The Fifteen Minute Novel: Day 86

The Fifteen Minute Novel is a novel written fifteen minutes at a time with each week day’s section starting with the sentence from the previous day. At least it is attempting to be a novel. For now I am just aiming at one continuous story, worked on for fifteen minutes each day. Started Friday January 1st, 2021 (in case you want to search for the beginning. I can’t wait to see where it ends up. It could be good, or it could be a mess. We’ll have to see. For now, here is today’s fifteen minutes.

Day 86: He paused at the corner, again listening.

He paused at the corner, again listening. The scent of blood in the air was stronger here.  James swallowed hard, dipped a little bit lower and peered around the corner. The hallway was empty, the offices dark.  He was certain there had been some lights on before.  He couldn’t remember exactly which ones. 

As it was still late afternoon, light still poured in through the windows, but he was certain the offices were darker than before.  Deciding Morris was his best bet, James moved forward into the hallway, hustling towards the half open door of Morris office.

He pushed it open and again ducking low peered inside.  He froze when he saw the gun.  It was pointed high, but lowered to take aim on his head immediately.  A second later it dropped down as he was recognized.

“James,” Morris said.  James realized he was holding his breath and took a deep shaky one, filling his lungs and pushing the light headed feeling away.  Morris was leaning against the wall behind him.  He was bare chested, his shirt used as a makeshift bandage.

“Are you okay,” James asked, feeling stupid as the words slipped from his mouth. 

Morris smiled. “I’ve been better, but they missed anything vital and it was a through and through. I may require a bit of stitching and I’ll be moving slow for a while but, but I’ll be fine.” He kept his voice low as though not wanting to be overheard.

Despite his assertions, his voice wasn’t as strong as usual and his face had a slightly gray cast.  Memories of the old man threatened to float to the surface but James clamped them down and focused.  He couldn’t help the old man, he could help here.

“How’d they miss you?”

“I went to the bathroom before coming here,” James said.  “They didn’t check it.”

“They were in a hurry.”

“What do I need to do?” James asked. 

“Carson’s office is three doors down,” Morris said.  He pushed away from the wall.  James slipped the strap of his bag over his shoulder settling it crosswise on his body. He stretched a hand out to steady Morris. 

“Normally I’d leave you here,” Morris said.  “But I’m not sure here is so safe at the moment.  If people start shooting, you run. Got it?”

“Got it,” James said nodding. 

Satisfied Morris led the way into the hall.  James followed behind, moving where Morris pointed and trying to stay out of the way, yet near enough to help.  As they passed the offices on their way to Carson, Morris checked every door they passed making certain each office was empty before they moved forward.  James suspected that it Morris came after him, he wouldn’t have survived by hiding in the bathroom.  They moved slow and steady down the hall.  There were no sounds. The offices were empty.   Morris opened Carson’s office door with his foot.  The door swung open and revealed Carson.  He was lying on the floor, a bullet hole in the center of his forehead. Carson was dead.

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