Chapter 57: Leofric

Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Leofric had a plan.

He’d come up with it the past weekend, keeping it to himself – even if his Keeper seemed lax and helpful now, Leofric knew that the only way to be sure your Keeper wouldn’t tell you not to do something is if she– he didn’t know it was a thing in the first place.

Of course, Aviv hadn’t told him not to try to escape. He’d just said there wasn’t a way, while Leo felt along the boundary at the edge of “outside”.

Outside. Leofric had almost forgotten what it felt like, being outside. He hadn’t realized there was an outside they could get to, but then there it was, through a hidden invisible door, his Keeper leading him out and into the sun and sky and fresh air and letting him run. Even if there wasn’t a place he could run to, or a direction he could take to run away, he could still run.

Running. The idea had come to him while walking back from the fields, closing his eyes to go back into the prison-school and the darkness and the people-always-watching, that there had to be another door, one not even his Keeper could see, that led to the real outside. The door they’d first come in through, when Luke had brought them from the airport into the fake barn and down into the ground.

If Leofric could get himself and his crew through that door, they could escape this place for real. (That’s how it was supposed to go, anyway, wasn’t it? The whole point of being trapped in a prison was to escape it.)

His own Keeper might not be pinning him down at all, but there was no way to tell what the other three’s would do if they sensed something was going on. (Well. He knew what Dysmas would do, evil blood-sucking scum that he was.) So the plan had to be fast and secret, and that’s why he’d only told them that morning, passing notes, using the hand gestures they’d been practicing to fill in details.

And now, it was almost the end of sixth period. Almost time to go. Leofric had snuck some extra food into his backpack at lunch, for while they were on the run, and he put his books in his gym locker before slinging his backpack over his shoulder.

Zita and Howard would have gotten the chemicals placed earlier, at the spots he’d marked for them. Cya had found the right hallway for the exit door and pointed them at it. All he had to do now was wait.

There. The end of period bell chimed and he bent down, pretending to tie his shoe. “Idu hiko δεδομένα καναλιών,” he muttered into his sleeve, trying to muffle the sound while he visualized the Working. The wiring laid itself out in his mind in a 3-D map, one he’d been studying all day Sunday so he’d know exactly where he had to do…

He concentrated, focusing harder than he’d ever focused in his life, pulled on his power, and flooded wires with electricity: one, two, three. They lit up in the map in his mind, then went dark.

If it didn’t work – if the cameras just shorted out instead of blowing up, if there weren’t enough sparks to light the chemical bombs they’d set, the electrical damage would be the only traceable damage. The only one who would be blamed for the cameras would be him; the rest of–

Luke was tearing out of the gym as Leofric stepped out of the locker room. A moment later, the fire alarm blared.

“Yes,” Leofric hissed under his breath, then raced out into the halls. The timing had worked out perfectly; there was hardly anyone in the hallway as he sprinted to the end. Cya was already there; Zita and Howard were right on his heels.

The mental block is on the door, Leofric had written. So forget the door. Take out the wall around it.

Cya pointed at a spot on the wall and started flinging Workings at it, abatu eperutempero eperu, and Howard joined her.

Leofric and Zita started pulling down the wooden panelling, Leofric using his own abatu huamu at it, but it was taking too long...

Suddenly, the panels pulled themselves out of their hands and ripped away, leaving a gaping hole in the wall, and somewhere on the level below them there was a loud boom, like an explosion.

“What the–” Howard started, before Leofric cut him off with a shove.

“Just go!”

They ran through the hole, Leofric bringing up the rear in case anyone tried to follow them. The wooden panels that had ripped themselves off the walls gathered themselves back up and closed the hole up behind them.

They were on a staircase, going up, and Leofric heard a thump up by Cya before a door opened over their heads and they climbed out into a barn.

The barn. The one they’d come in through, what felt like a lifetime ago.

We’re out.

“Cya! Find the nearest major road and point us there!”

She closed her eyes for a moment, then pointed. “That way.”

They ran as fast as they could; Leofric paused to pick Zita up on his back, then Howard did the same with Cya while she focused on making sure they kept going the right direction. It was slower going than he could’ve managed it himself, but there was no way he’d leave his crew behind in that… prison.

Several miles out, a shadow flicked over Leofric and he ducked, all his instincts screaming DANGER at him, then looked up. Something was flying above them, circling.


“Luke,” he hissed. “He found us. Cya, can you find us a place to hide?”

She closed her eyes again, then shook her head. “I’m sorry.”

Leofric jogged to a stop, took a deep breath, and put Zita down. Luke was just doing what he had to. Maybe if they gave him enough of an excuse…

They were already out; they were going to win this, dammit. “Get ready. We’re going to fight.”

5 thoughts on “Chapter 57: Leofric

    • Wow, indeed. The epic narrative in his head may only have a passing semblance with reality, but you gotta hand it to him, Leo is impressively resourceful!

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