Eve’s phone rang, the display showed Jonathan’s name. “Ron, it’s him, it’s my husband.”
Christine was in the shower, Ron couldn’t take his eyes off the television. “Don’t answer it, Eve. They’ll trace where we are and that will be the end of us. You’re probably the most wanted person in White Town.”
“I want to talk to him, Ron. There’s a computer in the lobby, can they track us if I use that? I want to know if my boys are safe.”
Ron thought for a few minutes, he knew how to manipulate computers. It had been a hobby of his for years. “Eve. Maybe you’re on to something. Send him a text telling him that you’ll talk using the computer. But you want the conversation to be a public one on the news channel he’s aligned with.” Ron was thrilled with his idea, it would get him away from the television. He’d have a purpose in the upside down life they’d been thrown into.
He turned to face her, his expression full of hope and exhilaration. “Come on, Eve. Help me go steal the equipment. I’ll set it up so that they’ll never know where the broadcast is coming from.” He looked at her, “Come on, Woman!” He ran to the bathroom door, “Honey, Eve and I are going to borrow the computer equipment from the lobby. Don’t worry, we’ll be fine.”
“What? Ron, what did you say?”
He pulled at Eve’s arm, and the two of them left the room.
They felt as if they were spies in a flick, Ron took the lead and peered around each corner before running to his next safe spot. Eve followed. They reached the stairs, he opened the door quietly and then waved for her. Putting his index finger to his mouth to motion silence, she shadowed his lead. Three flights down, he opened the door a crack to look for movement of any kind. There was none.
Eve saw a cart on wheels in a storage room. The door was wide open. She tapped on Ron’s shoulder and pointed at it. Seeing his smile of approval, she tip toed over to it, and tested its movement for sound. The wheels seemed quiet.
Ron put his hand out to stop her, and looked around the corner to where he could see the registration counter. No one. The computer room had walls made of glass. He couldn’t see any sign of life.
He sprinted across the room to the reception desk and stooped so he couldn’t be seen. Scanning the area, he made a quick assessment. The cash register was open, the on-sight worker must have fled with its money. He put his hands on the edge of the wooden counter top and eased himself high enough to peer into the empty room. It seemed abandoned. Spotting a pen on the floor, he lowered himself, picked it up, and hurled it like he would a Hail Mary football pass.
Still not completely satisfied, he crawled to the end of the bar-like counter, stretched himself to see the open area, and froze. Waiting. Several minutes went by. Finally, he decided to give it the ultimate test. “Is anyone there?”
He stood, his head perusing the room in search of movement. Then he ran back to Eve and motioned for her to follow with the cart.
Inside the computer room, he feverously worked on disconnecting the equipment with Eve standing guard. They didn’t speak to each other. When he had everything he needed on the pushcart, Eve covered the equipment with towels she’d found in the storage room. They were ready to take it up, but this time they’d be using the elevator.
Slowly, they pushed their catch, working hard not to make any unnecessary sounds. They rolled it onto the elevator car and Ron pushed the button. The doors began to close, but suddenly changed their direction, an abrupt change that nearly stopped both their hearts.
Outside their car stood a tall man somewhere in his twenties with dried blood that had blackened on the side of his face. He held a gun.
Eve screamed, Ron froze.
“Tell me who you are. Are you armed?” The man held them at gun point.
Ron raised his arms in the air in a defenseless manner. “No, we’re hiding from the war, we’re innocent people trying to stay alive, that’s all. We mean no harm to you.”
The man studied them both for a few minutes, then joined them in the elevator. “Prove it, take me to your room.”
Ron’s eyes told Eve to follow his lead, not to select the button. But the light on the number three button was still lit up.
“Hit that button again so the doors close.” He was agitated and scared, a lethal set of emotions for a person holding a gun.
Ron and Eve stepped onto the third floor pushing the cart, with the man following close behind. “Take me to your room or I’ll shoot, I swear.”
It was this last message where Ron detected fear in the his voice. He turned around and boldly said, “I can’t do that, Sir. If you want to shoot us, I suggest you do it now, but I won’t put the rest of my family in danger.”
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