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The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

Skyscraper: Part 2

Magnus must take the opportunity to escape his confinement while he still has the chance.
Art by Josh Truesdale
Magnus must take the opportunity to escape his confinement while he still has the chance.

[This is Part 2 of “Skyscraper”, make sure to read Part 1 first!]

Fearing that I’ll face adversaries the moment the elevator doors reopen, I move myself to the side of the cabin. The numbers on the screen tick down quickly, but no speed could feel quick enough. There’s this hollow sensation in my chest as I gasp for air, the full extent of my panic exposing itself. The small room is shrinking and spinning around me as my mind races and I desperately need to get to the lobby. My worst fear is realized as the elevator slows down at Floor Seventy and the doors part to reveal a few personnel, all of whom wear similar suits. My fight or flight response is immediately activated, and flight isn’t exactly an option. Leaping out towards them, I shove one of them backwards into the wall, leaving a sizable dent as he falls to the hard floor. The rest of the group flees down a hallway as he crawls after them and I turn back to the elevator just in time to see the doors close.

In the short moment I had been outside of it, it had shut me out. With no keycard, I’m trapped, and it seems that my luck is quickly running out. The alarm’s shrieking suddenly stops, and the PA system turns on with a slight crackle. “The facility is currently undergoing a lockdown. This is not a drill. Please head to the nearest shelter immediately. If Subject Twenty approaches you, do not hesitate to terminate it.”

They fear me and I fear them right back. Quite a strange mutual relationship. I focus back on the task at hand and glance down the hall to my left for any feasible exits. Like the elevator, the doors also require keycards. Breaking down a few doors doesn’t seem all that difficult, but that would slow me down drastically. Instead, I run to the man I threw who’s still crawling away. He backs into a corner away from me, trapping himself. 

“Give me your keycard,” I say, holding my hand out towards him. He’s silent for a moment, clearly in some state of shock. “GIVE IT TO ME!”

He flings his lanyard at me and I catch it in midair. I leave him alone in the hallway, a hyperventilating mess in the corner. Using the card, I get back in the elevator and press the lobby button again, abandoning Floor Seventy.

Somewhere around Floor Twenty, the elevator wall becomes transparent. Through the glass I see several ring-shaped balconies overlooking an atrium lobby. At the bottom is a crowd of panicked people trying to leave the building, a group of guards holding them back. 

It’s a lockdown, I think. What don’t they understand?

Then, after a fleeting moment of humor, I become terrified. The lobby is overrun with guards and guns that can end my life and I’m headed right towards it. I frantically smash my hand against the panel of buttons, not wanting to face armed mercenaries, and the doors open up on Floor Four. I move around the circular balcony, repositioning myself to watch as the elevator reaches the lobby. The doors open and are promptly ambushed by soldiers. I duck down when they look up into the circular atrium, somehow avoiding their eyesight from behind the glass railing that I’m stupidly using as cover. I crawl down the closest hall, not knowing where else to go.

Much unlike the hall that I passed through upstairs, this one is pleasant. The walls are white with light blue specks and glass chandeliers line the ceiling. I get to my feet as soon as I turn the corner and follow another corridor all the way to the side of the building. At the edge, the walls facing the outside are entirely glass. Looking down, I notice that this side of the skyscraper doesn’t stop at the first floor as the foundation continues for at least an extra fifty feet. The view is beautiful. Close to the base of the building is a river, on the other side of which is a forest and mountains, no other buildings in sight. If I can just get through the lobby, then I’ll be out there, safe.

Without warning, someone shouts behind me and the pane of glass I’m looking through shatters as bullets destroy it. I duck behind the corner of the wall, now noticing that there’s nowhere I can go—the hall ends here. No doors, no elevators, just two chairs and a glass coffee table. I panic and debate about whether or not to attempt to jump into the river. I’d never make it. I brace for my inevitable doom, but the duo of guards just around the corner isn’t advancing, at least not yet. Even armed mercenaries are scared of getting too close. I listen as they slowly make their way towards the corner, so I take the opportunity to get into a more advantageous position. Deep breaths.

As the first gunman appears, I grab the nozzle of his rifle before he can fire it and send it across the room. I then shove him into the man wearing heavier gear behind him, causing both of them to topple over. The first man produces a knife from his belt and lunges at me, so I grab him by the arms and throw him out the window.

The second guard finds his gun but I kick it from his grasp before he can use it. I lean over and pick him up, raise him over my head, then launch him at the wall. He hits the ground, unconscious. I waste no time to escape and use my keycard to open a nearby door, assuming that more adversaries will be upon me at any second. Like insects, they’re everywhere. On the other side of the door is a deserted office area filled with large desks, a few of which I push up against the entrance. It’s a sliding door, so they won’t prevent it from being opened, but it’s better than no barricade at all. 

I back away and lean against the wall, taking a moment to catch my breath. Everything went from zero to a hundred so fast and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the situation. The panic from the elevator has not ceased for even a second, and sorting out my chaotic mind seems even harder than it had been while under the influence of whatever Panacea is. I assume that they’re after me because of my abnormality, but why? How long have I been here, too drugged up to think freely?

A sound to my right catches my attention and I swing my head to face a group of six personnel hiding in the corner behind a desk. I hadn’t even seen them. When I make eye contact with them, a woman screams. She gets up to flee, but I’ve had them trapped from the get-go. I’m unsure of what to do, but that no longer matters once I notice the door sliding open. The desks prove themselves to be too heavy for the mercenaries to push, so they instead shoot through my wooden barricade. 

The people in the corner take cover as I sprint towards a door on the opposite side of the room, frantically swiping the keycard until it opens. I find myself in yet another office, though this one obviously has no barricade. Guards flood into the room as I find another exit, a spray of ammunition pursuing me. Through it is a stairwell that cad either bring me down to the lobby or high up into the skyscraper. There are quick and heavy footsteps on the stairs above, so I opt for the prior. I only make it down one level before I realize that there are more footsteps below. I try to open the third floor door with my keycard, but the scanner won’t read the barcode. In a moment of desperation, I run at the door full-force, smashing through it and bounding out onto the balcony on the other side. I put my hands out in front of me, catching myself on the glass railing as I almost trip right over it.

As it turns out, the third floor is no safer than the stairs. I’m surrounded by mercenaries faster than I can figure out where to run next, the overwhelming crowd appearing as if they had teleported right in front of me. Their menacing rifles are trained on my head and I have nowhere to go—I’m trapped between death and death. 

One of them fires a warning shot at me, shattering the railing. “FREEZE!” I raise my hands above my head as the growing crowd closes in on me, their aim unbroken. “Comply with our orders or you will be terminated!”

“I can’t–”


I recoil, stepping backwards towards the ledge that no longer has a railing. “STEP AWAY FROM THE GAP!” I look down. It’s a forty foot drop onto the marble floor of the lobby, which is covered in a crowd of people as they watch the action unfold from below. I can either return to my imprisoned mind or I can get myself far away from it, even if that escape means death. “I SAID STEP AWAY FROM THE–” 

The guard doesn’t finish before I leap from the third floor. The people below gasp as I flail towards the ground. I assume that everything is about to go dark, maybe after a crunch and a splat, but I’m wrong. 

I slam into the floor, shattering the marble tiles. The ground around me shoots up, sending furniture and people in every direction. I hesitate for just a moment, hearing the shattering of glass above my head. The remnants of the railings fall down around me, my impact having reached the balconies above. In the chaos that follows, I slip through the crowd and find my way towards the entrance. The lobby is sprayed with bullets, but I don’t stop to see from where. Suddenly, a sharp pain strikes the back of my arm. I’ve been hit!

My forearm burns, but just barely. The sensation is almost unnoticeable, so I ignore it as I sprint towards the glass front doors and burst through them, not bothering to use the handle. 

I dash down the massive concrete steps at the entrance of the skyscraper, the sounds of chaos behind me. The parking lot seems like an unending sea of asphalt, but my unfaltering pace eventually brings me to the edge: a forest behind a chain link fence. I tried to break through, but for the first time in the last few minutes, I feel weak, and the fence won’t budge. Instead, I resort to climbing. I stick my fingers in between the gaps of the metal mesh and frantically pull myself upward. Grasp by grasp, I bring myself closer to the sharp barbed wire at the top, but that doesn’t  scare me. In fact, nothing does. My panic is dissipating, but I’m not safe yet. It’s as if all of my emotions have been suddenly drained.

My grip on the fence begins to feel noticeably looser, and I realize that my movements are becoming more hesitant. As my arms refuse to bring me any further, my eyes begin to blur and my head spins. My climbing mechanically switches directions as my blood goes cold, my mind seemingly on the verge of losing consciousness. I can’t figure out what’s going on, and before I know it, I’m back on the grass.

That’s when I noticed a syringe sticking out of my arm.

I had never been shot in the lobby, but rather someone had jabbed me. I slowly pull the needle out of my skin and stare at it in my hands. The barrel still contains some black fluid, which seems vaguely familiar. I let the syringe fall to the ground and rub my sore arm, the burning sensation disappearing altogether. For a short second, I have the urge to resume climbing, but that thought is met with a painful wave of dizziness so I let the temptation go.

I turn back towards the skyscraper—an impressive tower surrounded by forest. It shoots high into the sky, the exterior a glossy black, and comes to a point, resembling the shape of a prism. I sit down in the grass before the fence and cross my legs. The sun feels warm, but I want to go back to my room, so I patiently wait to be collected.

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About the Contributor
Josh Truesdale
Josh Truesdale, Creative Writing Editor
Josh Truesdale joined The Lancer Spirit as a junior and became the Creative Writing Editor in his senior year. Having been passionate about creative writing for years, Josh is enthusiastic about his position on staff. He also has a love for film and media production, so he often works on and assists with multimedia projects. Other than The Lancer Spirit, Josh is also a member of the Video and Podcasting Club and the President of Model United Nations.

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Skyscraper: Part 2