The Guard – 32 Steps

Knox quietly worked at the rivets on the door lock.  His hands were large enough to wrestle a dragon but skillful like a surgeon.  His nimble fingers fail him this time and he drops the last broken rivet.  It tumbles into the hallway.  He cannot retrieve it or he will be picked up by the security camera.  With the lock disabled, he waits patiently by the door for lunch to arrive.  Finally, the main cell block  door opens with the usual wail of an annoying buzzer.  As the guard approaches, he counts the echoing footsteps.  Knox has memorized it takes thirty-two steps to get to his cell.  Twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six. Knox counts in his head but the echoes stop.  The guard must see the rivet.  Knox turns his head to the right and presses his face against the bars.  The guard is frozen. Terror-frozen.  He is looking straight ahead and not downward as Knox expected. Knox turns his head the other way, once again, face against the bars.  A shadowy figure waivers.

“Ladron de Almas”, Knox whispers.

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