A Single Bound 17

Aiden reached up and opened the latch.  He almost fell backwards as he tried to force the frame out and open.  Morgan reached up and grabbed him, keeping him steady.

“Thanks,” he said.  “You caught me like it was nothing.”

Morgan hadn’t been thinking about how much Aiden weighed.  Now that she did, she struggled a bit to help him get his feet firmly underneath him.  He gave her a smile in the dim light and then went back to pushing.

With a few cracks, a snap, and a shower of plaster dust, he got it open.  Aiden’s head and shoulders disappeared and sunlight streamed around his body into the darkness.  There was enough room for Morgan to climb up alongside Aiden, so she stepped up on the metal frame and balanced on one foot.

Sunlight blinded her after the darkness in the auditorium.  Her eyes watered and she had a nearly uncontrollable urge to sneeze.  Fighting back her twitching nostrils just made her eyes burn more.  Morgan could look out the window, but she wasn’t tall enough to lean out and look down like Aiden was.

Brick and plaster scraped her fingertips as she clawed forward and grabbed onto the far edge of the sill.  The muscles in her arms strained and her feet rasped against the wall as she pulled herself up.  With an undignified grunt that sent blood rushing to her face, Morgan pulled herself even with Aiden.

Their shoulders were pressed together in the cramped space and he was barely able to turn his head and give her a smile.  That made her blush even more.  Then they looked down.

The top of the school’s emergency generator had a burnished metal plate on the top, probably to protect it from rain or snow.  It shone in the sunlight like a cross between a searchlight and a mirror.  Morgan could see Aiden’s face and her own, slightly distorted, staring up at her.

“Looks pretty far,” she said.

“It won’t be that bad if we hang off the edge and drop down,” Aiden said.  “Besides, I’ll go first and I can help catch people.”

“Chivalry isn’t dead, I guess.”

“Huh?”

“You’re our knight in shining armor.”

“Oh.  Well in that case, I’d better get moving, milady.”

Aiden started squeezing his way through the opening.  The fact that their shoulders were pressed together wasn’t really making it any easier for him, but Morgan wasn’t complaining.  She did move to the side a little so he was able to twist around.  She looked down again, still worried about the height of the drop.

She looked at the top of the generator again.  Something wasn’t right.  There were too many faces.  Aiden’s reflection to the left, then hers, and then another.  At first she thought it was a shadow.  Then she saw the glinting of the eyes.

Morgan’s heart stopped and she turned her head.  The darkness under the overhanging roof was too deep.  But the blackness still couldn’t hide everything.  Eyes were watching her.  Grey rings around black irises.  Then came the hands.

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