Gray was instantly struck sightless from the billowing mass of thick smoke, which caused a charge of fear to surge through his body.
But not the same fear of being trapped with those two brutes. This was his best chance to get out, and a small sliver of hope accompanied the fear. He was not crippled by the fear, not frozen. So he charged into room and listened.
The other man hissed, worriedly, “I can't see, I can't see!”
Gray marked the man's position in his mind.
“Quiet,” Mask admonished, “the only way out is through us, so we wait. Now shut up!”
Gray moved through the space he knew was clear of any tables or other obstructions, but he didn't know the exact location of the two men. He wondered if the mask-wearing Tomkin had led him to believe he was staying put by the doorway, but Gray didn't picture Tomkin as a man of patience, so he was wary of blindly running into the man in the mask.
An idea struck him then. He reached into his sack and felt for something with weight, found his roll if fishing line; good enough. He pulled it free and gently tossed it as close as he dared to where he estimated Tomkin to be. He heard it thump gently on the floor and heard the other man inhale sharply with surprise and excitement. To his credit, he did not call out, but the astute Gray knew exactly where he was, and used that instant of confusion to sprint the three steps that separated them and dive headfirst between the men standing guard.
Tomkin must have felt Gray's presence or anticipated the ploy, or even heard Gray's furtive footsteps. He acted quickly and reached out to grab Gray before the boy could get past them. He got a big hand on Gray's cloak and yanked hard, but Gray twisted and slipped free of the garment, then tumbled to the earthen floor and rolled free of the smoke and got to his feet before the other men could act. He sprinted past the kitchen and down the hall, where he found the door. He