(continuing from part 2…)
That split moment before the police officers attacked us, Alex made an unexpected move and dashed sideways into the couple next to us. I took a deep breath, blocked my brain from thinking anything, and rushed to the opposite direction. We started pushing people on to one another and then slip away, grabbed anything we could find and threw it on the officers. People started shouting at one another and at the officers and then officers were shouting back at them and soon the quarrel spread all over the place.
Now we were shouting as well and pushing through the crowd to reach the other two officers. We were close. The captive guy spotted us and smiled. I don’t know how, but he knew it was us that caused all this havoc. As we drew closer, he nodded at us and Alex nodded back in silent communication.
“Get ready to run as hell, Phoebs. We’ll only get one chance to get away”, he whispered to me.
Before the officers had a chance to realize what happened, the guy hit one of his captors in the stomach with his elbow, turned his body around and punched the second one in the face. At the same time Alex and I dashed forward hitting blindly whoever stood in our way. The officers were taken by surprise and that split second of stupor was enough for us. We broke free of the police officers’ ringer taking the guy with us, running like there is no tomorrow.
Angry voices and threats followed short behind us. We ran swinging between by passers and vehicles on the streets, entering and exiting alleys, but never managing to lose sight from our pursuers.
“They are still behind us and they are getting closer!”, I shouted breathlessly at Alex.
“Over here! Follow me!”, the gang guy shouted back.
He run towards one of the biggest malls in the city center and got into it. Here the crowd was really thick and we had to slow down. But so did our pursuers. It was easier to hide. Our pursuers’ shouts were fading by the minute. They were losing us. We wandered in and out of shops, always using different exits, then headed towards the basement. Our guy seemed to know his way around there pretty well. We walked past several storage rooms until sneaked in in one of them.
The gang guy moved confidently between the boxes that were stored there. When he reached the far wall of the room, he asked us to help move some of the boxes to create some space. We did. It didn’t take long for a small, almost invisible side door to be revealed. The guy took a bunch of keys out his pocket, run through them until he found the correct one and then unlocked the door.
We slipped outside to a narrow dark alley. He came last an locked the door again behind him. We followed him to what seemed to be a dead-end. On the wall there were faded marks and recesses, not easily recognisable but with a closer look they could guide an experienced climber to climb over the wall. Thank god for our training. If it wasn’t for that, I am not sure I could have made it.
We climbed up the wall to the top of a flat warehouse and then climbed a metal staircase down at the other side of the building to a small alley. We ran some more after that, just to get as far away from the mall as possible. The gang guy was leading us towards the eastern part of the city. But there was no point of us going there. And we had Max to think of. He would be worried sick by now.
So, I stopped running. We were safe· for now anyway.
“Hey!”, I shouted at the boys. They stopped and turned towards me at the same time. “They lost us a long time ago. We can stop running now.” I looked at Alex. “We should head back. Max is waiting for us.”
“Who is Max?”, the gang guy asked.
He had extraordinary dark eyes that were fixed intensely on me and a funny way of leaning his head slightly to the right when he was looking intently at someone.
“My little brother.”
“I see…”. He said as he walked slowly towards me. I saw Alex frowning. “Well, do what you must and the come find me at the eastern neighborhood of the eastern quarters of the city. I will help you.”
“Thanks, mate, but we don’t need any help”, said Alex.
The gang guy turned to him, a mysterious smirk on his face.
“I grew up in the streets, my friend. I spot homeless, miles away.”
Alex pressed his lips together uncomfortably but didn’t reply anything. It would be useless to lie anyway.
“It’s this city. It’s inhuman and treats everyone wrong”, the gang guy went on. “You, too. You’ll see.” he said looking at both of us. “You risked for me and earned yourselves a new friend. I don’t know if you’re really brave or stupid, but I am in your debt. Let me return the favor. Go find your little brother and come east, to my neighborhood. When you get there, ask for Flavio. I’ll take care of you. I promise.”
And with these words he turned his back to us and disappeared in one the nearby alleys.