Containment Failure

I was walking down the hallway when it happened.

I felt my phone buzz in my pocket.  No noise, of course – I knew better than to leave the volume on.  Countless infiltrations had taught me the power of silence.

I withdrew the slim, black rectangle from my pocket, glancing down at the lit screen.  I made sure to keep the backlight turned all the way down, just bright enough to read the words on the screen/

There were only two.

“Containment failure.”

I dropped the phone back into my pocket, immediately looking up and around.  If I’d received the message, that meant that the breach had to be nearby.  I knew that I’d only have a minute or two, maybe less, to locate the crack.

It had only been a few months since I’d been recruited, but I felt as though I’d been waiting all my life for this moment.

My eyes flicked around the corridor, searching for that little glitch in the system, that tiny little point of wrongness.  It didn’t take long to spot it, right at about shoulder height on the wall beside me.

To anyone else, the breach wouldn’t have looked like anything more than a minor crack in the wall, little more than a hairline fissure.  But they wouldn’t have gotten up close enough to put their eye to the crack, to see the tiny beams of light radiating out from inside.

That was what I was looking for.

I took a half-step back, judging the distance to the wall.  I bounced on my toes a couple of times, shifting my weight back and forth.  And then, with a slow exhale, I swung my leg up and around in a spinning kick.

My foot made contact squarely with the crack in the wall-

-and the wall shattered out into chunks of plaster, new cracks spiderwebbing out in a radial pattern.

I rushed forward, yanking at the loose chunks of concrete, hauling them out of the way.  It took a couple more blows before it was fully open, but finally, the crack had widened enough.

I took a step back, sucking in one last breath, trying to calm my racing heart.  This was it.  The moment I’d been waiting for, the moment I felt as though I had been waiting for my entire life.

“Let’s see what’s beyond this bubble,” I muttered to myself as I tried to think calm thoughts.

And then I leaned forward, pushing myself into – and through – the crack.

Into the light…

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