Shades escapes for real
Shades woke up with a start, cold sweat dripping down his back.
Unable to remember exactly when he finally fell asleep. If these were to be his final hours, he didn’t want to spend them sleeping. As far as he could tell, Erix hadn’t slept all night, just sitting there, waiting. Now he was gone, and all Shades could conclude was that he must have left after he dozed off in spite of himself.
The last thing he recalled before waking was a dream about going to the movies with Amy. Just as they originally planned to before he took a wrong turn one stormy night. She turned to him, and was about to take off his shades—
When it abruptly became Erix pulling them off, and he snapped awake, straining at his bonds.
As the night wore on, he eventually lost track of his many thoughts. Now he almost wished the dream had continued on its original course; the thought that he would never see Amy, or John— or any of his other friends, either— again was more than he could take. That they would never know what happened to him pushed him to the brink of panic.
What brought him back to his senses was hearing the sounds of combat outside. At some point after he nodded off, Erix must have drawn the curtains, because now all he could see of the two combatants were their vague silhouettes as they dueled across the deck. Most likely closed them so that Max couldn’t see him, but it also made it so he couldn’t see anything, either, had no idea who was winning. He thought about calling out to Max, just to let him know he was still alive, but thought better of it, lest he distract his friend at a critical moment.
Yet sitting there, having no idea what was going on out there, was driving him nuts.
What allowed him to hang on was the realization that now Erix couldn’t see him, either. That this would be his last chance at escape. He never doubted Max would come for him, but he feared his friend was in over his head against this guy. But before he could help Max, he would, of course, have to help himself.
To that end, he re-evaluated his situation.
This Erix slept with one eye open, watching him like a hawk since his little bathroom stunt, but now, as he felt the edges of his handcuffs, he realized that Erix got careless. Before, his hands were bound so that the keyholes faced away from his hands, but now he could feel the edge of one keyhole. All he could make of this was that Erix must have figured that, if he still had any means of picking the locks, he would have tried to use it in the bathroom last night.
To the contrary, after their battle onboard Striker’s ship, he had gone to even greater lengths to ensure against capture, and he still had the most carefully-hidden piece of his lockpicking arsenal on him even as he sat here. Last night, he had figured Erix wouldn’t give him enough time to use it, so he had focused on trying to escape the bathroom and putting more distance between himself and his captor before trying it. After his attempt failed, he wondered if he shouldn’t have tried to free himself first.
Could almost kick himself, if he could just move his legs. But now, with no one looking, he could play the last ace up his sleeve. The one Erix would never have given him the chance to while he was still there.
Moving with great care, he reached into his back pocket, finding the tiny tool bit he had placed there. Apparently, too tiny for Erix to find when he searched him. With sheer force of will, ignored the sweat pouring down his back as he slowly fished out the lockpicking implement he had to nearly wrench his shoulder out of joint to even reach. Cursed silently when he nearly fumbled it getting past the hem of his pocket.
Once he had a solid grip on it, he paused for a moment, pulling himself back together with several deep breaths. Visualizing the lock, glad that he had looked over diagrams of various locks over the years. Though he had practiced getting out of handcuffs a couple times, just for the practical experience, he had never attempted it with his limbs and joints restrained like this, now understanding that he had a long way to go before he would ever be the next Houdini. Probing with the bit, trying to make it budge, but the harder he concentrated, the more his head hurt. Still, he pushed on, sweat dripping down his face, staying focused.
Finally, there was a click, and the binding on his wrist came undone, freeing one hand.
Now that he was able to twist the other wrist around, it was much easier to undo the other hand. But then his fingers slipped, and he ended up tipping the chair over and fumbling behind his back for a couple minutes to get his hands on it again. It was even more awkward going, lying on his side, but once he managed to unfasten a couple more locks, the chains slipped off and it became easier with each one after that.
Rolling over, he sat for a long moment, catching his breath, before his growing sense of time running out caught up with him.
Grabbing only what he felt he had time for, he snatched his jacket and a couple other items from the pile, then slipped quietly over to the sliding door. Figuring Max could use all the help he could get against this guy, for real this time.