# 26 – Like a Rat

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It was the oddest thing.  Liza paused involuntarily for a minute.  The stairwell was brick like the rest of the building, but it looked like it belonged in a factory.  The railings were made of pipes.  The treads were concrete with metal inserts.  Each floor seemed to open to an exterior landing.  A layer of filth covered everything.  She heard Wannabe tearing through the empty office, and took off running down the steps.  She wondered why people on TV always run up.  Were you more likely to find help on the roof?  Was it because you always had the option of jumping to your death to avoid being caught?  Maybe they were hoping that their pursuer was too out of shape to make it up a couple of flights of stairs.

That certainly wasn’t the case with this guy.  Liza, on the other hand, was wheezing like a sixty-year-old asthmatic.  They were nearly at street level, and he was close.  At the bottom of the stairs was a mammoth orange metal door.  She burst through it, onto a landing that could only be described as a cage.  Like the rest of the stairwell, it was made of brick and concrete.  Two doors led into it:  the one Liza had just come through, and a second door that presumably went to the basement.  The cage door was a steel fence covered in mesh.  It emptied onto a side street that Liza didn’t recognize.  Just outside, a campus cop was getting out of his car.  Liza skidded to a stop.  Wannabe sounded like he was only a few feet behind, and the cop was going to spot her at any second.  The basement door had no handle, but Liza finally had some good luck.  The door flew open just as Wannabe reached the landing.  It smashed him square in the face, swatting him against the wall.  A tattoo covered forearm reached out of the stairwell and pulled Liza inside.

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