A New Dimension: Chapter Fifteen

        “RUN WILL!”  Crimson Hen was on the ground.  A bullet had just whizzed through the window and struck the wall behind her.  Will seemed frozen in place.  Crimson Hen jumped up on the table and slapped him across the face with a winged backhand.  “Snap out of it!  They’re here. They’ve found us!  We have to go now!”
        Will came around and dove off his chair to the ground just as another bullet whizzed by.  “They’re shooting at us!” he said, stating the obvious.
        Crimson Hen could tell that Will was not grasping the situation.  She grabbed him by the collar and gave a tremendous tug towards the front of the house.  Even as strong as Crimson Hen was, a chicken’s tug on the collar isn’t very strong.  Fortunately, it was enough to get Will moving.  
        The two of them crawled out the apartment, as low to the ground as possible, to the rear of the main hallway.  “Where can we go?”  Crimson Hen was thinking furiously.  “If they’ve found us, they’ll have all the entrances covered.  We’re trapped.”
        Will blinked hard a few times then seemed to begin thinking rationally again.  “There’s a chance they haven’t covered the outback.”
        “What’s the outback?” asked Crimson Hen.“The outback is what I call the connection between my apartment and my across the alleyway neighbor’s apartment.  It’s a little strip of building that juts out from my roof and extends almost all the way across the alley.  My neighbor dared me to see if I could go across one time, and I did.  It wasn’t hard.”  Will was already leading them both up a small stairwell to a panel in the ceiling.  “Here – you may need a boost.”  He lifted the chicken up into the crawl space, then climbed up after her.
         Above the ceiling was a small crawl space surrounded by dust and insulation and wiring.  “Ugh,” sighed Crimson Hen.  She didn’t care for dirty unfinished spaces; too much spider habitat.          
        They made it across the ceiling to a segment of wall that had a little panel on it.  With a small tug, the panel came off, leading to the roof.  “Come on,” said Will.  “It’s an easy jump!  And you sort-of-fly.”
        Carefully, Will and Crimson Hen leaned out onto the roof.  The coast was blissfully clear.  On the roof, they made their way, crawlingling low to where the overhang jutted out into space.  Crimson Hen peeked out over the edge.  Below in the apartment building, they could hear the military police pounding on Will’s door and shouting.
        “There’s a pair of guards down there.  We’ll need a distraction or they’ll see us as we cross over,” Crimson Hen said.  She looked around.  “Here – a bucket, and . . . yes, a little piece of rope.  Okay.  One distraction, coming right up.”
        Crimson Hen placed some broken bits of brick and mortar in the bucket, then sat the bucket precariously on the opposite side of the apartment building, then ran the rope back to where they were hiding, ready to jump across the buildings.  
        “Okay,” Crimson Hen said.  “I pull this, the bucket of bricks tumbles to the ground, then we scoot across this gap.  We may only have seconds, we’ll need to hurry.”
        They lined themselves up, and waited for the guards to wander as far toward the far corner of the building as possible.  Crimson Hen gave a little tug on the bucket, and it quietly slipped off the ledge of the apartment building.  A few moments later, there was a crash as the bucket of bricks met with a sidewalk.  The two guards turned toward the sound.
        “Now!” whispered Crimson Hen.  
        Will and Crimson Hen sprang across the small gulf, landing safely on the other roof.  They quickly tucked themselves down so they couldn’t be seen, and held their breath as they waited to see if the alarm would be raised.  The guards turned back around just moments after they had jumped, but didn’t seem to notice Crimson Hen and Will on the neighbor’s apartment building.
        “Whew,” said Crimson Hen.  “That was close.  Where to now?”
        “Right,” said Will.  “Follow me.”
        He led the two of them along the roof to a small door.  With a sigh of relief, Will opened it, and it came open smoothly and quietly.  They slipped into the apartment building.
        “We’ll need to find a way out of this building too,” said Will.
        “True, but at least they’re not looking for us here,” replied Crimson Hen.  “Didn’t you say you had a friend over here?  Let’s see if they’ll help us.”
        “Oh.  Right!  Follow me.”
        A few moments later, they were standing in front of a door.  Will knocked and they waited nervously in the hallway, looking up and down, expecting the MPs to come charging in.  Then, with a click, the door opened.
        “Uh, hey Will, what’s um -” Will’s neighbor looked down and saw Crimson Hen standing there.  “-um what’s up?”
        “Sally, we, uh, could we come in?”  Will said urgently.
        “Uh, is that your chicken, Will?”  Sally said.
        “I’m not anyone’s chicken, lady,” Crimson Hen said with disdain.  Sally took another look at Crimson Hen, then back up at Will, then slowly at first, but then all at once, she passed out, with a thud, to the floor.
        “Hmph,” Crimson Hen said.  “Some neighbor you’ve got.  And why does that keep happening?”  She hopped up and over the now inert neighbor.  “Come, on, help me get her into the apartment to a couch or something.”  
        Will seemed frozen for a second, then quickly put an arm around Sally’s shoulders, and began to drag her inside.  When she was clear, Crimson Hen took one last look up and down the hallway, then closed and locked the door behind them.

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