The commotion outside the small room stirs hope in Elloway. Finally. Finally, someone is coming for her. They know she is there, that she’s suffering.
No more years behind cage bars. No more relentless “worship” from her captors. She’ll run free as she imagines others of her kind do. She dares to let herself believe.
A monk bursts into the room, his robe tattered, a cut across his bald head. Wild-eyed, he looks at Elloway.
“You must go.” He fumbles with a key and the lock, and before she realizes it, the door is open.
As she stumbles down the altar stairs, unaccustomed to her own legs, in rushes a dark-clothed man with a sword in one hand and a gun in the other.
The monk throws himself between Elloway and the attacker, and in a flash he is dead, his blood spreading across the carpet.
Elloway meets the man’s eyes. “Freedom?” she asks, her voice breaking under the weight of a battle between hope and fear.
He shakes his head no, levels the barrel of the gun at her. Silence passes between them, time standing still.
Before she can draw another breath, her body, suddenly powerful, launches into action, shoves him and his weapons backward into the wall. As the last of his screams fill the air, she bears down on him, taking what she needs.
There will be freedom this day.
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