Hail Mary

Frostbitten fingers clung to the rusted out fire escape. She pulled herself up the side of the building, panting breaths pluming in the still winter’s air. Tears had frozen on her cheeks, and she could taste blood in the burn of her lungs, the copper claws of it reminding her this wasn’t likely to go well. She swung a leg up over the balcony rail, and then shifted her weight atop it, and to the other side. Exhausted arms couldn’t hold her up any longer, though; she dropped to the landing with a clatter, and the whole of the escape groaned, shuddering. Flakes of rust snowed to the ground, and more than a few bolts rattled loose of their sockets and tumbled, spinning and plinking, down to the alleyway floor.

Before her cheek froze to the grating, she pushes herself up and looked in the window. It was dirty, but not frosted on the outside, which made it hard to look in, but meant it might still be warm.

She laid a hand against the bottom of the top sash,and the window shuddered , and gave a click. She flinched, but then reached down and laid her palms to the lower sash, and moved to lift it up, muttering quietly to herself. “Hail Mary, full of grace, help me win this stock-car race…”

Once the window was open entirely, she slipped in, and re-shut it behind her.

She realized that was a bad idea, right around the same time she realized she wasn’t alone.

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