It’s fourteen steps from the door to the wall. I’ve been counting for an hour. The guard goes to the door, turns on his heel, then I count:
One. Two. Three.
I can’t hide forever. Either he will divert from his path and discover us or the others he’s with will come back. Regardless, anything changes in this situation and we're done.
Four. Five. Six.
His footfalls are sharp; precise. He’s wearing boots and khaki pants and a black shirt, like he’s trying to be military but not quite making it.
Seven. Eight. Nine.
There’s a whimper and I try not to make a sound of my own. The baby I came to rescue is stirring in the carrier on my lap. I can see his lips twitching, his head beginning to shift. I find the pacifier in the seat and hold it up to his lips. He opens his mouth automatically and takes the offering.
Ten. Eleven. Twelve.
My heart thuds in my chest. Fourteen is the scariest number, because at step number fourteen,