A Single Bound 18

Morgan’s scream sounded more like a groan because terror wouldn’t let any air into her lungs.  Aiden’s head snapped to the side and he let out a shout.  As grey fingers snaked forward across Morgan and Aiden’s skin, their bodies recoiled back into the auditorium.

Morgan almost fell backwards but managed to latch onto the edge of the frame with a few fingers at the last second.  Aiden wasn’t so lucky.  His feet slipped off the pipe he was balanced on and he tumbled backwards, slamming into the railing on the other side of the platform.  The entire scaffold tilted, thrown off by the sudden, violent shift in weight.

Aiden might have kept going right off the edge, but Teri’s hands twisted into his shirt, slowing them just enough to keep Aiden from pulling them both over.  The damage was already done though.  The scaffold was tipping more and more every second as Aiden’s weight went farther and farther out over empty space.

Metal groaned and Morgan could see grey fingers crawling out of the sunlight on either side of her hand.  Reaching out with her free hand, Morgan latched onto a metal pipe attached to the wall.  Max, Aiden, and Teri were slipping farther away along with the scaffold.  The metal frame was taking forever to fall, and even the thudding of her heart seemed to be taking its time.

Morgan let go of the window and swung her body out, grabbing hold of the side of the scaffold.  It was the only thing she could think of doing to save her friends and get away from the fingers brushing her skin.

Even though she strained as hard as she could, the scaffold kept moving, pulling her arms tight like a string.  Morgan closed her eyes and waited to get yanked right off the wall.  The sound of twisting and wrenching metal overpowered the screams.  Morgan’s whole body jerked to a stop.  As she opened her eyes, metal groaned and she moved another six inches to the side.

The pipe she was holding onto had bent out from the wall and the scaffold had stopped tilting.  Somehow her grip was still intact.  The only thing keeping the two story metal frame from collapsing was her arms.  They looked awfully skinny.

The other three didn’t seem to know what to make of it either.  Teri was straining to keep hold of Aiden while he stared up at Morgan, not really understanding what he was seeing.  Max had both arms and legs wrapped around one of the metal poles of the scaffold.

The pipe bent outward another couple inches.  The brackets holding it onto the wall were starting to peel away.

“I don’t know how long I can hold this,” Morgan said.

No one responded.

“You guys need to get moving—now!”

Aiden came to his senses and grabbed hold of the scaffold.  That freed Teri up.  She turned to Morgan.  She opened her mouth and Morgan was about to shout at her again, but Teri turned and started helping Max down.  Aiden climbed down the scaffold with his hands.  His legs swung free beneath him.  When he got close, he dropped to the ground.

Teri and Max weren’t far behind, climbing down one of the sides.  Morgan heard a scraping noise and at first she thought it was the pipe giving way.  When she looked up, she saw grey hands following the fingers into the auditorium.  The sunlight dimmed as a head came out over the edge, a couple feet from her face.  She couldn’t see the eyes, but she could feel them staring.

Two of the brackets popped off the wall, torn away by the pipe.  As the scaffold ground towards the stage and the dark figure reached for her, Morgan let go with both hands, falling into empty space.

*          *          *

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