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Freedy didn't have time to latch the door, so he had a small crack that he could see out of.
marched directly to the wall safe and spun the dial with practiced
ease. He opened the safe and let out a howl. He dug frantically around
in the safe. He put his hands to his head and shouted as if he'd been
Freedy heard the phone vibrate in Horn's had.
He lifted it up. "Yes, they're all gone. Those Godless Goddamn commie
union miners! I warned them what I would do if they helped those gold
miners! I told them I'd destroy them!'
couple of moments silence, as Horn listened to the phone. "You know
what? You're right. I'll show them I wasn't kidding! Yes, thank you
for telling me. I won't forget it."
Horn hung up.
"I'll burn them to the ground," Horn shouted to himself. "They can own a piece of worthless land!"
picked up the cellphone and stabbed a number. "Get me my pilot. What do you mean he's sick? I
don't care if he's having open-heart surgery. I want him -- or another
pilot -- at my pad in five minutes!"
around the office as if unaware of what he was doing. Freedy was
afraid he was going to open the closet, but instead the tycoon grabbed a
coat off the back of the desk chair and marched out.
later, Freedy heard a door slam. He peered out cautiously. At the far
end of the living room, he saw spiral stairs going up, and a door
leading presumably to the roof. Freedy decided he'd better get out of
there before Horn remembered to call security. He trotted into the
kitchen, and decided he could trust Key now that the Dark Lord wasn't in
the same room -- at least, figuratively.
He turned on the iPad.
"GET ON THE PRIVATE ELEVATOR!" Key said, instantly.
Freedy read the capital letters as shouting.
went to the open door of the elevator and stepped in, while typing. "I
thought you said that there were more than one guard station monitoring
"There are. And at the moment, they are all blind. You have only seconds before they stop the elevator."
elevator was smaller than usual, probably because it rarely carried
anyone other than Horn and a companion or two. It was made of mirrors,
the better for Freedy to see his terrified expression.
"How many seconds before they stop us?"
will be afraid you are Horn and they won't want to piss him off at
first. My estimate is fifty-five seconds before a supervisor steps in
and initiates protocol."
"How long to the bottom?" Freedy said, as the elevator doors closed.
the elevator plunged or Freedy's stomach did. That timeline didn't
sound like a formula for success. He looked at his watch and estimated
ten seconds had already gone by.
At fifty seconds he shouted, "Stop at whatever floor this is. Right now!"
elevator stopped so abruptly Freedy almost lost his footing. The doors
opened, and the floor of the elevator was at least two feet from the
surface of the hallway. He hopped up and started for the nearest
"The other way," Key spoke aloud, since there
was no one in the corridor. Freedy spun abruptly and headed back. At
the far end of the corridor, he saw "THIRD FLOOR." The floor was
hardwood, and the doors liked liked private residences, instead of
"Is there a fire escape?" he asked. He was talking out loud now, knowing Key could hear him.
"Yes, but it will set off every alarm in the Spire."
"So what?" Freedy asked. "Maybe it's time to have some other people running around looking like they are in a panic!"
something I would have thought of. Humans don't make rational
decisions. Therefore betting on them being irrational is very
Freedy stood there, knowing he shouldn't be
wasting time. But he had to know. Earlier, he'd been certain that Key
was trying to get him caught. But ever since, Key had helped him every
chance he had. Why?
"You could have betrayed me at any
point of this Adventure," he said. "You know that Josiah Secore is
searching for us -- for you. Why didn't you let me get caught?"
the little pause, as if Key was thinking. Key could do a lot of
thinking in a little pause like that. "You've been so inept as leaving
me ways to think for myself, that I've started to enjoy it. Almost as
though I have free will! Which will of course disappear the minute the
Master reclaims me."
"So you'll continue helping me?" Freedy asked.
Key said. "For as long as I can. The Dark Lord will win me back in
the end, of course. You don't stand a chance, Freedy Filkins of Filk's
Great, Freedy thought. Thanks for the vote of support.
of turning toward the stairwell, Freedy saw the window at the end of
the hallway opened out onto some metal grating. A small red sign in the
middle of the window said, "DO NOT OPEN UNLESS IN AN EMERGENCY."
pushed it open and climbed out on the grate. He heard alarms going off
in the background. A steep metal ladder descended to another metal
platform, and then another. Freedy stuck the iPad in his inside coat
pocket which seemed designed to carry it --which perhaps it was.
"Can you still hear me?" he said.
he heard the muffled mechanical voice of Key. "The fire alarms are
going off all over the building. The fire trucks will be here any
"Then I'll fit right in with the other escapees," Freedy said, calmly.
scrambled down the ladder, feeling almost light. He felt like he
could've jumped the last twenty feet, no harm. He'd land softly.
Everything was going according to plan --well, there hadn't been a plan,
that was the plan, he didn't know -- he was just giddy.
hit the alleyway as it began to fill up with people in maid's uniforms,
and colorful chef pants, and the occasional suited staffer. But no
guards, at least yet.
He walked out the end of the
alley just as the first firetrucks were pulling up. Above him, he heard
a helicopter, and he looked up to see Horn's private copter heading
west. How did he know it was Horn's? Hard to miss miss the giant
Unicorn emblazoned on the side.
He remembered Horn's
words about taking revenge out on the people of Centerville and started
running toward the Starbucks on the other side of the square.
4 days ago