Ruby Red 10

She’d been so intent on the pressure alarm that she’d missed the mechanical backup right under her nose.  Even though her blood was pumping like it was trying to burst out of her veins, her mind was oddly clear.  The thud of approaching footfalls seemed distant and slow, giving her plenty of time to think about what to do next.  Grabbing an expensive looking vase as she ran past, when she rounded the corner she tossed it right at an approaching thug’s face.  Tucking into a roll as soon as she saw his hands move to protect himself, she spun around him and sprinted for the stairs.  The guard who’d fallen asleep had gotten going quickly.  She could see him moving to cut her off.

He was easily twice her size, and the guard she’d just run by would be right on her tail.  Spinning her entire body, she hooked a candlestick off a table with her outstretched foot and launched it right at his head.  Metal hit bone with a loud crack, stunning him long enough for Dido to run at him, twisting her body at the last second to vault over the banister.  As she crashed onto the stairs, both guards were glaring at her.  They immediately started running around to the top of the staircase.  Dido just leapt into the air over the rest of the flight, tucking into a roll on the soft carpet as she landed.  Her head spinning a little, the walls twisted and turned as she raced down the hall back to the guestroom door.  Tearing at the handle, she wrenched it open and slammed it behind her.  Guards coming up from the first floor had already spotted her, so there was no point in even trying to be silent.

She paused a moment to wedge a chair underneath the doorknob and gather her thoughts.  By the time she started towards the balcony, the handle was already rattling, followed quickly by the sound of someone slamming into the door.  Her grapple was still secure on the balcony, with the cord and tube tucked away in a dark corner.  Grabbing the tube in one hand and wrapping the cord around her other arm, she ran for the opposite end of the balcony just as the ornate but flimsy door started to splinter inward.  The guards poured into the room as she kicked off the balcony out into the night, the steel of their weapons glinting behind her.

As Dido sailed through the air, the cord streamed out behind her.  Not fast enough though, because she started falling before the cord was completely taut.  Instead of swinging out and then back down to the ground like she’d planned, she dropped like a stone, the cord wrenching her arm when the slack ran out.  She didn’t have time to take stock of her injuries though.  As the ground raced up to meet her, she let go of the cylinder and let the cord unwind from her arm.  Luckily she was landing on grass, because her body skidded and bounced across the earth before coming to a stop.

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