Free the Prisoner: Book Excerpt from "Fallout Princess"
By J. L. Thurston
“SIR,” GAIA SAID TO THE PRISONER. “You are free. I will escort you out of this prison myself. I apologize deeply for what you’ve been forced to endure under my name.”
“Thank you,” Downy breathed.
Gaia turned on her heel and led Downy through the hall to the stairs. They left behind two stunned guards only to be rounded off by Officer Misha. He froze when he spotted them.
“Gaia!” he exclaimed. “How…?” His eyes fell on Downy. “What are you doing with the prisoner?”
“Misha,” Gaia forced a smile. “It is so good to see you again. This man has been imprisoned falsely under my name. I have come to release him for his innocence.”
Misha shook his head, stuck between a smile and regret. “I’m so happy you’re back, but, Gaia, that’s not how this works. You wouldn’t release the prisoner directly, you’d have to speak with the warlord. Why wouldn’t you…” All traces of a smile died on his face. “I didn’t hear you were back.”
Gaia could no longer force her own smile. “Misha, I’ve only just returned and it was for the sole purpose of personally releasing this man. Misha, you know Downy. You’ve worked in the same legion as he. You know he’s innocent.”
His hand was raising to his shoulder, to the radio clipped to his uniform.
“I’m sorry,” he said. He called to the two guards, “You two, stay with her. Don’t let them get too far.”
He turned and jogged away, sounding the alarm into his radio.
Gaia’s blood turned to ice. She faced Downy. He was smiling. “Wouldn’t be fun if it was easy,” he said. He spun around and slammed his fists into the guards’ faces. They flew backward, unconscious before their butts hit the cement.
“Run!” he cried.
They fled. The other prisoners began to shout. They threw themselves into the stairwell, practically sliding down the metal steps. The thunder of boots behind them mingled with the blaring screech of an alarm.
“Stop or we’ll fire!” came a shout from just behind them.
Gaia and Downy froze on the landing of the ground floor, hands in the air, panting. Gaia turned to face the men.
“How dare you aim weapons at the princess!” she scoffed. “I’ll have all three of you thrown in a cell here for life!”
It did not deter them.
They flew backward, unconscious before their butts hit the cement.
“Your Highness,” one guard said, his voice was hard, full of adrenaline. “You are not yourself. Please, step away from this man.”
A blur of color and sound came from behind the guards. Tyber came running down the stairs, yelling a battle cry. He struck a guard on the side of the head, knocking him into the other two. Downy took the opportunity to slam the guards’ heads together and sent them all slumping into a pile on the steps.
“Tyber!” Gaia breathed.
He was sweating and grinning from ear to ear. He raced down the stairs, put his arms around Gaia and kissed her. She laughed.
“Let’s get out of here,” Downy said.
“Follow me!” Gaia called, breaking away from Tyber and running down the stairs.
They were out of the stairwell and onto the main floor of the east building. Gaia knew this area well. They were close to the exit.
“We might have to fight our way out!” she said to them as they ran at top speed.
“Penna will be waiting by the door any second!” said Tyber.
They pushed through the far door and faced a wall of frosted glass. Voices could be heard on the other side, voices that seemed to be coming from the door to the showroom, blocking their way out.
Gaia raised a hand to stop the others silently. She mouthed, “The warlord.”
“All entrances are blocked, sir,” one man was saying. “It won’t be long until our men find them.”
“Good, and when the princess is secured I want her brought to me immediately,” said the warlord. His voice slithered over Gaia’s skin. “Have her parents notified she’s in my custody and they can expect her returned to them within the hour.”
“What do we do?” breathed Tyber.
Downy was rubbing the frosted glass wall, looking at it very closely. Gaia almost pulled him back, worried the men on the other side would see him. Before she could touch him, he took two steps back, then ran forward, bowling through the glass wall as though it were nothing.
He broke through, glass shards flying everywhere. The men on the other side were completely surprised. Downy’s massive body fell on top of two of them. Tyber jumped, a knife flashing in his hand and disappearing inside the remaining soldier’s knee. When Downy regained his feet, Gaia could see one of the men beneath him was the warlord in his glimmering armor, eyes rolling in a daze.
Gaia jumped over them and pushed open the door to the showroom.
“No!” shouted the warlord, shaking his head to clear it. “After them!”
The exit was there, tantalizingly close. Skin sliced from glass shards and bleeding, Downy was well ahead, knowing his freedom was near. He ran across the showroom catwalk, unheeding of the cavernous empty space beneath. He broke through the exit door and the whine of the speed ship’s turbines echoed in the showroom.
Tyber and Gaia ran hand in hand down the catwalk, cheering in exaltation. Downy had made it to freedom. And they were right behind him.
The dark room was lit up by a flash of light from a gun. Gaia and Tyber turned their heads toward the light and were both hit in the chest by a single blast. Tyber dropped, falling straight forward, but Gaia spun around, landing on her back.
They lay on the cold metal of the catwalk, facing each other, their hands had broken apart but still reaching. The world was fading to blackness. There was no pain, just an overwhelming sense of cold. Tyber’s eyes were half closed, looking into hers. He was fading like an eclipsing sun.
Then the world was gone.
About the Author: J. L. Thurston is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on LiterateApe.com and on the self-publishing website, SmashWords.com. Thurston is a licensed CT technologist and finds an abundance of inspiration while working at the hospital. She is currently working on a thriller trilogy the likes of which has not yet been seen in the literary world. She lives with her husband, daughter, step-son, and orange feline in a cozy town south of Chicago.
Fallout Princess was published in August 2018 and is available on Amazon.