Lauren stood up in her cell when the lights went out. When only the red illumination of the generators flickered to life she pressed herself into the corner of the small concrete room, back to the wall.
Those around her, at least those she could see through the bars covering the front of the cell block were doing the same. Most everyone here was a political prisoner, but that didn’t mean they all got along. Lauren had been a cop, and a good one, that hadn’t made her the popular among the others.
If this was a move by one of the prisoners, it was a good one. The guards were off somewhere else, she could only hear the distant sounds of barked orders. More so, the communication units spaced every couple cells were dark.
Lauren jumped when the first man ran past her cell; he was a prisoner, orange jumpsuit and hungry eyes. Then he was past before Lauren had a chance to process what she’d seen. The blast doors at the end of the cell block crashed shut behind him. When the second followed Lauren pressed herself to the bars.
“Hey!” She called out, but he was gone, running full tilt past the rows of inmates. “What the hell…” She wondered aloud. She could hear the others sharing her block murmuring to themselves. The third one, this time a spindly armed woman, grinned at Lauren but didn’t stop her long legged sprint down the concrete floor. Lauren didn’t know what she planned to do if one of them stopped, even if the sudden flow of escapees had a keycard among them, there was no reason to share it with her.
Another two followed the first wave. The lights weren’t on yet and people seemed to be getting somewhere. The industrial blast doors at the end of the halls were tantalizingly open. A few of the other inmates had tried calling out to the runners, begging or cursing. None had stopped.
Lauren groaned in frustration and turned away from the bars. It wasn’t worth torturing herself. However the runners had gotten out none seemed interested in sharing their freedom.
“Let me out bitch.” The man across the way, his name was Louie she thought, growled. Lauren bristled assuming for a moment he was addressing her. She turned.
Someone, a woman, was standing in front of Lauren’s cell and ignoring Louie’s steadily louder profanity. She was just taller than Lauren, with broader shoulders only somewhat disguised by her sweatshirt and jeans, she looked familiar and Lauren couldn’t place it.
The newcomer stared at Lauren for a moment before turning her head to the side; Lauren caught a glimpse of high cheekbones and a knife sharp jaw line.
“Found her.” The stranger finally said, addressing someone Lauren couldn’t see. The woman didn’t even look back to Lauren, just turned on the heel of her cross trainers and walked away.
“Hey!” Lauren’s temper flared and she crossed the distance, curling her fingers around the bars and yelling after the stranger, no easy feat as the woman was already to the side and heading towards the exit. “What the hell is going on?”
Someone to her other side cleared their throat and Lauren jumped.
“Hey.” His face was recognizable even in the red glow of the emergency lighting. He didn’t wait for her to say anything, just ran a red metal card over the lock bar. Something clicked and the bars shuddered. He pulled them open and looked at her. “You ready to get out of here?”
It was damn good to see him, and not just because he’d opened her cell. She could have told him that, but it was probably a conversation left to better times. “We really need to get you that white horse Detective.”
He rolled his eyes.
“What about the others?” Lauren looked around the cell block as she stepped from the cell. It felt odd to be walking around on the concrete without a gun hovering at her back. Louie had retreated to the back of his cell, sulking, but everyone else had grown louder when they realized someone had a keycard.
He was already leading her down the cell block. Lauren didn’t have any problem matching his stride, she was used to it. He spoke just loudly enough so she could hear him over the other prisoners. “They’re getting out once we override the system, but uh…we wanted anyone unpopular to have a head start.” Outside the blast doors were the common areas. She saw the flicker of movement in the red shadows, other free prisoners like her, but no guards. He still pressed a gun into her hands and Lauren breathed a sigh of relief. The standard police issue Glock was as familiar as it was comforting.
“We? Something tells me you’re not here on official police business.” She whispered, falling into the easy routine she’d practiced so many times, watching his back while he watched hers. Pistols up, the two made their way to the ground floor, and what she hoped would be their exit.
He laughed softly. “No. I’ve got a lot of things to explain I think.”
“Yes, you do, let’s wait until after you daringly rescue the damsel though.” She enjoyed the slight discomfort the comment elicited. He’d never seen himself that way; it was one of the many things she liked about him.
“You’re hardly a damsel.” He glanced back, looking her up and down from orange jumpsuit to Glock, all in an expert stance.
“Doesn’t mean you’re not a hero.” She grinned while he groaned. “C’mon let’s get out of here.”