From the Inside Flap
Miguel had crept into the decrepit mill building shortly after midnight. A sharp chill had sprung up in the April air, and he needed a place to sleep. He had managed to hitch-hike from Lawrence to Nashua, but his uncle hadn't been home.
No one had even answered any of the doors in his uncle's building.
And Miguel had been wearing the wrong colors for Vine Street. His blue hoodie, representing his ties to the 'Muerto Brotherhood' had been met with hostile expressions from other young men and women. Most of those he saw were clad in dark green, the color representing the Vaqueros.
Sleeping in the hallway outside of his uncle's apartment hadn't been an option, not if he wanted to avoid a beat down.
The mill had been a decent option. A hole in the wire fence had let him slip away from the ones who had followed him. And he had been pleased that they hadn't pursued him into the building itself.
Miguel knew it meant the place was probably patrolled, but he figured he could outrun any fat security guard who might have the job.
Miguel eased the door behind him shut and waited for a moment while his eyes adjusted to the dim light. The glow of the street lamps was filtered through windows grimy with decades of dust and grit. When he could finally see, Miguel noticed that the worn wooden floorboards were covered with the same.
Tracks of various small animals crisscrossed through the film on the floor.
There weren't any footprints.
He glanced back at the door he had entered, then he moved deeper into the wide passage. Stairs, worn down in the center, led up to a second floor, and he decided to follow them. Staying too close to the door might be risking exposure.
Especially if he had triggered some sort of silent alarm.
Frowning at the idea, Miguel hurried up the stairs. He took them two at a time until he reached the second floor.
Miguel stumbled to a stop, surprised at what he saw.
A cavernous room stretched out before him, one that looked to be the entire second floor. Dark pillars reached from floor to ceiling, and windows ran along the brick walls. Like the glass on the first floor, these windows were filthy.
And while the first floor had seemed warmer than the outside, the second floor felt colder.
Shivering, Miguel took a few cautious steps into the room. He looked from left to right, trying to see if any of the windows were broken.
But the fact that none of them were, brought him to a stop.
All of the windows should have shattered. There shouldn't have been a shard of glass left in the frames.
Miguel had seen plenty of empty buildings in Lawrence, and if they were abandoned, it meant the windows were the targets of any kid who thought he could pitch in the major leagues.
Miguel knew this because he had broken his share of windows as well.
The dust at his feet spiraled up, whipped around the bottom of his jeans, and then dissipated. Another one arose a short distance away, then it died down as well. A third appeared at the left wall, but instead of dropping back to the floor as the others had, it stretched towards the ceiling. Soon it was as tall as Miguel, and a heartbeat later, it towered over him.
He took a nervous step back, trying to see where the air creating the twisting spiral was coming from.
Yet as he did so, the dust exploded in his face, blinding him.
Miguel retched, trying to catch his breath. The filth invaded his nose and tried to plunge into his open mouth. He wanted to shut it out, but he couldn't, the vomit forcing him to keep his lips separated.
Something struck him in the stomach, doubling him over, and a powerful force struck him on the back of the neck, knocking him to his knees.
An angry, male voice asked him a question Miguel couldn't understand. The language wasn't Spanish or English.
The man repeated his question, and when Miguel failed to answer, he was struck on the side of the head. Miguel whimpered as the blow drove him to the floor. His head throbbed, and he couldn't move, he tried to open his eyes, but his eyelids refused to respond.
The man muttered in his unintelligible language, and Miguel felt him grab hold of his sweatshirt's hood. Miguel made an effort to get to his knees, but a boot caught him in the stomach and sent a fresh spike of pain through him.
Miguel found himself being dragged across the floor, the boards rough and harsh against his hands. Splinters drove deep into his flesh, and he whimpered.
The stranger paused, struck Miguel in the head again, and then continued on.
For a moment longer, Miguel was dragged along, and then the man stopped. Hands grasped his left leg and left arm, a brutal cold penetrating his clothes. A sharp, jerking motion brought Miguel up off the floor, and he managed to force his eyes open.
Miguel was in the air, suspended above the stairwell.
Desperate, Miguel twisted in the grip of his attacker and looked down.
But there was nothing to see.
Miguel was held aloft by nothing.
The unseen man asked a single question.
Miguel still couldn't answer because he didn't understand.
The man sneered and threw Miguel.
The stairs, Miguel discovered, were hard and unyielding.