I knock on the door to Marc’s office and he beckons me inside. I stick my head around the door frame and smile at him. “Burton,” he says. “How can I help you?”
“Hey Marc,” I greet him. “Do you mind if we talk?”
“What would this be concerning?” he asks.
“It’s just about a proposition my dad has for the extension of the hospital. He wishes to speak to you about it, but wanted me to give you an idea of the plans he has in mind before arranging to meet with you.”
“I’m listening,” he smiles. “Take a seat.”
“Actually, it’d probably be better if we could walk the grounds while we talk, there’s some things I’d like to point out to you. Is that okay?”
He stands up and strides up to me as I step out onto the corridor. I give Cole a quick nod and he conceals himself from Marc’s view behind the bathroom door, as we pass by.
Walking alongside each other on the overgrown grass of the grounds, I gesture to the mass of unused land. “When he was visiting the other day, he said he thought it was a shame that all this land goes unused. So, he was thinking of helping to fund the establishment of a private health clinic here on these grounds and sharing the profits. Would you be interested in meeting him over the matter?”
He smirks. “I think I would be, yes.” He nods. “Great,” I say. “I’ll let him know tomorrow at visitation hour and then maybe, he could arrange a meeting with you.”
He nods. “It’s quite chilly out here, Burton. I think we should head back inside.”
I smile. “Okay. Let’s go.”
As Marc enters his office, I make a waving gesture with my hand, and Cole shuffles out of the bathroom with a key in his hand. “Did you get his phone and lock the window?” I whisper.
“Yeah,” he nods. “Right here.” He gestures to a phone in his hand and waves a bunch of keys at me. “Is that the only set?”
He nods. “Definitely, Thomas, relax.”
“Okay,” I sigh. “It’s just if we make one wrong move, the plan falls apart.”
He nods and shuffles towards the door. He yanks it closed and shoves the key in the lock. With a turn of the key, the lock clicks. I release a sigh of relief as Marc presses down on his office door handle and the door remains rigid. We did it. We got Marc out of the way for now. One part of our escape plan successfully executed. Cole places the phone down in front of the door. I smile at him as Marc begin to order us to let him out. We rush down the corridor together and close the double doors to prevent anyone from hearing his demands.
Cole and I stop to catch our breath following five minutes of running. “I can’t believe we just locked Marc in his office,” he chuckles. “He’s going to be sooooo angry when he gets out. It’s a good thing we won’t be here to see it.”
“Yeah,” I say, glancing to my watch. “Okay. It’s nearly time. See you in a few minutes.”
Cole nods as he turns left and I proceed in the opposite direction to him, coming to a standstill beside Lenny, who’s already in position outside the reception. “You ready for this?”
“Yeah,” he swallows. “Just a bit nervous. I’m afraid that it somehow won’t go to plan.”
“Same,” I gulp. “But, I’m just hoping it’ll work out.”
He nods. My heart rate increases as Matt comes into sight. “Hey,” I say. “Okay, just keep her distracted for as long as possible. Lenny will come in a couple of minutes after you so it doesn’t look as suspicious. Just do whatever you have to do to keep her back turned to the reception desk.”
He nods. “Okay, here it goes.” We step back as Matt enters the reception area. “Hey,” he says to the receptionist. “Can you help me with something?”
I can hear her swinging the small door at the base of the desk open, as the door to the reception closes over. Through the door, her response is muffled, so I don’t know what she’s saying. I tap my foot anxiously against the floor, trying to count the seconds as they pass. “Okay, I think it’s time,” I say, turning to Lenny. “Go.”
He nods and pushes open the door. I take a seat on a chair against the wall. The door has only just closed over, and Lenny’s swinging it open again, the security doormen following. “Yeah, I think it was Marc who was locked in. It was in one of the rooms near the gym. He was shouting at someone to let him out,” he tells them.
They nod. “Thank you for letting us know.” And now, they’re making their way towards Marc’s office. I look to Lenny. “See you in a second.”
I grab hold of the door before it closes and creep into the reception. The receptionist is focused on Matt, who, by the looks of it, is trying to get her to fix the phone. I tread quietly towards the desk and scan my eyes for the button Cole told me about. I press down on it, and tip toe back towards the door. “Matt,” I say. He and the receptionist turn to face me. “Cole, Lenny and I are just getting ready to play cards. You want to play?”
He nods. “Sure.” I nod at him and head back into the hallway. I take hold of Lenny’s arm. “Come on, before they get Marc out.” We turn in the same direction Cole went a few minutes ago and pick up our pace. We come to a stop at the side door and push it open. Pressing against the wall, I turn to Lenny. “You were right. There’s no room to move at this exit.”
“Just keep leaning against the wall and step sideways and you’ll make it.” I nod and press my back to the slimy wall. I whip my head towards the door as I hear it creaking open again. Matt squeezes along, catching up with us pretty quickly. The entry gate to the grounds is in coming into my sight. We’re nearly there. I slide out onto the grass, Lenny following. We head towards the gate, behind which, Cole’s standing and a blinding light shines on us. My face drops and I rush closer and closer to the gate. “You never told me there was a sensor light here.”
“There never used to be,” Cole said. “After you unlocked the gate, Thomas, you guys were taking ages, so I had to close it back over. If it’s left open for too long, an alarm automatically rings, so you guys are going to have to get over the wall.”
Lenny looks to Matt and I. “There’s no way I’m going to get over that.”
“Here, I’ll give you a boost.”
Lenny approaches the wall and I grab his foot. He lifts his leg up and grabs holds of the top of the wall. Cole takes hold of his arms and pulls him over the edge of the brick wall.
“Stop right there,” Marc bellows. My eyes widen as I spot him sprinting in our direction. “Matt, come on.” I grab his foot and boost him upwards, Lenny and Cole aiding him in landing safely to his feet at the other side. “Burton, stop right now,” he barks.
“Thomas, come on,” Cole calls.
I search for a way I can climb this wall. There’s one piece missing from the brickwork. I slot my foot into it and start scaling the wall. I push my body upwards with my foot. “Thomas, just get a bit higher, we can pull you over.” I place my hand to the top of the wall and can feel a hand clasping mine. There’s also a hand grasping my ankle. “Not so fast,” Marc hisses.
He yanks my foot downwards and I come crashing to the ground. “Thomas,” Matt shouts.
“Just go,” I call. “Before security catch you, go. I’ll catch up. Go, run, now.”
Marc is leaning over me, balling my jumper between his fists. I lift my knee upwards and strike him in the stomach with it. He winces and I hurl his body off mine. I scramble towards the wall and make a grab for it again. He swipes for my foot again and I swing it downwards. It pummels into his shoulder. He grimaces and grabs his shoulder. Cole grabs my arm and pulls me over the wall. I fall to the ground and Matt helps me to my feet.
“Guys, I told you to go,” I say, as I dust myself down.
“I know,” Cole nods. “But, we weren’t going to leave without you.”
“Let’s go,” I digress.
Lenny, Cole and Matt nod in agreement and we begin to run down the long winding road.