A Single Bound 15

Taggert’s voice was curt.  The two men didn’t say another word as they walked up the stairs.  Risking a peak over the edge of the seats, Morgan saw Fiedler look both ways before he ducked out into the hall.  Agent Taggert stayed back, just inside the auditorium.  He held up his sleeve to his face and spoke into it.

Morgan couldn’t hear what he said, but within moments, two other men in suits came into the auditorium.  They moved efficiently from door to door, checking all of them and twisting a key if the handles spun freely.  They used plastic ties to secure the doors with crash bars.  Morgan, Teri, Max, and Aiden crouched down between rows of seats when the agents came near.

Within minutes, the lights turned off and the last door closed with a click that echoed off the high ceiling.  The four of them were alone in the darkness.  Only the thudding of Morgan’s heart marked the passage of time.  Max was the first one to work up the nerve to take out his phone and shed some light on the auditorium.  Dim shadows danced across the ceiling, like fingers reaching for them.

Morgan pulled out her phone and added to the light.  Aiden was already at one of the doors, checking the plastic ties.  Teri’s head was darting around, trying to look in every direction at once.

“We’d need a sharp knife to cut through this,” Aiden said.

“Did they lock the door to the storage room?” Teri asked.

“Yeah,” Morgan said.  “I saw one of the agents go up there.”

“We need to get out of here.”  Teri’s breathing was getting faster and louder.

Morgan reached out and put a hand on her friend’s arm.  The touch seemed to slow her breathing, but her eyes were still wide.  Comforting Teri was calming Morgan’s own nerves.  The thundering boom of the heater turning back on shook the back wall of the auditorium and echoed out to where they were standing.  So much for being calm.

“Teri’s right,” Max said.  “We can’t just stay in here waiting for them to find us.”

“There’s got to be some way out of here,” Aiden said.

“Don’t look at us,” Morgan said.  “You guys are on stage crew.  That’s kind of your department.”

Aiden and Max looked at each other.

“The window,” they both said at the same time.

“The window?  There aren’t any windows in the auditorium,” Morgan said.

“It’s not really a window,” Max said.  “There’s a hole up on the wall at the back of the stage.  Used to be for an air conditioner before the school got central air.  At least that’s what I heard when I was helping set up some lights.”

“Up on the wall?” Morgan asked.  “How high?”

“There’s a scaffold actors use for second story entrances we can climb,” Aiden said.

“Climbing a scaffold, that’s great,” Morgan said.

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