The voices stopped nearby. From down the hall, Mr. Emerson’s doorknob jiggled.
Jack grabbed the note and handed me the pictures to stuff in my bag, and we ran out of the bedroom.
“It’s gotta be here. We must have missed something,” came a voice from the hall. The knob jiggled louder. “Didn’t you leave it unlocked?”
“It’s the Order.” Jack made a move toward the door, drawing his gun from his jacket.
I grabbed him. “What are you doing?”
“Capturing them.” He shook me off. “Torturing where they’re holding Fitz out of them. Whatever it takes.”
I was surprised and a little disturbed at the anger simmering in his eyes. “We can’t,” I whispered. “Mr. Emerson said very specifically for us to find this stuff, and not to let anyone else get it. If we get caught ourselves . . .”
Jack hesitated. He glanced back at the door and ran a hand over his face. Finally, he put his gun away. “You’re right. I just . . .”
I nodded. “I know.”
“But they’re out to get you, too.” I could see the logical side of him take over again. “We can’t risk them figuring out who you are. Let’s go.” He glanced around the room and hurried to a small window. He wrenched it open. For some reason, I hadn’t considered this would be our way out of here.
He started to climb through, and I hurried to him. “Is there any other way?” I peered out at the four stories to the ground below, fighting vertigo.
A crash from down the hall. They’d kicked in the door. Jack swung both feet onto the fire escape, and offered me his hand. “Not if we want to get out of here alive.”
Jack tugged me along the rickety fire escape and adrenaline thrummed through my veins, shooting everything into high focus. The crisp bite of the night air, the acrid scent of incense wafting from another apartment. One of my stilettos sank through the metal grate, and I stumbled, then peeled off my shoes and threw them over the railing, watching the iconic red soles flip end over end. I tried not to notice how long it took them to hit the ground.
“Doing okay?” Jack called over his shoulder.
“Fine,” I said through clenched teeth, making sure not to look down. We were running on the sidewalk. On firm ground. On the track at school. Not fifty feet in the air. “I’m fine. It’s fine.”
The fire escape swayed ominously with each leap we took down the stairs. We ducked under a neat row of wet socks on a clothesline and were just one story up when a shout came from the apartment window. Jack shoved down a rusted metal ladder, which fell with a clang and a sway that was not at all reassuring—then dropped off altogether.
The shouts from above got more excited. Two people leaned out the window. One was pale with a shock of red hair, and the other had darker skin—and a shiny black gun in his hand.
“We’ll have to jump.” Jack swung himself over the edge, then let go. He crumpled when he hit the ground, but rolled and popped up in an instant. “I’ll catch you,” he shouted.
No. I couldn’t. Running along the fire escape was one thing. Throwing myself off it was another. I clung to the railing, searching frantically for another ladder, another staircase.
“Oi, little girlie!” the one with the gun called. I barely had time to register relief that he didn’t know who I was before he continued, “I’ll give you ten seconds to bring whatever you took from this flat back up here, or I’ll have to knock you off that ledge and take it myself!” Even from here I could see him grin like he was enjoying this.
Not good. Really, really not good.
“Jump!” Jack yelled.
A bang ripped apart the night.
A rush of cold air flew past my shoulder, like when you’re standing on the sidewalk and a bus drives by too fast. I winced, and the bullet hit the ground at Jack’s feet, raising a cloud of dust. Jack danced out of the way. The only thought in my head was that I wouldn’t have had time to have a thought if he hadn’t missed.
“Avery!” Jack’s frustration had turned to panic.
“Just go!” I yelled. “Hide! I’ll get down on my own!”
“Are you insane?” he yelled back. “I’m not leaving you.”
I sucked in a lungful of cool air.
Above me, the guy started to climb out the window.
“Jump!” Jack shouted again.
Even if he wasn’t going to leave me, there was no way I was trusting him to catch me. Ten feet away was a support pole that ran to the ground. I hurried toward it, trying to ignore the sound of footsteps banging on metal.
“No!” Jack yelled. “Jump!”
I lowered my legs over the edge, awkwardly in the short, tight dress. Jack was still yelling. I couldn’t tell if the footsteps were still coming closer. I ignored them both and wrapped my legs around the support like a fireman’s pole. I squeezed my eyes shut and, with a whimper, let my grip go a little at a time until one hand, slick with sweat, slipped. A sharp piece sticking out of the pole sliced into my thigh.
“Jack!” I screamed, and then his arms were around me and we fell with a thud, but he cradled me so nothing but my elbow smacked the ground.
I scrambled off him just in time to see the dark-skinned guy raise his gun again. “Watch out!” I dove into Jack, driving us out of the way as another shot missed us. We barreled into a cluster of trash cans with a metallic crash, then scrambled behind an abandoned couch every cat in the neighborhood must have used as a toilet. Both men disappeared back through the window.
“Thanks,” Jack panted.
“You too,” I gasped.
Only then did I feel the sting on the inside of my thigh, just above the knee. A river of red ran down my leg and dripped onto the asphalt. I hissed through my teeth.
“Here.” Jack dug around in the pockets of his blazer until he found a tissue, and pressed it to the wound.
I grabbed the tissue from his hand and held it in place as he yanked me to my feet. I limped along beside him out of the alley, barefoot.
“There!” a familiar voice yelled, and I whipped around to see four men rounding a corner down the block.
We ran toward Jack’s motorcycle, parked at the curb. He got on the bike and I leapt on behind him, pressing myself into his back as we shot away from the curb and into Istanbul traffic. Cars whizzed around us in every direction, their headlights and taillights performing an elaborate waltz to the music of their horns. I clung to Jack like my life depended on it, because it did.
P/S: Copyright -->www_Novel12_Com