Dedicated to 91RedRoses, my most dedicated reader and enthusiastic beta.
A bang broke the silence of the room.
Alfred bolted up in bed, hands feeling his chest. It wasn't a gun shot. Everything was ok. Alfred hadn't been shot. His brain felt like the Enterprise when it'd been pulled out of warp drive. He pressed a hand to his chest, heart still pounding.
His eyes flicked around the room. The bathroom light was the only light on. The curtains were still drawn tight. Matthew was in the other bed but other than him...
It was empty.
"They're gone," Alfred said, rubbing at his eyes in disbelief.
Matthew nodded and Alfred sighed. His brother hadn't said boo since yesterday's... incident.
"It's ok, Mattie. They're gone."
Alfred crawled into his brother's bed and wrapped his arms around him.
Alfred pulled away, "Do you think they locked the door from the outside?"
Matthew shook his head then whispered so softly Alfred almost didn't hear it, "I don't think so."
Both of them stared at the door. Alfred's thoughts picked up speed again. If the door wasn't locked from the outside then... they could walk out. Just walk out and run. Never look back.
"But what if they're outside the door?" Alfred asked.
"Are you suggesting..." Matthew trailed off.
Alfred looked around the room then back to his brother, "We've got to go for it Mattie!"
"Why?" Matthew sniffed, "Can't we just wait for Papa and Dad to give them the money?"
Alfred closed his eyes. Mattie hadn't thought about it. He really hadn't realized.
"Mattie," Alfred whispered.
His brother's gaze settled on him and Alfred felt like he was going to be sick. Alfred gulped, trying to form the words. He didn't want to tell his brother this.
"They're not going to let us go," Alfred explained. The words were hollow in his throat.
Alfred bit his lip, "Haven't you watched Criminal Minds or Hawaii 5-0?" Matthew shook his head so Alfred continued on, "We've seen their faces. We could identify them to the police."
Matthew bit his lip, "What if we promised we wouldn't?"
Alfred shook his head no. A tear leaked from Matthew's eye. They would get out of this. Matthew was silent for a few minutes. The two boys huddled in the darkness surrounded by pillows. Mattie shifted and Alfred could faintly hear teeth grind.
"Alright then," Mattie said thickly, "what are we going to do?"
A sharp knock burst through the room. Like a shot Alfred scrambled back to his bed. Matthew pulled the covers up to his nose.
The door clicked. Alfred was shaking. He didn't know what they were going to do! They weren't ready! Would they know? Had they been listening in at the door? Could they still make a run for it now? How far would they get?
"House keeping!" a woman's voice yelled then light flooded the room.
Alfred was frozen and he struggled to process the words. House keeping? Like a maid? What was the right thing to do? Was she helping with their kidnappers? Did she know?
His breath shuddered in his throat. What if she really was just a maid... Should they tell her what was going on? Ask her for help? Would she believe them? Where were Daniel and Joey? Would they come storming in? Was she going to be killed for stumbling into the wrong situation?
The door closed and the maid started humming. It was a tune Alfred recognized instantly, Hey Jude by the Beatles. Matthew sucked in a breath. Their Dad use to sing it to them when they were sad.
"Hola?" the woman called. She rounded the partition and gasped.
She's really pretty, thought Alfred in a distant part of his mind. Her uniform was starched and her hair was in pigtails. Stitched to her uniform was a name tag, Rosa, printed in looping cursive.
"H-hi," Alfred's voice broke over the word.
Joey sat at the desk, twirling a pen and chomping on a piece of gum.
Alfred's hands were sweating and they had been since yesterday. He felt like they knew something was up, but he prayed he was wrong. This was their best shot, their only shot.
Matthew was curled up by the window. Alfred gazed at the images on the screen. Massive burgers and donuts on Man vs. Food. It was one of his favorite episodes. He tried to focus on that so he wouldn't over think the plan they'd come up with.
A knock sounded on the door. Alfred looked to the door then where his brother was sitting on the floor. Only the top of his hair could be seen over the bed. It shrunk down for a moment before Matthew climbed onto the bed.
"Room service!" A deep voice called.
Joey dropped his pen. The hulking man stared at the door. A scowl cut across his face. Joey stuffed his gun in his waistband and walked over. Alfred scooted to the edge of his bed. He peered around the partition to see Joey flip off the dead bolt and crack the door open.
"We didn't order anything," Joey growled.
The man at the door was Rosa's brother, Antonio. He was a thin guy with short dark hair and tan skin wearing a dark uniform with a silver platter in one hand. If Alfred didn't know he was in on the escape attempt he never would have guessed it.
"Oh really? I'm so sorry to have disturbed you," Antonio apologized. Joey nodded and opened the door a little wider.
"You should be. My son is sick," he grumbled. Alfred rolled his eyes.
Antonio smiled, "I'm so sorry to hear that. I can bring up a get well soon basket for you son. No charge to make up for the interruption."
Joey was still for a moment before nodding, "And ice cream. His throat is hurting."
The door shut and Alfred heard Joey return to the desk. The gun clattered on the desk. Not even five minutes later there was another knock at the door. Joey rushed over to the door. The gun lay forgotten on the desk. Alfred smiled. Well that made everything a million times easier. He must really like ice cream Alfred snickered.
Alfred looked back to Mattie, "ready?" he mouthed.
Matthew closed his eyes and nodded. Joey opened the door wide for Antonio. Alfred motioned to Matthew. His brother slid off his bed and tip toed over. Alfred slid his hand into his brother's, not because he was scared or nervous, no, he didn't want to loose Mattie when they were running.
"Hola Señor!" Antonio smiled. A large wicker basked was in one of his hands.
Loud screeches erupted like lava from a volcano. Flashing white lights blinded Alfred for a moment. The fire alarm was going off. The fire alarm was going off! The signal!
Alfred rushed towards the door with Matthew right next to him. Antonio pounced on Joey, knocking him out with the silver dinner tray that had been hidden in the hallway.
The dark haired man went down hard. A large gush on his forehead was oozing blood. Alfred's steps wobbled as he rounded the unconscious man. Even though he was knocked out he was still scary. Matthew tugged on his hand and they ran out of the room quickly.
"Vamanos! Vamanos!" Antonio yelled.
Antonio led them down the hallway and into the staff staircase. Slow, old tourists got in their way. Alfred ducked under their arms. He lost Mattie's hand. Alfred paused, eyes scanning the room frantically.
"Go, Alfred!" That was Mattie! "Go!" So Alfred kept running.
The alarm was still screaming. His eyes were glued to Antonio's back.
Their group burst through the door. Antonio was taking the stairs two at a time. Alfred ran down them with Matthew by his side. He reached out and grabbed his brother's hand again. His shoe laces were flopping around his feet but he didn't stop to fix them. The three of them flew down the flights of stairs.
Floor 8, 7, and 6 disappeared. They still had so far to go though. The pick up truck was at the edge of the property. Joey and Daniel could be anywhere. Alfred peered over his shoulder while running to make sure they weren't behind them.
The next step never came. He tripped and fell, landing hard at the bottom of the stairs. Matthew was pulling him up moments later though.
"Come on Al, you can do it," Mattie puffed.
Alfred panted and nodded. His ankle throbbed, but he kept running. Antonio paused and circled back. He got behind them and kept ushering them down, down, down.
By the time they hit the third floor Alfred dripped with sweat and was biting his lip to keep from crying. His ankle hurt like a bitch.
"Almost there," he panted to himself, "Almost there."
Their group burst into the service hallways that ran under the building. The fire alarm was silent down here, just flashing lights. The absence of the sirens made his head ring. Antonio guided them down a long, gray hallway. The only sounds were their feet slapping against the tile and the harsh panting. The cool air made goosebumps appear on his arms. Just when the corridor was starting to feel endless a staircase appeared from the gloom.
"Up here, up here!" Antonio shouted. He started climbing the narrow stairs in looping strides.
Alfred pushed Mattie on the stairs and started climbing right behind him. He gripped the railing trying to the weight off his leg. Antonio pushed open the storm doors. Heat and sunlight flooded the damp hallway. Alfred eyes watered, but turned his face towards the light and warmth anyway. He'd missed seeing the sky. It was so blue. Like a jolly rancher.
Alfred tore his gaze from the sky. Not even a football field away, a service road curled off into the jungle. Rosa was waiting for them tucked behind machinery and trees. She stepped out on to the road gave the group wave. A second later her face turned white.
A bullet hit the ground and spit rocks into the air. Matthew cried. Antonio yelled for Rosa. The girl jumped back to the safety of the trees. Just in time too because another bullet whizzed past Alfred's ear. Alfred looked behind him. It was Joey. He wasn't moving very fast, but his gun was spitting out bullets.
Alfred was going to puke.
"Run!" Antonio yelled.
Rosa had disappeared. In a moment of despair Alfred thought she had left them. Two seconds later a red pick up truck came roaring out from the trees. Bullets whizzed past him again. This time Alfred hit the deck, dragging Matthew down with him. Alfred pressed his face into the dirt.
"No!" Antonio shouted as he pulled at Alfred, "Keep running."
Matthew scrambled up and dragged Alfred with him. When Alfred looked up he saw that it was Rosa driving the truck. Someone was sitting in the passenger seat firing towards Joey!
Alfred wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. They might make it!
The truck screeched to a stop in front of them. A cloud of dirt surrounded them and Rosa's friend leapt out and kept firing. Antonio hoisted Matthew and him into the cab of the truck. Matthew face was planted in Rosa's lap as Alfred scrambled as close as he could get. Antonio slammed the door shut. Not even two seconds later Rosa took off backwards towards the jungle. Once they were hidden in the trees she flipped the car around.
Alfred looked around widely for Antonio. Why did they leave him there? A sad whimpering made Alfred look down. Matthew was crying on the floor of the cab with his hands covering his eyes.
"Mattie?" Alfred whispered, sliding down on to the floor. He reached out to touch his brother but he flinched away knocking his head against the glove compartment.
"Mattie, it's ok. It's ok, we did it." Alfred whispered, "We did it. We're out. It's ok."
Mattie whimpered a sad, desperate sound and launched himself at Alfred. Alfred wrapped his arms around his brother. They stayed together on the floor as the truck bumped along the road with Rosa humming Hey Jude above them.