security booths are set up for power failures and contingencies. They have to have a way to watch the cameras when the power is cut. It’s a bank for God’s sake.”
The sound of incessant pounding on the thick doors was loud in the small space, and Antonio’s voice reflected the increasing fear of those inside.
Louis ran his hand over the door latch, registering that it was locked but wondering again at the need. It would only need to be locked if the guard thought that there was something inside that needed to be protected or secured. Or, it occurred to Louis, if the guard was trying to protect them from themselves.
“The bank couldn’t possibly have a security system that locked its employees in automatically, could it? I mean, that’s a damn lawsuit waiting to happen.”
He hadn’t intended to speak out loud, but he was glad he had done so when Antonio nodded and picked up the thought.
“So someone locked us in on purpose, then left? That doesn’t make sense. I buy that we were locked in, but where is the guard? Where’s Voj for that matter? This shit doesn’t make sense.”
As Antonio spoke, the others filtered out from behind the security booth, defeated in their search for an auxiliary power switch or a way in to the locked booth.
“Okay, that leaves the basement.” Antonio’s sentence was met with silence. From Louis’ perspective, it was a silence of disbelief and abject fear. Possibly mixed with a “this dude is crazy” vibe.
“And…what does that get us exactly?”
Antonio spoke loudly to be heard over the incessant pounding, which seemed to punctuate the question asked by the other man from customer service, whose large frame was now showing signs of nervous sweat soaking through his cheap, no-iron shirt.
“The only way to reset the main power is the breaker, and the breaker is in the basement,” he said confidently, as if the aggressive pounding outside didn’t exist
“Yeah, but…” Louis drew out the vowel in ‘but’ for emphasis, “Doesn’t the power control the magnetic locks on the doors? If the power is reset, how do we know it won’t shoot these doors open and let whoever is outside in?”
Antonio frowned before responding, tempering his voice with the patience he learned in the Army after two tours in Iraq.
“I don’t think resetting the power will open the doors. The most it could do is release the magnetic locks, and those locks aren’t on now—and Stan, if we ever want to option of leaving this place, we are going to need to open the doors.”
He looked pointedly at the older man, eyes hard. Louis swallowed the objection he was going to make and let Stan take the lead.
“Well I’m not hanging out here so that whoever is on the other side of that door can come in and find me with a welcome banner stapled to my pasty white ass. I’ll wait with the others while you scout the basement with your friend,” as he finished, he nodded toward Louis, who did a double take as he realized Stan was talking about him and that he had just been fingered to descend into the building’s large, dark basement with Antonio.
Louis cursed under his breath, feeling an unbidden shiver of fear ripple up his spine. Not cool, Stan.
Before Antonio could answer, Stan turned on his heel and into the darkness of the cubicles, where the red emergency lights were starting to dim. The other men from the section drifted along, like flotsam caught in the wake of a boat, following the older man.
The pounding from outside had grown more insistent, and Louis shivered involuntarily as he imagined the repeated blows of hands and fists and feet, the sickness and dementia with which the individuals had to be infected to be acting in such a manner. Beside him, Antonio’s gaze drifted into space momentarily, and he wondered what the larger man was thinking.
“You don’t have to go with me,” Antonio said in a soft whisper, as if uttering an afterthought to a conversation he had been having
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