Voluntary Escape

Crouching in the dark with an ominous grinning skull, I have one unsettling thought: museums usually have cameras, don't they?

My second thought is: when was the last time I used the bathroom?

Multiple footsteps approach, recede, then approach. Voices rise and fall. Some people argue about two steps away from my hiding place. 

What the hell happened?

Then, he couldn't have gone far.

I hold my breathe. This is a pretty stupid hiding place. Any second one of these official-sounding, scary police people are going open the case and find me. And then, what?

How long will it take for someone to check the security cameras? Not long. I really don't want my embarrassing running-around-like-a-retarded-rat-in-a-maze gate experience to be exposed. And, also, I really (really) don't want to be arrested. And then questioned. 

Well, you see officer, I don't know how I ended up in a museum at night wearing a ninja outfit complete with handy yet suspicious tools commonly used by thieves and such-like. These things just happen. Right?

Oh God.

I unconsciously scoot farther into the darkness. And then farther. And then, glory hallelujah! there's a hole. Someone had carved a hole through the wall into the back of case under the skull.

I feel around the edges with my gloved hands. It's just big enough for one average-to-small sized human being and a skull to squeeze though. I have a shivery moment of "I don't know where this goes, but what choice do I have?" before I slither head-first into the black.

Maybe this is how I got in. Apparently, I have taken sleepwalking to a whole new level. Sleep-stealing?

Or something worse. Brainwashing? I once read a book about a psychiatrist who brainwashed his patients, and when he said a specific code word they would do his bidding. Later, they would have no memory of the incident.

That sounds familiar.

The floor under my stomach gives way to empty space, effectively ending my train of thought, and I fall, with a very non-ninja like "DAAH!" onto a metal surface.

Which turns out to be the top of a dumpster in a sketchy-looking alley.

I look up at the very conspicuous hole in the brick about five feet higher. I look at the skull, still grinning. You're bad at this, it says.

I give one parting glance to the edifice I just robbed and run like hell.

I run farther into the alley, away from the lights and the street. Darkness seems to be safer. I trip over a tiny service road with a flickering streetlight and head towards another alley behind another building.

I take random turns at random bends, probably go around in a circle a few times, jump over a decrepit fence, crouch through an empty culvert, and cut through a Chinese restaurant all the time running full-out, no pausing, no breathing. The skull tucked in my shirt, pounding against my ribs.

Eventually I fall. I turn and land hard on my side and my pelvis to keep from crushing my cargo.

My next problem: getting up again. Can't stay, gotta keep moving. Gotta get rid of these clothes, these tools. This skull. Gotta blend back in, like before, invisible. Another human in an over-populated planet. Another human that would never dream of robbing a museum. Another human with everyday care and concerns, not at all worried about possibly going insane.

I can't move. I can only shake.

Next problem: footsteps. Coming closer.

The End

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