Yuma, Arizona

November 3rd, 2020

She’d already jumped up and caught the slight ledge that jutted out on all sides of the shaft just a few inches above the panel, hoisting herself up as the change came on again, this time stronger as she could hear the heartbeats of those just beyond the wall. Her nails hardened and her teeth almost drew blood as they sharpened behind her lips, scraping insistently it felt as though ready to cause major trauma to her aggressors. If that had been necessary though she would have already considered herself a dead woman.

As it was she waited for that perfect moment, when the panel opened, exposing the shaft to the dim light in the room beyond again. Just as the first individual was poking their head through the opening she dropped like a stone, not bothering to grab as she pushed instead, using the weight and momentum of her body as she cupped the back of the individual’s head with both hands as she guided their face to the lip of the opening. The resulting crack made her heart skip a beat as she saw just a flash of the other person in the room, her face fraught with disbelief as Alexis sped out of sight, down the shaft, leaving only the broken and bloodied form of the other assailant behind her.

“Man down!” the woman shouted into her mic, “Man down! She’s headed down a shaft! Check the basement! Check the basement!”

“What basement?!” Alexis heard this through the wall just barely as she rocketed past, her fall finally taking her to the aforementioned basement, which was in the original plans that her father had designed for this house but had never filed with the county. For all intents and purposes this space didn’t exist, though she knew it was here, as had her family. If they found the secret passage down, which they might, it would still be too late. Her plan was going more or less to her liking, which meant that she was about to quite literally blow the roof off.

Gunfire chattered all around her as the woman from upstairs unloaded her weapon into the shaft, but Alexis was already rolling away from the opening, having landed on tumbling pad that her father had put in place not long after he’d figured that she and her brother would likely use their knowledge of the passage for their own pleasure. It had after all been too good for two wily kids to avoid.

Thoughts of her brother and her family helped to steel her nerves as Alexis hefted her bag and made for the one place in this entire basement that would be perfect for her plan to work. The single fireplace that her father installed down here connected to the fireplace upstairs and the chimney that jutted from the roof. Friends of the family had always stated that it had seemed like an outdated expense that wasn’t really feasible in the era of modern heating, but her father was a bit eccentric and old school in his ways sometimes.

Right now she couldn’t help but be grateful.

(to be continued)

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