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(Catch up, here)

I stick to the shadows and make my feet move fast. It doesn’t take me long to get back to the apartment. I climb the stairs, always looking behind me to make sure I’m not being followed. When I get to the door, I do the secret knock. It’s only a few seconds before Barrett opens the door. “Did it work?” He grabs my elbow and pulls me into the room. Scanning the hall outside before closing the door again. Grampy and Ruth are sitting awfully close together on the couch. There’s an excited gleam in her eye and her entire body wiggles because of it. I try to push away how wrong that whole scene is. “I think so,” I say, shrugging off my coat. “What happened?” “I told them it’d only take another day or two to locate Grampy. I said I’d call.” Barrett gives a curt nod. “We need to get out of here. Now. I don’t trust them at all about this.” Ruthy leaps up and shuffles into her bedroom, emerging again with a small, flowered bag gripped tightly in her wrinkly hands. “Ready,” she says with a bright smile. I choose not to ask questions. I think that’s the best route. “All right, then, I guess we can leave now,” I say, grabbing for my coat. Barrett helps it up over my shoulders and reaches for the door. I slam into two large masses when I try to exit. I look up—rather dramatically—and stare into the cold eyes of Dick and Tracy. Nice. Isn’t this just the icing on the cake. “I thought you said you weren’t being followed?” Barrett asks out the side of his mouth. “I didn’t think I was,” I say back. Dick pulls a gun out from the inside of his coat and pushes us back into the room. He kicks the door shut. “Don’t let anyone leave,” he says to Tracy. Crap, crap, crap. CRAP. My eyes are flirting around the room, trying to figure out any options we have. “There aren’t any,” Dick says with a smile, like he’s reading my mind. He motions to the couch with the barrel of his gun. “Sit down. We have some talking to do.” Barrett and I do as we’re told, taking seats on either side of Grampy and Ruthy. “Hello there, Abel. Long time no see.” I don’t like Dick’s smile. It reminds me of a snake smiling at a mouse it’s about to devour. If snakes could smile. This was going to end in a showdown. There was no other way. We were going to have to take them and escape if we wanted to live. There’d probably be casualties and I don’t want to think who that might be. This is not going to end well. All I can think about is a fight between Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker. I know, my brain does funny thing when it thinks it’s going to die. All Harry’d have to do is flick his wrist and shout, “Avada Kedavra!” and Luke would be smoke in a flash of neon green light. The organization is Harry. We’re Luke. In one corner: two lethal killers from the organization. In the other, far more pathetic corner: an orderly from a nursing home, an eighteen-year-old college student with a habit for making bad decisions, a crotchety old man with a limp, and an inappropriately excited old woman with a flowery overnight bag. Yup. We. Are. Screwed.

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