Chapter 3: Alarms
It was around 4:30pm, Kai Silber was working on upgrading the internet security system when the alarms began to ring with a piercing annoyance. He was already nursing a head ache from the long night of computer upgrades for his mother and the high pitched alarms weren’t helping.
He couldn’t believe that he had come all the way from Massachusetts to Ottawa for his mother’s birthday and instead of spending time with family, he was fixing the computers of Parliament Hill. Madeline had requested it as her birthday present so Kai was unable to refuse, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.
Kai looked up from the computer screen his bangs cascaded around his eyes, obscuring his vision. Running his thin pianist fingers through his hair, he pushed them aside. Now seeing more clearly, he regarded the other inhabitants of the room; no one made any movements toward the door. Kai leaned back into his chair and tilted his head towards the flashing red lights above the doors in confusion.
Unable to figure out the reason Kai Sighed and glanced across at Tyrone, his closest in age, who manned the desk opposite him, “ok…what’s happening? Don’t tell me it’s a false fire alarm!” Kai smiled, suddenly remembering all the times in high school that classes had to be postponed due to idiots pulling the fire alarm. As cheesy as it sounds, it feels like just yesterday when he was still in high school. It’s still hard to believe that it has already been more than 2 years since starting at MIT.
“That’d be too much like high school though!” He laughs.
Tyrone, who’s secretly jealous of Kai’s talent and elite family background looked up annoyed and replied with passive aggression “and this ain’t high school kid…It’s not a fire alarm, probably just a drill. They’ll announce the reason soo-“
Tyrone’s reply got cut off by the loud crackle of the speakers turning on, a male voice suppressing panic began to speak.
“CODE 5! LOCKDOWN! I REPEAT, LOCKDOWN! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!” Alarmed the techies closest to the doors rushed to close them.
Lockdown? As in potentially dangerous intruders? Kai thought, getting anxious.
“KAI! Close the shades!” Tyrone who had already pulled down the shades on his side yelled and pointed at the windows next to Kai.
Kai turned his head towards the direction Tyrone was pointing in surprise, snapping out of shock he quickly got up and headed towards the window.
Just as he grabbed the cord Kai’s peripheral vision caught sight of something.
In the shadows overcastting the wall across the yard something moved.
Shielding his eyes from the strong afternoon rays he lifted a cupped hand to his brow, squinting, he moved his face closer to the window until the tip of his nose pressed against the cool glass.
At first, he wasn’t able to make out anything suspicious…but there it was again, this time he was able to make out the figure of a petite silhouette. The figure was advancing slowly but surely towards the main gates.
Oh shit…is that the intruder? Kai thought nervously.
Just then, long fiery red ringlets popped out of the shadows and looked around nervously.
Surprised, Kai thinks to himself, must have been caught outside when the alarms started ringing…I hope nothing happens to her. Or better yet she tripped the alarms by accident, and we are not in any serious danger.
What in the world is she doing here, he thought. He couldn’t really make out her face but she didn’t really look like any of her mother’s co-workers or their significant others, and he’s met quite a few of them. The hair also looked pretty natural, maybe passed down from a more distant relative then, he considered thoughtfully.
As if sensing his gaze the girl suddenly looked up, meeting his eyes. Flinching, Kai pulled back quickly, his heart racing. Nope, definitely didn’t look like anyone he knew from the office…weird. He calmed down a little when he realized that there was no way she could have seen him since the windows were tinted to prevent nosy pedestrians from peaking in.
Suddenly, Kai was hauled back forcefully by a violent tug on the back of his collar. As he stumbled backwards Kai rotated his foot to the side to prevent himself from falling, all those tae kwon do lessons when he was younger suddenly came in handy.
“Yo! What Da Fuq is wrong with you boy?” Tyrone swore in an angry whisper, one of his hands still on Kai’s collar. He reached up towards the shades and dragged it down with a significant amount of force, making a loud swoosh sound.
“What part of close em DO YOU NOT understand? What part of LOCKDOWN do you not understand? You are putting everyone here in danger!”
“Look man, I’m sorry but in my defense there’s a chick outside and I was just making sure she’s ok” Kai replied.
Tyrone narrowed his eyes suspiciously. In response, Kai put his hands up in front of him in mock surrender “just take a look outside if you don’t believe me!” he said in exasperation
Tyrone bent down lifting up the shade slightly and peeked outside. “Don’t fucking lie! There’s no one there!”
“You gotta look closer, she was hiding in the shade…” Kai said as he leaned forward too.
The court yard was empty, no sign of the girl anywhere.
“She must have slipped out already…she was heading towards the gate when I first saw her…”
“I call bullshit! Just admit that you put everyone in danger”
“Look! I already apologized and I’ll apologize again but I’m not lying!”
“Will you two hooligans be quiet and sit down?” Rahul, an older south Asian programmer whispered with a thick Indian accent.
“You two are putting us at more risk with your incessant arguing! You give me so much stress! Is my hair not falling out fast enough for you?” He asks while making circular hand gestures at his receding hair line.
Stifling a laugh Kai and Tyrone both grumbled an apology and set down with their backs against the cold granite walls, waiting.