Monday, July 30, 2012

Misplaced Hero - Episode 25

The Case of the Misplaced Hero
by Camille LaGuire

Episode 25 - The Chase

BY THE TIME Alex jumped out the window, the girl was nowhere to be seen.  She couldn't have made it over the wall or to the stable yet, could she?  Then he heard a noise from above.  He glanced up, and saw an open window, and foot disappearing through it.

She went back into the building?  That was insane.

Just then one of the guards came running out the kitchen door.  The man staggered from the booze, but he was on his feet and moving, rifle in hand.

"She went ove the wall!" said Alex, and he pointed the man to a pile of boxes.  The guard staggered that way and proceeded to fail to climb them.

By this time, the other guard was attempting to climb out the window.  His rifle kept catching the bayonet on the window frame.

Alex shoved him back and reached in to guide the gun through the window.  Then he grabbed the man's collar and guided him through.  The guard fell on his face, and lay still for a moment.  Alex was afraid he'd broken his neck, but then he shook his head and rolled to a sitting position.

Alex hauled him to his feet, and aimed him for the fence, where his partner had made it half over.  The partner's feet were kicking in the air, and Alex decided that the only thing better than two incredibly drunk guards would be two incredibly drunk guards on the other side of that fence.

So he helped the second guard up onto the boxes and just for the sake of public safety, he held their rifles for them while they climbed.  He gave them each a shove, and they fell with a thump on the other side.  They grumbled at each other in Awarshi.

Alex leaned over the wall and pointed down the alley and shouted, urgently. "Spushta! She's getting away!"

They ran.

Alex tucked the rifles in behind the boxes, and slipped back to the kitchen to peek in.  There were still too many people in the kitchen. Clearly this wasn't the time to sneak Thorny out, but the guards would not be back for a while, and maybe Niko would kick everybody out of the kitchen soon.

In the meantime, Alex had a puzzle to solve: Why had the girl gone back into the building?

Was it instinct?  Like a rabbit looking for the nearest place to hide?  The girl who swung that sword around was no rabbit, and he was sure her first instinct was not to hide. But rabbit or not, she could probably use some help getting out again.

Besides, Alex had an idea.  He had noticed that, unlike the security men, the regular Awarshi soldiers had ill-fitting uniforms -- all baggy and loose, and both the men and women wore the same uniform.

The girl might be able to blend in if she had a uniform.

Alex stopped by the linen closet and grabbed some clothes, then headed upstairs to find the rooms above the kitchen windows.

The doors were all locked along that hallway, but he had the keys that Niko gave him.

The first room was full of barrels and boxes. There was a bed, indictating that it had been a guest room at one time, but the mattress was rolled up, and the bed itself was disassembled and leaning against the wall to make room for more barrels.  And the second room was the same.

Well, that explained why the Awarshis were so reluctant to invite the wreck victims into the inn. It wasn't an inn, it was a storage depot.

Alex went on to the third room.  This one had the bed intact, but it was stacked high with bales of blankets.  There were more stacks on the floor, which the girl could be hiding behind.

Alex stepped further into the room, and the door slammed shut behind him.  He turned, and found himself facing the tip of that sword.

"Why did you try to poison that officer?" hissed the girl.

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