Crimson left the lab and carefully picked her way down the creepy green hallway. It smelled of antiseptic and bleach. I hate antiseptic and bleach, she thought. Now, where does a chicken get a cup of tea in this place?
She passed other laboratory doors, shut and locked. Then all at once, she heard an alarm. Oop, the lovely doctors must have revived. The awooga of the alarm was punctuated by a scratchy intercom system.
“All security to sector 3, zone 2. Repeat, all security to sector 3 zone 2. The target is a small brown chicken. Repeat, the target is a small brown chicken. Use necessary force to immobilize the chicken. Capture chicken alive. Repeat, capture the chicken alive.
Well that’s a relief, thought Crimson Hen, and I’m crimson colored, not brown! They’d know that if they had the decency to ask my name. She hurried along the corridor and came finally to a set of stairs. Noticing a sign on the door to the stair, Crimson glanced at it and gulped a nervous gulp. This is sector 3 zone 2, she thought with alarm. I better scram it!
She burst through the the door to the stairway, and heard pounding feet running up the stairway. The stairway wound around an open space. The feet she could hear came from a floor below, but she couldn’t see whose feet they were. She didn’t wait around to find out.
With a little running start, she leapt/fluttered up to the railing, then bailed beak-down the center of the stairwell. In a flitting moment she careened past security guards, then opened her wings and fluttered as hard as she could to slow herself before slamming into the basement floor at the bottom of the stairs.
She wasn’t seriously hurt but laid at the bottom of the stairs for a moment to collect herself. As she quieted her breathing and beating heart, she heard voices from above:
“Hey, Jimmy – did you see somethin’ jump off them stairs?”
“Naw Chuck-Bob, what did you see?”
“I don’t know, Jimmy, but it sure seemed like something little and brown jumped down the stairs.”
“Chuck-Bob, are you makin’ that up?”
“No-sir! I wouldn’t joke about jumping chickens.”
“I get that. I really get that. I wouldn’t either.”
“I think that may have been the chicken we’re after.”
“Say, have we ever had a chicken for a target?”
“Well, not that I can remember. I guess not. But you know what? I had chicken for dinner last night.”
WHAT!!! What did that crazy person say?! Crimson Hen was stunned, then quickly got ahold of herself. She remembered the kung-fu breathing exercises she’d been taught in an ancient cave so long ago. Soon, her terror had passed and was replaced by cold seething anger. Here was a place where discussion of chickens being eaten was small-talk! She must be extra careful. Where did that little firework creature send me?
The sound of boots on the stairway came floating down to her, and she knew she had little time before the two security guards could regroup and begin the chase anew. I must find out where I am, how I got here, and most importantly – how do I get back??!!