You wake to chaos. Chaos and pain.
You wake to chaos.
Chaos and pain.
The throbbing ache at the back of your head holds your attention for several laboured breaths before other sensations force their way to the forefront. Cool pavement against your left cheek. The scent of burnt metal in your nostrils. Shouting.
With a groan you shift to a seated position and force your eyes open. You immediately wish you had kept them shut.
You are in the middle of a narrow road that disappears down an incline a few hundred meters ahead of you. On either side of the pavement is a thick forest of evergreens, into which jubilant men are fleeing. A glance over your shoulder shows you what they are running from.
A prison transport bus is on its side, smoke billowing from beneath the hood. Unmoving bodies lay scattered around the vehicle, most of them wearing prison guard uniforms. Were you on that bus? You must have been, but you can't remember.
You close your eyes and try to picture the accident but your mind goes blank. Telling yourself not to panic, you switch tactics and try to recall your time as a guard. Nothing again. Training sessions with fellow recruits? No. Confrontations with rowdy prisoners? Come on! Your name?
Oh God, you can't remember your name.
The pounding headache. You must have hit your head during the accident. Or maybe one of the prisoners got hold of a baton in the confusion and cracked you a good one. Lowlife scumbag.
A scumbag who at this very moment is scurrying off to freedom while you sit here like a useless sack of bones. You need to do something.
Eyes open once more, you struggle to your feet. Focus on what you do know: you need to pull your partners away from the bus before it explodes. Save them first, then worry about the rest later. They will die if you leave them there. Move.
You turn to find an escaped prisoner running toward you, a pair of handcuffs dangling from his right wrist. The right side of his face is a bloodied mess and there is a crazed look in his eyes. As he nears, you raise your hands to shield your face from the coming attack.
That is when you realize that you are also in handcuffs.
"Come on, don't just stand there, we gotta go!" The man shouts, grabbing you by the arm. "The cops will be here any minute!"