“Remember, don’t make a sound,” Layke said to the person next to him. He nodded. “Good. One, two, three!”
Layke hoisted the man up the wall, allowing him to get a good grip on it. Then the man started scaling the wall until his hand reached the top. Then he pulled himself over, crouching on the top. The next person came up to Layke, and he, too, was hoisted up the wall.
Finally there were only three left; Layke, Linda, and the muscly man from the last two cells. Layke looked at the man. There was no way he could lift him.
“You go up,” the man said, walking over to stand in Layke’s position. Layke nodded. “Remember not to make a sound,” the man reminded. Layke nodded, smiling slightly. “Good. One, two, three!”
Layke felt himself being pushed by powerful arms up into the air. He scrabbled for a hold on the stone bricks making up the walls, and found one just as he felt himself being pulled down by gravity.
He couldn’t scale the wall as quickly as the other inmates could, even being the most well-fed one, but he still scaled it in a reasonable amount of time. Layke looked down at the two remaining prisoners.
“Can you push yourself up?” he whispered to the man.
“I can,” the man replied. “I’m just worried about the old lady here. She doesn’t want to go.”
Oh, no, Layke thought. Not this again. I’d thought we’d gotten over it.
“Come on Linda, you can do it,” Layke said. “There’s a life beyond the bars, you know that.”
Linda shook her head. “I’m old. I have no future ahead of me. Even if I did want to go out, no-one would want to employ me.”
“I’ll find somebody for you,” Layke said. Then he put out his hand imploringly. “Come.”
“Just let me die in peace, please.” Linda started to walk away, back towards the dungeon.
“No.” Layke climbed back down the wall and ran after Linda. He grabbed her arm and practically dragged her back to the wall. “I’m not letting you go now. Not after all we’ve been through. I’ve worked so hard to get your here, and I’m not letting it all go to waste like this.”
“Do you want me to push her up?” the burly man said. Layke looked at her worryingly, biting his lip.
“I don’t think she’ll be able to climb it.”
“No matter,” the man said, and took Linda from Layke. He hoisted her over his shoulder. “I’ll take her up.”
“Thank-you,” Layke said. He looked at Linda, who was glaring angrily at him but not saying a word. “Be good.”
“I’m only coming along because I’m too frail to fight this man,” Linda said, still frowning. “If you insist I come, I will.”
“I insist,” Layke said, then turned to the large man. “Can you boost me up?”
The man’s response was to walk over to him and offer him his hands. Layke put his foot on them and on the count of three, he was pushed up. Layke scaled the wall slightly easier this time, having had a previous experience.
“I’m coming up,” the man called. Then he started scaling the wall with Linda slung over his shoulder.
Soon they were all up, looking down at the sentries patrolling the exit below them.
“What are we going to do?” the burly man asked from beside Layke. Layke smiled at him and mouthed one word.