Run

Deliver the package. Don't stop running.

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1. The Package, The Courier, And The Man With A Gun

The air in the bar seemed to hang thick. The courier's lungs struggled to inhale it, and struggled to push it back out. His breaths were short and labored, but not heavy enough to make sound. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he thought he could feel the skin on his palms tingle and burn underneath the thinly-wrapped package. His eyes tracked down from the bartender's eyes to the small, tan square that had just been placed in his hand. The recycled covering struggled to engulf the whole parcel, tightly and neatly fitting around the crisp edges. Slowly and delicately, his fingers contracted, gently grazing the little box as he slipped it into his pocket and turned for the door.

Run.

Just as he took his first steps towards it, it opened and the tall, built man stepped through. His eyes swept the room before catching the courier's and locking. Both men glared at each other, pure emotion spewing from their pupils. From the man's: unrelenting fury, and from the courier's: unadulterated fear. Cautiously, the man's right arm bent at the elbow, and his hand pulled up to his hip. After what seemed like millennia to the courier, the man's fingers swept back the thick wool coat and settled on the deadly weapon holstered there.

Run.

Adrenaline surged through the courier, and without thinking, he grasped an empty glass mug on the counter to his left and smashed it, millions of small glass shards raining down on the mahogany floor. He arched his arm and flung it across the room. The man tried to pull his weapon, but was forced to shield himself from the jagged projectile before he could get a shot off. It wasn't long—the stunt bought the courier a mere second—but it was enough. It was faster than the courier had ever run in his life. His feet pounded against the wooden floor, and his reaching for the ground ahead, as they threw the small man hurtling across the little establishment and out into the cold rain.

Run.

The icy drops would have soothed his shoulder—sore from ramming aside the man in the doorway—had his mind been moving slow enough to register the pain. Once outside, for a moment, the courier forgot his destination, and wildly whipped his head from side to side in an attempt to remember his route. A grunt and shuffle from behind jolted him to take action, and he took off, running left and deeper into the city. From somewhere behind him, a thunderous clap echoed off the tall buildings, a from somewhere just in front of him, tiny pieces of concrete erupted upwards. The courier ducked, and nearly fell doing so, but continued onwards. His hand reached for his own revolver, tucked into his belt beneath his shirt, forgotten in the chaos until now.

Run.

He tore it from its hiding spot as another shot slammed into the wall next to him, spraying debris across his face. As he approached the corner, he lifted the red brass barrel to roughly level with his pursuer and fired. The man ducked his head and lept for cover behind an azure mailbox. He fired twice more, each time having no clue where the bullet lodged itself, and then turned left around the corner. Once again, he had bought himself mere seconds, but it was enough. He charged forward, down the street as sirens echoed in the distance. The adrenaline was slowly beginning to wear off, and he became acutely more aware of his pounding heart.

Run.

But the package weighed heavily. He could feel it rub against his leg through the pocket as he ran, the friction seemingly searing a hole in both the fabric and the muscle. He pushed the feeling away and focused on the pavement ahead. The polished, black concrete walls of the bank blurred by him as he neared the park. It was small—barely bigger than a house—but gorgeous, and with a small fountain in the middle. Another shot rang out.

Run.

The courier ducked and turned sharply across the street; closer to the park. He didn't look, and with a screech of burning rubber, something large and fast slammed into his left side, hurtling him up and over the roof of the car. For a moment, nothing hurt. For a moment, the courier forgot everything, and knew only the wet, black pavement that pressed against his face. Then, without warning, it all came back. Breathing hurt, and something didn't feel right in his knee. His lungs felt heavy, as though filled with sand, and his throat pleaded for a drink. His heart pumped viscously and painfully, trying its hardest to keep up, and threatening to give out. Something warm and thick slid down his face—a beautiful contrast to the thin, frigid rain.

Run.

He weakly pushed himself up, one hand against the ground, and the other still somehow holding the revolver. The car door opened and a stunning young woman clambered out, nervous and afraid. She clambered over to him and helped him to his feet, not noticing the gun. She asked him something, but he didn't hear her. Instead, he stared at the man as he slowly walked towards the courier and his new friend, one hand hidden behind his back. The woman glanced up at him as he came closer, begging him for help. In reply, he simply stared her down and lifted lifted his hidden hand.

Run.

There was a flash of light, a small cloud of blood, and her head jerked to the right. Then, without hesitation, the courier lifted his own weapon, and fired at his pursuer. Both shots hit him in the chest and sent him sprawling to the ground. A muffled, "Fuck!" wound its way to the courier's ears, and he began running towards the park again. It was more of a limp; his broken rib sending shockwaves with each step that were rivaled only by the screaming of his left ankle. There was a scuffling behind him. The courier looked back—only for a moment—and watched as the man very, very slowly began to roll to his side and climb to his feet.

Run.

He moved faster, now. The pain refused to let up, insisting that he simply collapse and die in the middle of the sidewalk. But he moved on. Step after step, the park grew closer, and the pain grew louder. It was unbearable—searing and stinging with every breath, every step. The courier looked ahead, beyond the park. Just down the hill stood Quincy Market. If he could make it there...the crowds...they would protect him. He just had to make it there. He slowly limped across the park, nearly at the fountain when the gun fired again. Every muscle in the courier's body tensed—a painful experience—but the shot flew off into oblivion. He trudged forward, trying his best to ignore the thundering footsteps of the man behind him. Suddenly, white-hot pain tore through his right shoulder. The sheer force of it sent him to the ground, and the pain blinded him for a moment. He felt patches of skin on his face and hands slide off as they rubbed against the brick walkway.

Run.

The courier tried to move, he willed his hands to push him up, and he willed his legs to stand, but nothing moved. He couldn't even blink. Instead, the courier simply sat there, sprawled out in Post Office Park, bleeding and unable to move. The footsteps behind him grew louder, but slower. The man was no longer running, but his labored breaths cut through the sound of the rain. Water dropped into the holes in his shirt, dampening the hidden kevlar underneath. Sirens wailed far, far off in the distance, as though they were miles away.

Run.

Thick, charcoal boots placed themselves in front of the courier.

Run.Run.

There was a metal click from above as he tried to look up at the man.

Run.Run.Run.

For a millisecond, just before everything went black, the courier heard another shot ring out.

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