else that offered the same degree of cover I decided to make for it.

Taking a deep breath I started along the line of pallets that took me in the most direct route towards the crane. Crouching low I stopped periodically to scan my surroundings and listen for the footfalls of the other or others in the warehouse with me. I occasionally heard a footfall but never too close to my position. Soon I was a mere ten feet away from the safety of the cranes cab, with only a few feet of open space between me and the steps leading into it.

Taking one last look to make sure I was clear I ran across the open space and dove behind the crane’s base as a figure emerged from behind a stack of pallets. I froze in place with my back to the wall, holding the gun I had taken from the woman close to my chest. No shots rang out and after a few moments the footsteps continued on to the pallets beyond the crane.

I scrambled up the steps as quietly as I could and slipped into the cab gently pulling the door closed behind me. I stayed there for what felt like an eternity before peeking over the rim of the cabs window ledge. I had a pretty good view of the shadowy space and the stacks of pallets that lined the place like the walls of a maze. I squinted and strained to spot the one that hunted me and finally saw a dark garbed figure lurking through the darkness with a sub machine gun at the ready.

I knew that my hiding spot would only work for so long to conceal me and that I needed to decide my best move. Before I could collect my thoughts, however, I saw from across the warehouse three more figures enter the building dressed and armed much the same as the man who hunted me this far.

I felt the panic start to return. How could one man with a half empty handgun possibly take on four heavily armed professional murderers in an enclosed space like this?

Then I noticed that the key was still in the ignition of the crane.


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