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"Freeze." His voice was eerie and cold, unfeeling, wispy, like the wind that was tossing his hair. Skylor, as he was known, stared into my eyes and aimed his .45 at my chest. I stood there on the castle's ledge with my gun tracking Skylor as he walked toward me. Even after years of the sea eating away at it, the old fortress I was standing on was still in good shape, and it was still a long fall from where I stood. "Drop it." The ruthless cult leader's words seemed inhuman, like they were spoken by a machine. "Screw you. The moment I put this gun down, I'll be Swiss cheese." These probably were not very smart words, but I was not thinking clearly. I moved slowly across the ledge, making his way toward a set of stairs much like the ones Skylor had just ran up. "Besides..." I spoke slowly, stalking my thought. I was trying to keep from saying something that would drive him crazy. "If you shoot me, you'll never know the combination." "The combination is unimportant. If I wanted the contents of that safe, I'd just cut it open." Skylor was following me closely, but not close enough to scare me into running. I was keeping my wits about me. A member of the ATF who was assigned to infiltrate the cult's stronghold off the Californian coast. The job requires that calm attitude. I succeeded in stealing the cult's most prized possession, a ring that supposedly belonged to the head cult leader. I locked it in a small portable safe, but before I could dump the safe into the sea, fate intervened. I was noticed and pursued through the castle. There I was. "Don't count on it, Sky. That's a titanium-reinforced safe. Anything you use to cut through it will destroy the ring." Skylor bristled at the mention of the ring. It was his job to guard it, and he had fallen asleep on watch. "So," I continued, "I guess you need me. So let's say we disarm our weapons and talk about it like the two reasonable doomsday cult members we are. That is if you aren't tired. You seem to be falling asleep quite a bit these days." I grinned as he finished the speaking, but Skylor didn't find it funny at all. I knew it was a stupid thing to say, but I did not think it could do much harm. It drove him over the edge. My face went from a happy smirk to a pale, emotionless slab as I saw Skylor take aim. I survived the first shot, which would have hit me had I not jumped behind a pillar. The second bullet ricocheted off the same stone column. After coming to his senses, I took advantage of the confusion and sprinted down the ledge until he reached my original destination- the stairs. I leaped from the top of the stairs to their base, managing not to touch a single step. I stumbled and almost fell, but I somehow managed to keep my balance as I ran towards the dock and the skiff that would take me to safety. Skylor was not far behind, but I managed to turn a corner every time Skylor was about to shoot. Almost to the dock, my worst fear was realised. A guard noticed my hurried flight and took after me. As I rounded the final corner, I glanced over my shoulder to see how far behind the guard and Skylor were. They were not very far back, with the guard about 35 meters away, and Skylor a mere 60. I turned my head back toward the water, but it was too late. I had not noticed the large rock that was directly in front of my feet. I tripped. The guard was upon me before I could get up, and I found myself starring into the barrel of a handgun. An evil smile swept over the guard's face, but before he could pull the trigger, Skylor came around the corner. Still in a mad rage, Skylor fired. In a thousandth of a second, the bullet covered the distance from his firearm to the guard's chest and did irreparable damage. As the guard slid to the ground, I grabbed his gun that I had dropped when I fell, and put a bullet through Skylor's head. I hurried to the boat. I was safe.

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