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Monday, 12 January 2009

The Rising - Chapter 84: Shouting And Screaming

Skinner chose to ignore Tom’s reply to his suggestion that he might not make it back to dry land. They said their goodbyes and Skinner left the training hall.

He had been hoping to hang back from Roxy and Jackson so he could have another quiet moment to talk to Emily. Looking up and down the corridor once more, he knocked on the door to her cell when he was confident no one was looking.

Emily, are you there?’

Who is it?’ she asked.

I’ve got an idea of how to help you try and get out of here, but I need your help.’

Thank you so much. What can I do?’

I need you to scream as loud as you can and bang on the door. Shout and scream like you’re going to kill yourself. If you’re dead then they’ll have no leverage over your husband. That’ll give me a chance to get in to your cell and help you.’

She paused for a moment. ‘Do you think you can do that?’ Skinner asked.

Yes,’ she said with a renewed confidence in her voice, ‘I’ll do it.’

Skinner looked up and down the corridor again. The coast was clear. ‘Okay,’ he said, ‘Ready when you are, Emily.’

With that, she started to scream at the top of her lungs. Even from behind the wooden door, her screams echoed off the stone walls and down the corridor. Her threats to kill herself could be heard up and down the lair.

Excellent, Skinner thought, Here’s my chance.

He ran as fast as he could down the corridor, even breaking into partial flight as he took longer and longer strides. Roxy and Jackson were waiting at the end of the corridor with inquisitive looks on their faces.

What the hell is going on down there?’ Roxy asked Skinner as he met them.

It’s Emily. She’s threatening to kill herself!’

Roxy turned to Jackson. ‘Get the key and shut her up.’

No, wait,’ Skinner protested, ‘Let me go.’

Jackson, get the key. What are you talking about?’

We need to keep her alive, don’t we? You’re not going to keep her calm by tying her down. I’ve met her husband. I can set her mind at rest and calm her down. Let me prove it to you.’

Roxy thought about it until Jackson returned with the key.

Give him the key,’ she said, ‘Let’s see if he’s a social worker as well as a soldier.’

Jackson held out the key and Skinner snatched it out of his hand, immediately running back down the corridor. He knew Jackson and Roxy would follow but he needed every second away from prying eyes as possible. Reaching the door, he turned the key in the lock and stepped inside, shutting the door behind him.

Keep screaming,’ he said under his breath for only Emily to hear.

Emily looked tired, really tired, like she hadn’t slept for days. Skinner suspected her shoulder length hair was usually immaculately maintained but now it was matted and hanging over her face. Her eyes were red raw, the result of non-stop crying. Skinner knew Roxy and Jackson would be behind the door by now, so he’d better start proving his worth.

Calm down, Emily,’ he said softly, lowering his hands, palms down in a calming motion, ‘What’s wrong?’

I can’t take it!’ she screamed, ‘I can’t take it any more!’ Skinner was very impressed by her performance.

Calm down. Please, calm down. There’s no need for this. We’ll have you back with your husband before you know it. It’s just going to take time.’

My husband? What do you know about my husband?’

I’ve seen him. I saw him yesterday and I’m certain he’s still out there, doing all he can to see you again. You just have to give it time.’

It’s so difficult. I feel like I can’t go on.’

You can make it through this, Emily. You have to.’

Emily sat down and cast Skinner a questioning look. He gave her the thumbs up.

Can I get you anything? Maybe some water?’ Skinner asked, nodding his head.

Yes. I’d like some water. Thank you.’

Skinner turned and left the room, finding himself faced with Roxy and Jackson. He locked the door behind him and led them back up the corridor away from Emily’s cell.

Well done,’ Roxy said.

Thank you,’ Skinner said, ‘Sometimes you just get a feeling about someone, don’t you?’

Roxy nodded her head but had a look on her face like she had something else on her mind. Skinner left Roxy and Jackson, his mind on getting a glass of water to Emily and setting up her chance of escape.

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