Sometimes people are not meant to be lost in oblivion. They don't get to let it all go, they are pulled back.
The bright light, blinding their eyesight, that gives them hope of finally escaping with the thin air is the one that betrays them. But not all of them.
The light gets snatched away and they get thrown back to the darkness they came from. It tells them that they don't deserve to be free from themselves, not yet.
As Elliott found that he had no light left around him, he started sensing again. Suddenly, he felt a strong jab across his face and then another. Someone was continuously shaking him and throwing him against the ground.
He slowly opened his eyes. Another jab, right on his jawline. He squirmed at the sudden pain throbbing on his cheek. He could notice a figure sitting at his feet. As his vision cleared, he saw Meraki. Her eyes looked red as if she had been crying.
She was about to hit him once more when he deliberately moved to make her understand that he was alive. He found himself lying on the floor, somewhere he didn't faint. The pungent odour was faint and even if he was drenched in red, he knew he couldn't feel any pain.
"You stupid piece of sh*t! Do you know what your idiocy did to us? Look at Jack, he's beaten up badly and you? You're just fine." Meraki went on talking as Elliott finally managed to support himself into sitting up.
Jack drooped as he sat laying his head against the cupboard. He looked like he was trying to regain his strength. Jack was anything but a quitter.
"W-what.. do we do?" Elliott spoke but his voice came out as a faint whisper.
The room around him looked like a supply room and faint light was entered from a window beside him. "Fire exit", was written there. He wondered if it was a good idea to have such a thing at a jail but he knew his city and how everything was. No one cared.
"We'll jump," Jack said as he raised his head.
"We'll die," Meraki argued.
"No, it's steep. We'll fall on grass." He said, taking short breaths. They talked about the police finding them but Elliott couldn't hear a thing. If the police were outside, it wouldn't have taken them a minute to find them. But everything was eerily silent.
Elliott felt oddly cold which made his skin crawl.
Meraki got up and stood in front of the window, looking around.
"Clear. We have to do it now," she announced. It was clear that no one was in sight.
Jack was the first one to walk up to the window. He climbed up and turned himself outwards, holding onto the window sill. He looked weak and extremely prone to falling over but his determination to live exceeded everything. He slowly let himself down a few inches, still holding on and then he let it go. He fell while still touching the wall, his hands scratching as they rubbed against the harsh texture.
He reached the ground and fell on his back, unharmed. He was breathing deeply, his stomach rising and falling. He was the most hurt of the three and it urged Elliott to muster up the courage as well.
Meraki stood at the window and started copying Jack's trick. She climbed down but she lost her grip too early and started sliding off faster. She fell to the ground on her shoulders and crumpled in pain immediately.
Elliott watched them from above and they stared back. He had an uneasy feeling rising and falling inside him. He touched his forehead, running his hand through his face.
Even after everything, he couldn't feel a thing. His head was fine, with no scratches or injuries. He felt dizzy but he was fine. Elliott wiped the dried blood off of his forehead and sighed. Then, he could feel himself smile.
"It's like that, huh?" He murmured.
Just then, he climbed up the window sill and jabbed his hands on the wall. He let himself fall, his hands scraping against the wall but he didn't let go. His hands were bleeding and leaving trails of blood on the wall. It hurt too much as the same area kept getting scraped over and over again till he dropped to the ground, panting.
"You are either insane or just stupid," Jack muttered and helped him up.
When they looked around, they realised how unsafe they were. They stood in a small square grassed area with dumpsters and garbage lying around. The area stared directly at the alley with no wall around. They were in the backyard of the police station with no one around.
Elliott looked at his hands covered in deep cuts. He formed a fist and looked up. He just had to wait.
"Isn't it weird how there's no sound? Not even people?" Meraki said, holding onto her gun with shaky hands. Her sleeves were starting to get soaked with blood because of her shoulder injury.
Even if it was true that everyone was pin-drop silent, the air still held the smell of gunpowder and mud.
"We have to go back inside-" Meraki said, looking at the alley before her.
Jack burst out laughing, nudging Elliott and almost toppling over.
"No," his laugh stopped and his face went cold. "If you're thinking of helping those criminals escape, you're on your own."
"They're wrongfully accused. I've seen it." She said, her eyes restlessly falling all over the place.
"You're on your own, then," Jack said, dead serious. He was cold and indifferent and glad that he still had a chance to escape.
"But Garry..", Elliott added, not wanting to go against Jack.
"He can save himself. He has been running around on his own and look... he's just fine." Jack spoke but his voice faded away as if contradicting his own statement. He knew Garry wasn't better off without them.
"Fine, I'm on my own then," Meraki said, she looked angry. She was someone who might look like a delinquent but she put morals first. She might've promised them that she'd return, or promised to herself that she'd save them. "Just remember I was the one to save you when you were crawling for help."
Meraki fumed as she started walking off into the alley. Elliott watched her mutter to herself and exit the backyard walking into the alley without faltering, not even looking around. He stepped ahead to call out to her...
Suddenly, a blaring gunfire sounded deafening Elliott. Meraki fell to the ground, crouched down. Elliott froze in his place as he watched Meraki as still as a rock.
He couldn't see blood but he could see her trembling with fear. Elliott walked ahead and he stood behind Meraki. Then he looked to his right from where the bullet had charged at her and his breaths turned shallow.
He could feel his heartbeat strike his chest at an intensity that made him almost sweat. To his right, he could see them. The cops. They stood there, staring at both of them with their hands on their sides.
Elliott didn't move, neither did Meraki. The bullet had just brushed past her. But it was the end, Elliott closed his eyes. He waited for a bullet to pierce through his chest or a pair of handcuffs around his arms.
But neither came.
Elliott opened his eyes and looked to his side. He kept staring, his mind trying to process or believe any of it. The policemen stood where they were but they weren't looking at Elliott. They were ignoring him.
They stood scattered on the alleys and stared at each other. Their skins looked rotten and ash, their pale eyes moving everywhere. It looked like they were not human anymore, but zombies.
The thunder crackled above them, loud and provocative.
Elliott backed up. He held Meraki, who had her head buried in her hands, and started dragging her back to the backyard where Jack stood, unaware of what to do.
The cops were shooting the ground or at each other now and then. They were toppling over but standing back up. It was like they had no control over their bodies and they were reacting to nothing.
"I don't know what's going on but this is our only chance," Jack said. It was clear on his face how unsure he looked and how unbelievable all of this seemed.
When did the cops turn like this? And why did... No. Elliott already knew the answer to that question.
"Now we can go and save-", Meraki started but she was interrupted.
"Not one word," Jack's stern eyes made her shake her head. She looked frustrated but she decided not to say anything.
Then, Jack took the lead. With cautious steps, he entered the alley and stood facing the disintegrated policemen. A few of them looked his way but they did nothing. They couldn't do anything.
Elliott and Meraki followed him as they crossed the road and entered another alleyway to reach the street. Elliott could feel his pulsating veins, he didn't think he'd have survived such a thing.
He looked down at his tightly clutched fists. The blood was still bright but the pain, he couldn't feel it. He wiped off his palms on his shirt and looked at it again.
His palms were plain, untouched. The scrapes and deep cuts were gone like they were never there. Elliott felt a hollow feeling inside.
He was right, he thought. For a moment, he felt nice to not be dead anytime soon. He felt invincible.
They exited the miserable alleys and finally entered the streets. It was empty like no one had been there before. A few police cars were parked in the sides, the chopper was nowhere to be seen.
A drop of water fell on Elliott's face as he looked up at the dark clouds. Soon, it started pouring. The three of them stood there, unmoved, watching the rain wash off everything.
The smell of the air changed, winds blew and the raindrops washed off the red on them. They survived.
Suddenly, at a distance, Elliott saw someone walking with their head covered with one hand. He was limping, trying to run somehow but failing. His faded orange uniform was drenched and he was barefoot.
Garry appeared in front of them, trying to escape while he still had time.
Elliott called out to him and his feet came to a stop. He raised his head and scanned the three of them for a second, then his mouth broke into a grin.
"Victory," he said.