Maze is talent. Pure, energetic talent. Fuelled by the need to achieve and a burning addiction to Zip, the urban latest in techno-drugs. Sought out by a corporate detective team looking to dish the dirt on an up and coming pharmaceutical company moving a little too swiftly on the market, Maze makes a run like never before which becomes a tangle with death, the underworld of cyber-crime and a package of 'Enigma.'

The stinging sound of hollowed steel crashing against the solid, metal lining of the walls echoed left and right. For miles of chrome corridor, the vibrating ring of destruction echoed could be felt like he anticipation of an oncoming stampede from more than fifty feet away.

Maze ducked as he ran, wondering where the next cylinder might fall from, searching for a manhole that he'd earmarked as a potential escape route. There were always several potentials but inevitably things always took on something of a different form in the heat of the moment in comparison to the 3D blueprint simulations that he'd spent weeks running over and over. With the package under his left arm, he reached up to the low ceiling with his right for a bar which looked steady enough to hold his weight. His wrist stiffened and his strong bicep contracted lifting him off the floor. As soon as he was high enough, the bar almost touching his broad chest as his clenched fist, the parcel now balanced in the crook of his elbow, searched for a means of escape. Vital seconds ticked by as he struggled to hold himself up and the vibrations got stronger. He heard another crash of metallic collisions, shouts and footsteps. Under his nails he felt the smooth ridge of a join in he metal although his eyes weren’t as sharp in their recognition. Shadows lengthened, he was at a bend in the corridor but he could see shadows of figures, dark figures. He grappled with the weight of the package which was slowing him down while searching frantically. A hatch-switch, the plans told him that it should be along the line of the ridge just where his fingers rested, if they were wrong now, that would be it.

That was it. Just as his mind was beginning to wrestle with the rising urge to release more adrenaline into his blood stream than would prove effective to his objective, he found it. It was smaller than he had anticipated but then again he knew that the scaling of the blueprints hadn't been perfect.

The shadows neared him and also neared each other. A pool of black inches from his precarious balancing act. They weren't far. If he was caught now he'd be finished for good. he torture they could inflict wouldn't kill him. Corporates never killed, it wasn't worth the media wave it might cause, a tsunami of bad press, what they did was worse. A life wasn't valuable to them, an individual that hadn't been quick or slick enough to evade them wasn't something to cherish or even make some practical use of under duress. He had heard it, in the dark back alleys of Charuska, The Circuit,. Of course they would let you live they'd tell you, corporates care for those they do business with, even if you hadn't asked them if you could borrow their kit. And their kit was something they would be happy for you to get better acquainted with. It was their kit, patents they owned in workshops that no one knew were connected to big business that would torture you until you were a fragmented, torn invalid in a shell that would cause you pain and suffering for the rest of your days. Unable to move, talk or even think independently without the constant vision of horrible things that decomposed your mind slowly and unpleasantly.

If he wanted to keep his sanity and his body in whole pieces he needed to move a whole lot faster. He felt the adrenaline begin to leak across his body, tensing his every move, reducing his controlled movements to fumblings. His palm slammed against the hatch-switch time and time again as the shadows crept closer, the closest tip almost reaching his face, if they were near enough to round the corner within the next twenty seconds he may as well be a dead man. He almost retracted his arm to find the vial, the saviour, the bottle of Heaven's Escape. But something stopped him and he gave a desperate jerk of his thumb, the blood pumping through him so fast that he coul almost hear it, his hear beginning to leap.

The shadows became a black hole, the footsteps a forbidding drumroll, three figures rounded the chrome bend of the corridor violently. Angry slams of bodies off the floor and walls, primal grunts, footsteps dying, the vibrations receding.

From up in the pitch black of the vents above Maze thanked all the gods on his side that the echoes of footsteps had overpowered the noise of his escape as he made his way towards the feeling of a draught of col air rushing over him.

Close, just a bit close.

The End

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