So, I have edited Full Circle thanks to my new hardware and I will be working on typeset and proof-reading (which I chat about more on the Boot Camp blog this week.) So, I hope you enjoy reading this week’s scene from Full Circle.
My thoughts: Aeron does make me smile especially when Nan is dropping in to say hi and she is off getting into pickles. It’s always a difficult task to pace a novel when you have so much going on. A lot of people don’t like complex stories or find them messy. They aren’t always easy to get right and get confusing if you don’t manage to pull off the story in the way you are hoping to. I had to pace the novel carefully because I needed to provide as much grounding as I could because this is a story that picks up pace as it progresses… and
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Copyright © 2018 Jody Klaire.
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Please note: all scenes are the intellectual property of the author and that online exclusive scenes may differ from the published version.
I swung my legs off the bed and peered down the corridor. The nurses on nightshift were in their office. They were watching some TV show about folks singing although it kinda didn’t sound melodic but they gave it a shot I guess. The way the nurses talked about them, I figured they knew them well or something. Anyhow, they didn’t move from the screen the whole time.
I reached for the water cup——
“Nice move, Lorelei.” Renee grinned as she held her St. Christopher’s. “Self-defense taught you something, huh?”
The cup and my water hit the floor and I held onto the image of Renee. Looked like she was at the Eis estate. I eyed the water jug… Maybe Renee could hear me enough to know where I was if I drank it? I grabbed for it and downed it the way Frei could down a whiskey. Water dribbled down the front of my top and the lights overhead hummed in protest.
My heartbeat steadied and the skin under the wet gown tickled like my hair used to when I rubbed a balloon over it. I got to my feet and tested them out. Felt good.
My heart pumped too hard and I felt dizzy but kinda better than before I drank the jug. The image of Renee and Frei made me smile and I pushed back my shoulders. They’d been impressed with my CIG moves? Well, I had some more to show them although I wasn’t much of a sneaker and I weren’t talking about the shoe. Sneaky stuff was for short folks but I didn’t have any short folks ‘round to break locks and retrieve breadcrumbs. I just hoped I remembered something else useful from bootcamp.
I tiptoed up to the office feeling kinda dumb in a hospital gown. They’d have surveillance cameras and I could only imagine what they’d think seeing my Samson-like butt tip-toing along.
“Shorty, where you sneaking?” Nan whooshed to my side in a CIG style covert-ops outfit. Could have done with one of those.
“I’m trying to get my breadcrumb.” I pressed myself some-shape to the wall next to the office. Nurses had their backs to me watching karaoke and cheering. Why were they cheering? Guy sounded like Nora when she was shrieking.
“Shorty, you listening?” Nan iced me in the ribs and I stifled a yelp.
Huh, she couldn’t hear me thinking. Then again she wasn’t as solid either. I ducked across the doorway and pressed myself to the other side, my heart clattering around in my chest.
“I need to get my breadcrumb,” I whispered. “Quit icing me.”
“You’re in no condition to sneak.” Nan wagged her finger at me. “And you ain’t dressed for public viewin’.”
I stifled a chuckle this time. “Nan, I been communal showering with folks since I was sixteen. There ain’t a lot of me guards or inmates ain’t seen.”
Nan pursed her lips.
I snuck into the linen cupboard and closed the door.
“Shorty, you’re a nut short of a stash when you come in here.” Nan eyed me like she would whistle again.
I studied the walls: they were solid where the door was, and each side. I looked at the shelves. “You got a screwdriver on you?”
Nan wagged her finger at me. “You’re as cheeky as your Aunt Bess.”
I winked and tried the bottom shelf. It slid off kinda easy. Then I leaned into the gap trying not to hit my head on the shelf above and tested the wall.
Clunk. It was hollow and thin board.
I grinned and pushed the board until it cracked from the sides. One windy narrow crevice.
“You think they won’t realize you been in here leaving the shelves like that?” Nan folded her arms.
“It’s fine,” I said taking off enough shelves so I could scrunch up and fit into the gap. I squeezed through with a grunt and stumbled out onto the bare stone floor between two bare stone walls. I shivered and my teeth tried adding a rhythm section to the Nora-style karaoke.
“Shorty, don’t go pale on me,” Nan muttered, touching a hand to my forehead.
“It’s kinda drafty.” I pulled my gown around me only it wasn’t really big enough to fit me and I had a big gap along the back. Didn’t help I’d been made to wear paper panties. Paper was not warm. Nan swooshed behind me as if to cover the area and I chuckled and headed down the narrow space.
What if Gossett finds out? Is she completely stupid. As if that doctor will help her. He’s just as bad as the rest of them.
I held onto the wall but smiled. One memory in a cold damp space.
“Shorty, you don’t have the energy for this.” Nan followed me as I navigated the twists and turns.
“Nope, but Sam is trying to get to me and if I stay there much longer, I’m gonna have to put myself between his thugs and those good folks.” I met her eyes. “Fighting takes a whole lot more energy.”
“This is the physician,” the supervisor said to him with a smile. “You bring the scum to him and he gives them a shot.”
“I know,” he snapped back. He’d been there three weeks and the supervisor was still introducing him like it was his first shift.
“Don’t worry about him, his memory isn’t what it used to be.” The doctor smiled a shifty smile. “This girl in particular needs a lot of attention.”
He smiled back. Sounded worth his while finding out just what kind of attention.
“Why you think it’s Sam?” Nan said like she knew it was but was just trying to stop me headbutting the uneven stonework. I didn’t know who’d built the walls but they could take art therapy with Aimee and Nora.
“’Cause I saw Jake get killed. I saw it. So somehow, someway, I felt Sam. Same as when he was hurting folks.” I stopped and listened to the wall.
“Nora, if you don’t get your hind in that cell I’m gonna zap you good,” Val snapped on the other side.
Nora’s cell was near my old cell which was on the wall of the yard. The old part.
“I’m going already,” Nora muttered back. “I’m telling Aeron on you.”
Nora’s voice was moving forward and away from me. I followed. Arrivals zone was just inside the entrance to the wing and the showers so Nora must have taken a shower and was going back to her cell, if she was still in the same cell.
“Aeron too busy running around free to worry ‘bout your issues,” Val snapped back, her footfalls heavy. She always stomped. Didn’t matter about fire doors with her, you could still hear the stomping.
Val stopped and my stretch of wall diverted to the right. A door opened and clunked shut. Ahead of me was a high ledge with some short-stop crawling space and a few stones jutting out that made it climbable. Guess I was climbing.
“Aeron loves me,” Nora spat somewhere below as I hauled my aching body up and squeezed through the tight crevice. “She writes to me an’ all.”
I grinned. “Sure thing I do,” I whispered through the stonework. “You quit heckling her.”
I held in the snigger and squashed myself up to drop out the other side and clatter to the floor with a grunt.
“What you hollering for?” Nora was giggling.
“I heard her. I swear I heard her.” Val muttered it as if she was looking up at the ceiling.
“Maybe you should go see the shrink ‘bout that,” Aimee shot, somewhere behind me. “You can share my cell.”
“I ain’t sharing no one’s cell.” Val cleared her throat. “Get moving, I don’t wanna stand here ‘til you gotta wash all over again.”
I took another right and followed the corridor away from Val’s yelling. I reached a white section of plasterboard and grinned. Must be the showers. I gripped on and gave the plasterboard a shove.
It didn’t move.
I pushed it again.
It didn’t move.
Top of the door to exit. That way it’s not obvious.
I placed my hands at the top on each side of the white plasterboard. It slid to the side on rollers and I walked into the arrivals’ shower room.
“Shorty, folks are gonna know you came through there if you leave that open,” Nan mumbled, her white hair bobbing around and yup, there was Tiddles.
“How come you taken so long to say hi,” I whispered as I crept over to the door.
“They been out hiking,” Nan said with that joy in her voice she always got when talking about my grandpa.
The arrivals’ zone was in darkness so I snuck over to the bench I’d been sitting on and felt underneath. One breadcrumb still stuck to the bottom.
I stashed the breadcrumb in the rim of my panties. Didn’t even get to wear a bra in a gown. Even then, I didn’t get how Renee always had so much room to fit stuff.
“Do cats hike?” I mumbled hoping the cameras weren’t capturing me stashing stuff in my underwear. Didn’t much want Val catching me and searching me.
“Yes.” Tiddles curled up on my lap.
I took deep breaths and licked my lips. Sneaking was thirsty work.
“Shorty, you are gonna have company if you don’t fix up your handiwork.” Nan shooed Tiddles off my lap and ushered me to my feet. I headed over to the office and shunted the door.
“I got to get my kit.” I scanned along the plastic bags with tags on them. Mine was right at the top but it was pretty easy to reach. Short folks might be good at sneaking but I didn’t need to stand on desks to spot stuff on a shelf.
“Shorty, there are folks heading your way who might take an interest in seeing you wandering around indecent.” Nan flapped at me.
I scurried back into the shower room as a patrol headed into the zone. I picked up the tiled wall section and slipped back into the space. A flashlight shone through the tiny gap and I ducked back.
“Clear,” a guy said into his radio. “Hey, Val, you got a spare smoke?”
“You got something worthwhile?” Val grunted back.
“Yeah, I got them pies my wife makes.” He hummed like the pies were tasty.
“I’m on a diet.” Val sighed. “Tell her I’m blaming her for the extra pounds.”
He laughed. “Sure.”
The flashlight flicked away and I closed my eyes with relief, my heart pounding like I hadn’t drank the jug of water.
I pulled the plastic bag open. Frei-tool of a pocket knife with a twist, lock picks, bread crumb jabbing things, and a little device that sent the messages.
I scurried back along the passageway to the crawl through space. I jabbed my pinky with a breadcrumb and stuck it in the weird scanner that I had to pump with my thumb. I’d never needed to use it before ‘cause I had Renee around but here went nothing.
I grinned at Nan and Tiddles. “It didn’t hiss or smoke.”
They grinned back.
I hurried my way back to the cupboard, closed up the door and placed the shelves back. I fed the lockpicks into the seam of my gown, the breadcrumb, scanner, and Frei tool needed somewhere else to store it ‘cause I didn’t think my paper panties would cope. I grabbed a few sheets and used them to cover my extra tools. It was more for the camera as somebody else on the TV was screeching.
I lumbered back to the ward, refilled my water jug and headed back to bed.
“You just keep drinkin’ and quit the sneakin’,” Nan said and tutted at me but she was in CIG uniform with a badge for sneaking in her hand. She mock-pinned it onto my gown. “Tiddles and I don’t want to have to throw water over you again.”
I smiled and made a slit in the mattress with my knife and stashed my tool kit inside. Sneaky stuff even in a flappy gown. Guess I had learned something in bootcamp.