Just across the darkness, Darren Karl heard a lock click shut.
It wasn't an ordinary cylinder lock, nor was it a lever lock. It wasn't even digitally locked, and Darren had known this from the start. No, Darren’s escape was held from him not by any ordinary lock and key. It was held from him by an intricate series of complex magical systems, which Darren had been studying closely by ear and by sense as the weeks passed beside him.
Every time the cell was opened to deliver food and drink, for his captors would not have him starve, Darren would listen intently to every click and snap in the system, while retaining the apathetic expression on his face, so as not to give away his actions. Though they probably knew he was working on escape. All the more reason to work quickly, he thought to himself.
And when the cell remained locked, he would sit around the door and let his mind reach out to the systems, studying each imaginary spring, shaft and tumbler, slowly picking apart the code that confined him. Now, finally, Darren understood exactly how the lock systems work, and while such a structure shouldn't be caved in without the same specialist adept ability that set them, he also knew that the boundaries of magic can be stretched, and his ability lay just on the borderline. All he had to do was push.
Through the darkness, another click struck.
Darren’s breath caught.
He pushed again.
Whether it was his imagination or not, he wasn't certain, but Darren thought he could see the dark lift just a little with each level he reached, as the scarf of locks unravelled before him.
Darren’s heart hammered against his ribcage. He set his palm on the door handle, twisted and glanced around, though he knew he didn't need to. The guard would be halfway down the next corridor by now, as far away as his patrol led, and none of the other captives could see him through their cells.
The passage was empty.
Darren kicked off from the concrete, and ran.