This is an extract from Chapter 2 of Running Out of Space, which I’m planning to self publish this August, along with the other two books in the trilogy, Dying for Space and Breathing Space.
“Right,” said Wynn, in a strained whisper. “We got another couple of intersections to go and a vent shaft before arriving at the ladders leading down to Service Level and the lifts. We’re definitely being followed. If they’re planning on making some kind’ve move, I reckon they’ll be waiting for us somewhere before we reach the shaft – Milla’s lot don’t like using them.”
Donice clearly wasn’t convinced. “Thought you said that the lifts was wired, compadre.”
“They are. On Basement Level. We’re going to be using the lifts on Service Level, where Station Security is far too interested to let the likes of Norby get creative.”
“How come you know so much about these tunnel rats, hombre?”
“They let me snag here for a while. In return for a cut of my earnings,” Wynn’s voice was even and if he was angered at Donice’s attitude, he didn’t show it.
“And you’re gonna walk away. Just like that?” She wasn’t cutting him any slack.
Wynn shrugged. “You heard Milla. Norby’s out for my blood, anyhow. I was already figuring to move on sometime soon. Before he zilched me.”
“Says you.” Donice rolled her eyes. “Unlike some around here – I’m not-ˮ
I heard the slight scuffle in the same instant that Wynn moved. He yanked Donice behind him. Just a nanosec before a thin, long-handled knife sprouted from his shoulder. As he stared at it, blinking in shock, I shoved him out of the way, fumbling in my pocket. My hand closed around the smooth metal cylinder, pulling it out. As I aimed it, arming the thing, my fingers felt like sausages.
Please – let it activate first time… I won’t get a second chance.
Someone, somewhere, heard my desperate plea. Not a minute too soon. The air between us shimmered. And the next knife bounced off the mobile force field and crashed onto the floor.
Tow-Headed Teener appeared from one of the intersections and ran at us, swinging a heavy chain, evidently heading for Wynn.
“Don’t!” The word fell out of my mouth, as I realised what was going to happen.
But he wasn’t listening – and apparently hadn’t understood what the force field would do. The chain hit first, before ricocheting in a snaking arc just as the boy thudded into it so fast that to this day, I couldn’t tell you if it was the chain or the force field that caused the damage. But he crashed to the floor, cursing and thrashing in evident agony, his left leg twisted at an impossible angle with a red puddle pooling under it.
I was about to flick the force field off to help him, when Wynn gasped, “No! Leave it. That’s Kester – so Norby won’t be far away.”
As if on cue, Norby appeared. He scowled at the boy lying on the ground, who called out, “Uncle… please! I’m bleedin’ somethin’ fierce. It’s my knee…”
Norby kicked him. Hard. “You always was a useless pile of piss an’ offal! Now look what you done to yerself!” He drew a Pacifier and shot the boy at point blank range.
Efra screamed, while Donice cursed. As for me – I said nada. Too busy staring in disbelief at what was going down right in front of me. This isn’t happening! It’s some nightmare. And I’ll wake up, soon. Please…
“Look what you girlies went an’ done! Killed poor ol’ Kester while he was lyin’ on his back with a busted leg,” Norby yelled. “The others ain’t gonna stand for that. You’ll get Basement Level justice for sure. An’ all cos yer wouldn’t let me take you’s back up to your daddies.” He flashed his rotten-toothed grin, adding, “Be seeing yer.”
And with that he dodged back into the side corridor.