Sneaking it in before we hit the end of the month, as promised, today we return to the House of Mercy.
I've got some figuring out to do here, so I'm just going to get right to it.
Anne was nearly back to solid ground when the voice froze her in place.
"That's far enough, Miss."
Looking down between her feet, she saw that it was only a few more feet until she could rest her aching, shaking arms. It seemed to her that in this case, far enough was not nearly far enough at all.
"Why don't you just climb back up there and go right back through whatever window you snuck out of, okay? Before anybody else sees you?"
"What?" Anne asked, finally finding her voice again.
"I don't know why you folks insist on trying to escape. You know we've been told to shoot to kill anybody we find making the attempt, right?"
"Shoot to...?" For a moment Anne forgot all about her trembling arms.
"On account of y'all being so dangerous? Not that I've seen none of you do anything scary enough to warrant being shot. And I especially ain't gonna shoot no woman. Not unless you got a knife hidden on you somewheres and you plan on coming at me with it?"
"I'm not a patient here. I was just trying to visit a friend."
"Uh huh. You know visiting hours are most definitely over?"
"I came earlier, they wouldn't let me see her."
"Uh huh. Whatever you say, Miss. Now if you'd just please scoot back up there? I can't exactly walk you back in the front door or they'd start asking questions as to why you're still breathing and then I'd most likely wind up losing my job. And I can't afford that, no ma'am."
"Call the front desk, then. They can verify that I'm not a patient here. Then you can -"
"Can what, Miss? Tell them I found somebody, most likely a patient, who is claiming she's not a patient, climbing down the wall? And could they please tell me if she's telling the truth or not? Because, you know, I haven't shot her yet? Ma'am, you're lucky I found you and not Bradley. He'd a shot you five times by now."
It was then that Anne's arms finally gave out and she collapsed the rest of the way down to the ground.