فصل 10

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فصل 10

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی ساده

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CHAPTER TEN

Escape!

Very carefully, Hiro opened the bathroom door and put his head out into the hall. He’d been right - Meier was back in the lounge. He was talking on his phone, looking down, deep in conversation. The driver was out of sight in the kitchen.

Hiro took a deep breath. He had only a few seconds to get to the front door. He took off his shoes and quietly crossed the hall. Five steps only and he was at the front door. If the door was locked, he was finished…

He was in luck. With a tiny sound, the door opened, then he was out into the main corridor. He ran straight to the stairs.

He went down only three or four steps before he realised he was making a mistake. ‘No,’ he thought, ‘Once they realise I’ve gone, they’ll expect me to go down, so I must go up instead.’ He turned and ran back up the steps two at a time. He’d just managed to reach the next floor when he heard the men run out of the flat, shouting in German. He heard them stop outside the lift.

Hiro could only guess what they were shouting, but then he heard their footsteps hurrying down the stairs.

So, what to do now? Hiro’s heart was racing. In a short time the men would realise he hadn’t gone down and they would fly back up the steps. A fire escape! There had to be a fire escape in a place like this. But where?

He ran up two floors without stopping, still carrying his shoes. Then he was at the top - there were no more stairs, just another corridor. Far below he could hear the men shouting. Then silence. They were listening for him. Listening for his footsteps. Then Hiro heard one of them coming up.

There was nothing for it. Hiro ran the length of the corridor. At the end of the corridor there was a door. He pushed and the door opened.

Hiro found himself outside on a fire escape, a metal staircase going down the outside of the building. Should he go down? He had no choice. At any moment the man coming up would look along the corridor and see him.

Hiro went down a couple of steps, then heard a door opening somewhere below. He ran back up and watched as the driver came out on to the fire escape two floors below him. Hiro saw him look down, then, just as the man was about to look up, Hiro pressed himself back against the wall. His heart was beating crazily. Surely the man would see him! Two or three seconds passed. Then Hiro heard the man shout back into the building before he went inside and the door banged shut. Hiro took another deep breath. He was out of danger!

Hiro was just about to start down the steps, when something stopped him again. Was it a tiny sound from below or something else? The memory of something from a film came back to him. It had been a trick! The driver’s shout had been a trick to make Hiro think the way was safe - the man had closed the door loudly, but he was still outside on the fire escape at that moment, looking up. Hiro didn’t move. He closed his eyes. Akiko’s face came to his mind. ‘Please help me,’ he said softly. Ten long seconds passed, then there was a quiet call from below. After that the door closed again. This time Hiro knew the man had really gone inside.

Hiro’s legs were shaking as he made his way down the stairs. He didn’t stop now or look around. The only thing he thought about was getting to the bottom. He almost fell once, but managed to stop himself, then in thirty seconds he was down on the ground.

He found himself on a small path between buildings. One way led to the main street at the front of the building. He could see people walking past. That was the way to go. Hiro walked quickly towards the street. Just as he got there, he saw a bus pull up about ten metres down the road. He didn’t stop to think, but ran towards it. He reached the bus just as the driver was about to close the doors. Hiro almost threw himself inside and fell on to a seat.

As the bus pulled away, Hiro saw Meier appear through the glass door of the building he’d just left. Hiro dropped his head from view, pretending to tie up his shoes. It was another couple of minutes before he was brave enough to raise his head and look around. When he did, he took out his phone and opened his photo of Akiko. ‘Arigato,’ he whispered. ‘Thank you.’ Then, under his breath, ‘I’m so sorry I deleted your messages. It was a terrible mistake.’

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