Vert sighs at the interruption. “What is it, Rosalys?”
“There are patrols on the hall. They are checking each room.”
“Tch. How sharp,” Vert grumbles. “Do as we discussed before. Oh, and clean up this room, please.”
“Come on, brother. We need to make ourselves scarce,” Vert says, pulling my hand, but stops right away. “Can you walk or do I need to carry you?”
I take inventory of my own condition. My body feels weird, but, “I can walk. Are we running away?”
“Not now, but eventually we will need to. For now hiding is sufficient,” Vert says as she guides me to the opposite direction of the door, where Rosalys enters to clean up the room. There’s a sound of another door opening and a breeze comes through. Vert grabs my hand and pulls me towards the breeze.
Oh shoot. We are going out.
“Wait, wait!” I hiss, planting my feet firmly on the floor to stop Vert. But she’s surprisingly stronger and she successfully drags me through the door. I grow panicked upon realizing I’m outside. My heart starts to beat fast and there’s a pressure in my chest—like stage fright, but worse. “Won’t they expect people to escape from the back door?” I quickly ask, hoping to stall some time so I can prepare myself. It seems like being blind doesn’t automatically make me courageous to go outdoors.
To my relief, Vert finally stops and speaks the words I didn’t expect to hear.
“What back door? We are on the third floor.”
“Huh? Then how do we—mmrrrpphh!”
Without any warning, Vert grabs my waist, holds me like I’m a battering ram with one hand, and jumps. The only thing that keeps me moderately silent over the fall is her hand over my mouth.
Vert lands soundlessly on the ground and puts me down. I stand dazed in shock and disbelief. Three stories high fall and she manages to land without any sound while carrying me; what strong legs.
“Come on,” Vert says with a low voice and tugs me forward. She pulls me close to the wall and wait there. Ten beats later, the veranda door is once again opened.
The air stills around us while we hear people search above. I know they can’t see us because of the veranda getting in the way, but I try to be as still and silent as possible—so silent that I can hear my own heartbeat.
“Third floor clear,” a man says finally.
“Roof is also clear,” says another voice higher above.
Footsteps retreat from the veranda and the door is closed once again.
Vert sighs beside me.
“Are we safe now?” I ask in a low voice.
“Not yet. They have people watching the perimeter. We need to go back inside.”
Vert works to open the window behind us. I quickly stop her.
“Wait, there might be other people there!”
“No, there aren’t,” she says, and the door is opened. I don’t have another chance to protest, as we hear footsteps approaching. “Come inside, quick!”
I do as told. Vert closes the window as silently as she can and push me into hiding beside the window. Not a moment too soon, as we can hear the patrol’s footsteps very close to the spot we had been.
The footsteps stop. I sense slight movement outside the window. The patrol is looking into the room.
Vert’s hand, still on my forearm, tightens. Her message is clear:
Don’t you dare make a noise.
No worries, Vert. I don’t even dare to breathe.
The footsteps resume. Then disappears.
I let out the breath I didn’t know I held. Vert too.
“Phew. Good thing I reserved the room below beforehand.”
“Won’t anyone come and check here?”
“Most likely not. Their number is small, so they’d have to do systematic search from the first floor. They don’t have time to check twice too.”
True to her words, no one comes even close to the door for what seems like a long time.
“They’re leaving,” Vert informs me. “They’re searching the next door. Not on our side, but we should stay out of the window just in case.”
I slump in relief. It has been a while since I experience that kind of fear and they’re not nice to my heart. “Why do we need to hide? Did we do something bad?” I ask.
“Something like that. Don’t worry. You’re the guiltless one here,” Vert assures. Not effective, but now that the situation has calmed down, a more important question surfaces.