A.J. and Kevin stopped mid-step and looked at each other in horror when they heard a gun go off. There was a moment of silence.
"Do you think..." A.J. began.
"I don't know," Kevin said, his eyes widening a bit.
Both of them instantly started to run as fast as they could up the front steps of the apartment building. Kevin ran up to the doorknob and swore loudly, discovering that it was locked. A.J. echoed his sentiment and looked around frantically for some way to get in. He found it and yelled to Kevin. "Here! Through the window!"
They both ran over to the window, which was just above the ground and most probably went into the basement. A.J. and Kevin both tugged at it, but it was also locked. Kevin pulled A.J. back. "Stand back! I'm going to break it!" A.J. nodded, and Kevin ran forward and kicked the window as hard as he could. The glass, which had been cracked to begin with, instantly shattered. Kevin used his foot to pull some of the pieces of glass away. Luckily, most of it had fallen inside. Kevin beckoned to A.J., who slipped inside first. Kevin followed him closely, and they found the light and looked around quickly for any sign of Carlos, the other man, or their girlfriends. No such luck.
"The shot sounded like it came from upstairs!" Kevin recalled. "Come on!"
He grabbed A.J.'s arm and pulled him up the stairs towards where the sound had been made.
A wave of relief washed over Katie as she realized that she hadn't been shot. Thomas had just fired the gun straight up in the air to scare her. And it had worked. Before she could think twice, he was holding her wrists tightly again. She yelped in pain as he twisted them at an awkward angle. "Try to get away from me again and I'll shoot something besides the ceiling," he whispered harshly into her ear. She willed her tears of fright to go away as he started to pull her over towards the darkest corner of the room. As they got closer, Katie could see a little better, and her stomach turned. They were walking towards a bed.
Thomas pushed the gun against her back, and she could feel that the barrel was now warm. "Lie down," he commanded. She shuddered, hearing the raw desire in his voice, and didn't move at first. He cocked the gun again. "Now."
Katie had no choice but to oblige.
Kevin and A.J. bounded up the second flights of stairs as if they were nothing, both afraid of what they might find. When they reached the top, they turned to each other again. "We'd better split up!" Kevin realized.
"You go this way, I'll go that way!" A.J. decided, running off in the direction he had designated as "that way."
Kevin nodded and started down the hall in the other direction, checking inside the first room he reached. It was empty. He ran across the hall and checked that room too. Also empty. Kevin checked the next two doors as well. Both of them were empty. He reached the last door and opened it, and his eyes widened when he stepped inside.
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