I realised I haven’t put any samples on the website yet. So, I’m going to put a sample on the website, which is here. Enjoy. This is from Chapter 11
“Why me? Why are you telling this to me?”
“I trust you. I do not know why other than that. Come with me and I’ll show you.” She broke off from me and took my hand, leading me towards the door. I wasn’t sure what she was leading me to but something about the insistence in her voice made me follow along. We went down the corridor past the dormitories and into the briefing room. She crossed to one of the doors with the keypads but stopped in the centre of the room. I looked at her questioningly but she told me with her eyes to wait. After a second she pulled me towards the locked door and, using a card that she pulled from her pocket, she opened it. My mouth was agape as she dragged me through the open door into another corridor. She closed it firm behind us and put her finger to her lips to quiet my onrushing questions.
“There are no microphones in this area and I can’t see any cameras either. There are staff everywhere though so we have to be careful.”
“Where did you get that card? How did you know the code for the door?”
“I told you, I watch people. Never mind where I got the card. What does it matter? Just come with me and no more questions for now. If we get caught, we’ll be in big trouble!”
She stalked down the corridor with me blundering along behind her. She stopped at a door and poked her head up to the window before ducking underneath and signalling me to do the same. We reached a junction and she pulled me towards the left. On the right I saw a green exit sign and pointed towards it but she shook her head.
“There is no way out that way. I have already checked.”
I followed her along and then we stopped dead in our tracks at the sound of voices approaching. Ashana dragged me towards a door on the right and, checking inside, she opened it and we rushed inside. There were comfortable chairs arranged around the walls in what looked like some sort of break room. There was a shelf with a kettle and a sink with some tea and coffee jars scattered around it. On the wall was a large whiteboard with notes assigned to days of the week. Next to this was a calendar. Ashana tried to stop me, wanting me to stick by the door with her, but I had to see if there were any clues as to what was going on. Looking at the calendar, I found the date that I had left: Group 2 Arrival was written over it in thick, black marker. There was no clue as top what the date was now, except another marker entry about three weeks later: DEPARTURE. Departure to where? I looked back to Ashana who was crouched by the door. Looking at the whiteboard I saw familiar names: Uppal, Smith and Tyler, along with some others. Bondarenko seemed to be one of importance. His or her name was on the board a few times, preceded by the letters XO. I couldn’t find anything else of use on the board and crossed to Ashana.
“We have to go. If we’re away too long we will be missed. I have to show you where I heard the staff talking.” I could hear the worry in her voice and nodded to her, but just as we were leaving I saw the newspaper on the table. It seemed funny at first, seeing my picture there; one of those things you expect never to see unless it’s a fake or some joke birthday card. Imagine seeing your face on the front page of the newspaper. Ashana tugged on my arm but I shrugged her off and crossed to the table. Picking up the newspaper, I could see the whole thing. I remember the sick feeling to this day; the complete loss of all sense except a gag reflex. I was shocked out of this by Ashana grabbing my arm and pulling me towards the door. Just as she was about to take the handle, it moved. She gasped and flicked the lock deftly around just as the handle came down. We watched the handle come down a couple more times and then heard an exasperated huff from outside.
“What idiot’s locked the tea room?” We had our backs against the door and both silently were praying whoever was outside did not have a key. The next few seconds stretched on into an age before we heard footsteps marching away down the corridor. I went to leave but she grabbed me.
“We can’t go.”
“What! We have to get out of here before he gets back with a key.” I looked at her dumbfounded.
“Don’t be a fool. We cannot lock the door from the outside. If he comes back and finds it open, he’ll know someone was in here. We have to hide.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. Clutching the newspaper, I looked around the room and then at her.
“Where? There’s nowhere to go. Besides, I thought you said we’d be missed.”
“Knowing we had been here would be worse, I am sure. Put that back on the table exactly where it was.” she motioned to the newspaper, unlocking the door. I had trouble putting it down, my feelings of confusion and fear wanting me to hold onto it, as if by doing so it would change into something else. “Do it. Put it on the table.”
Jarred out of my thoughts by the harshness of her tone, I obeyed, watching as she squeezed herself under one of the chairs next to the sink. I did the same, having to wriggle into a position so uncomfortable that I doubted I could maintain it for very long. Just as I got my last foot in, I heard the key scrape in the lock and watched the door swing open. A pair of work boots crossed the room to the table and a hand came into view, picking up the paper. It was raised to waist level and turned over to the sports section. There was a grunt and then it was tossed back to the table. The boots then came in my direction, stopping at the sink where I heard taps and the kettle being filled. Hopefully he was going to take his tea somewhere else. If he stopped here it could be ages and we would definitely be missed. What if he had an hour? What if he sat here for an hour and we couldn’t get out. They would find us for sure. Those two got a beating just for asking rude questions. What would we get for being in a restricted area? I listened to the scrape of a teaspoon and pouring of water, then milk and then watched with relief as the boots then strolled off back towards the door. He was going. The door opened, however, before he got there and two more people came in.
“Eh, it’s Alfie,” said one of the newcomers. “Bet you’re gutted, mate. 2-1 up in injury time and you throw it all away. No giant killing for you lot, then.” It was a Welsh accent, as was the first man’s when he answered.
“Ah get away, Sanj! I’m not listening to that from a Swansea fan.”
The two continued their argument whilst the third crossed to the sink and started to make drinks. He said to the others, “Anyone seen my bag? I swear I left it in here.”
“Nah, what’s it look like?”
“It’s Adidas, black like.”
“Is that it under the chair there?”
I realised with horror that the bag they were talking about was right in front of my forehead. I froze solid, waiting to be discovered. I saw feet cross to me and the bag start to move as it was taken. Just then I heard another voice: Uppal.
“What are you three doing? Have you finished the upgrades on the tether?”
“Not yet, sir.” said one of the others with a fair degree of fear.
“We were just grabbing a cuppa, you see.”
“Do that when you are finished!” her tone was not to be argued with and the bag stopped moving. The three men left and Uppal’s shinier boots remained. She was still as a statue and I thought for a moment that she could sense us. If we were going to be caught, I would rather the other three had done it. We should have gone in the first place. That one would never have questioned the door being open when he came back with the key. Eventually, she left the room and I breathed with such loud relief that I feared immediately the sound might bring her back.
We quickly escaped from our hiding places and made our way back along the corridor. Coming to the keypad door, Ashana did her trick to unlock it and pointed to the camera in the corner of the room. It was sweeping from side to side on a programmed routine and she waited for it to turn away from our door before she flung it open and we emerged back in the briefing room. It was then that I regretted leaving the paper where it was. He wouldn’t have missed it. They would each assume the other had taken it. I needed proof if I was going to convince the others. We had to get out of here as soon as possible. This was no opportunity. This was nothing good at all.