It wasn’t a guard in his cell, the man strangling him was part of The Killers but why was he in there, why was he being strangled? The questions flew through his mind but he had no time to process why this was happening, it was happening and he was unable to breathe. Eight grabbed the hands at his throat and started to pull them away. He threw his body weight around to try to force the man off of him but to no avail. The man pinned him down to the bed and held tight to his neck.
The cell started to go dark and Eight thought he’d see his life flash before his eyes; him as a child wandering the streets with his mother looking for food, and later as a teen turning to the life of crime that would later land him in this prison. But there was nothing, no images, just darkness.
His lungs started to burn from lack of air and suddenly he could see light again as he gasped for air, feeling as if he would never be able to take in enough to feel right again. He realized the hands were no longer at his throat and someone was pulling him up into a standing position. He tried to sit back down to give himself more time to recover the air into his lungs but the other person pulled him right back up.
“No time,” the voice he recognized as his neighbors said to him as he pulled him from the cell.
Eight’s eyes finally adjusted and he was able to see what was going on around him. The doors to all the cells were open and the guards were trying to contain the prisoners and regain control of the prison. “What the hell?” he said as he dodged a punch that was aimed at another man who also dodged the attack. The entire prison was an all out brawl as inmates fought guards, inmates fought other inmates and even a few guards were attacking other guards. Eight briefly wondered how this started as he followed his neighbor through the chaos of the prison.
“Where are we going?” he managed to ask his neighbor as they ran.
The other man gave no response as they continued to run down hallways avoiding other inmates and guards. He wondered why the guards weren’t trying to stop them from getting away but two inmates not fighting with anyone were probably not a high priority for them with the riot going on in the main detention area.
Finally his neighbor stopped running and stood outside a door, “Ready?” He asked. Before Eight could decide if he was ready or not the door was being pushed open and two other inmates were standing inside. Eight noticed that one was a Gamer and the other he believed as a Sniper.
“Bout time,” the Gamer looked behind them nervously.
“Who’s this?” the Sniper pointed to him but the question was directed at his neighbor.
“He was called to the mines. When the riot broke out some Killer tried to take him out so I decided to grab him to bring him along.”
“If this operation goes sour because of him I will personally see that you killed slowly and painfully.”
Eight couldn’t help but roll his eyes at the talk. “Wouldn’t it be better to get moving? Better chance of the operation not going wrong.” The Sniper glared at him meaning to scare him but Eight held his eye contact without flinching.
“Move,” The Gamer shouted and Eight noticed his neighbor climbing into what looked like a chute. The Gamer followed him; the Sniper broke eye contact with Eight before turning to go down himself.
Eight watched as the last man disappeared. He had no idea where they were headed but it had to be better than down into the mines never to emerge again. He could hear shouts from the guards as they started to get closer to the room, they were shouting about missing prisoners. Had the riot calmed down enough for them to notice the four of them missing already? Eight didn’t have time to investigate; if he wanted to get out he would have to follow the other three. He opened the chute and saw a tube; he climbed in and started to slide down. He was three feet in when the tube disconnect from the chute he crawled into. The tube started to move away from the building faster than he was coming out of it. The opened was almost to where he was at, he rolled and tried to make himself go down faster but the opening continued to come. Grabbing the end of the tube he held on before he could be yanked out. He managed to hold on and move at the same pace as the retracting tube.
“What the…?” he shouted as he crashed to the ground suddenly.
“I told you to wait,” He heard his neighbor yelling.
“We couldn’t risk being found and he was taking too long,” the voice of the Sniper caught Eight’s ears.
“You could’ve killed him.” His neighbor shouted at him.
Eight stood and brushed himself off catching a shrug from the Sniper. “Let’s move,” he barked out as the Gamer started to follow him.
“Hey sorry about him,” His neighbor said. He motioned for Eight to follow and the two men started to jog along. Somehow they had made their way outside the dome that enclosed the prison. Eight wondered how it was set up, how a Killer, a Gamer and a Sniper hung around each other long enough to plan this without raising suspicions from the guards or their groups. Questions would have to wait, Eight was out and no longer headed towards the mine and he planned to keep it that way so he ran following the Sniper whether he liked the man or not.
It wasn’t long before they heard sirens coming from the prison signaling an escape and all four of the escapees picked up their pace. They reached a nearby wooded area and the Sniper stopped them. Catching his breath he glared at Eight before turning to the others. “This is where we split; no point in staying together it will only get us caught faster.” He nodded at the Gamer and Eight’s neighbor before running off to the west. The Gamer said nothing as he headed off towards the North.
Eight wondered where he would go with the freedom he never thought he would attain, especially after his number was called to the mines. His neighbor caught his eye and shrugged before running off into the east. There went his final chance of finding out how the escape was planned.
Eight looked around wondering which direction to go, if he headed south he would head back towards the prison, he knew he wouldn’t go west, the less chance of running into the Sniper the better. By now he could the sounds of guards shouting, he had no more time to think he followed ran to the northeast.
The path was relatively easy to follow at first giving Eight fear that he would be easily found, they would be able to see his tracks without underbrush or leaves to cover the obvious path he was leaving as he ran. He could hear someone following after him and he started to run faster. It wasn’t until his stomach leapt into his chest that he realized he had run off the side of a hill and was falling. The fall was, luckily, only five feet or so before his feet slammed into the ground again. He couldn’t catch himself fast enough and was soon propelling head over feet down the side of the mountain.
Eight eventually stopped and moved to hide behind a nearby bush. The ruckus that he caused falling was sure to catch some attention. He looked towards the top of the hill and saw a head peeking over the side. The person stepped carefully over the edge and dropped down with ease. Without being caught off guard the other man was able to run down the path Eight made by tumbling. Eight hid further behind the bush.
“Eight,” the man’s voice was a loud whisper.
Carefully Eight moved some of the branches a part to get a look at the man who spoke his name, it was his neighbor. He stuck his head out from behind the bush.
“What are you doing?” Eight hissed.
“My path was cut off; I circled back and saw you fall.” The man moved closer to Eight and found another cluster of bushes to hide behind.
The two men sat in silence as they heard a ruckus of guards at the top of the hill. Eight wanted to look to see if any of them realized they had gone down the side but if he looked chances were that would be the time that a guard would be checking it out and with the sky getting somewhat lighter it would be easier for them to see his head if he looked. He would have to sit tight and hope they didn’t have the brains to look down.
After several minutes of silence the noise from the guards moved along and Eight took a chance to look towards the top of the hill. He thought they were in the clear when he happened to notice movement at the top. A man came into view looking in the direction he assumed the rest of the guards had moved in. They left a man to stand near the area. He was probably there to watch over the side to make sure they weren’t actually down there hiding. Eight silently cursed before sitting back behind the bush motioned for his neighbor to stay silent. He needed to think of something, it wouldn’t be long before the others would realize the trail had gone cold the direction they were in and they would circle back and all come down the hill.
His eyes fell on a rock near his foot. Slowly he moved towards it and grabbed hold. Closing his eyes and offering a silent prayer to any deity that might help an escapee he threw the rock up and towards the direction the rest of the guards had run in. Once he released the rock he had lost hope of it distracting anyone. The rock fell only a few feet away from him. “Damn,” his silent curse came out of his mouth instead of staying in his head. He couldn’t bear to look at the other man who was near him. His bad throw was going to doom them both. His eyes were still closed when he heard a sound of trees further off crashing. The rest of the guards must be coming back.
“Move,” the other man’s rushed voice whispered to him.
He opened his eyes and chanced a glance up the hill. The guard had run towards the trees giving them a moment to get out and further down the hill.
Eight sighed to himself when they came upon a river. Without speaking they both knew that they needed to walk in the riverbed. They may not have heard dogs but it couldn't be long before the guards brought them out and they needed to hide their scent.
The two walked in silence for several more hours. There was no sun to judge the time of day anymore but the sky was as light as it was going to get so Eight knew it was time to find a place and stop until it was dark once again. It wouldn't be long until darkness fell but they needed to hide. He spotted a cave and gave a low whistle to his companion. The man turned and noticed. They made their way over grabbing several leaves and branches as they walked. When they crawled inside they sat and covered themselves with the foliage they had gathered. Eight looked around the cave and hoped that no animal was also calling it home. Closing his eyes he drifted into a fitful sleep.