Heavy breathing. Flickering lights, empty shelves reaching up five meters above his head. It's dark, cold; the floor is damp, but the air is stiflingly dry. His chest heaves as he crawls into a floor-level shelf, cool condensation from the metal mingling with the sweat on his back as he presses back, away from the cameras.

The intercoms crackle, and he starts instinctively. Talloran ungracefully smacks his head on the shelf above him, whining to himself as the pain sets in on top of the exhaustion and dizziness. The only other sound is the dull hum of fluorescent lights—his wheezing, tired breathing is loud, way too loud.

He goes still, and waits, his shirt sticking to his back.

Footsteps. Then, metal scraping against linoleum, and a distant, deranged snickering.

Fuck. Talloran jolts, stills, holds his breath. Maybe it hadn't heard him? Maybe if he stays completely still—

"Come on out, kitty cat." The smack of iron hitting a palm. The only light illuminating the aisle flickers out.

He swears under his breath, and sprints for his fucking life.

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