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His plastic head barely moved, but Alec took in the perimeter of the room.
“Roger that.” Alec slid swiftly down the spiral leg of the piano. Someone on the ground meant help was needed, and he was all about that.
Creeping silently across the moonlit floor, Alec spotted the figure lying on its side next to an enormous feather. “Are you okay?” He touched the warm shoulder. No response. “Okay, you’re not okay.” He quickly rolled it on its back, and nearly jumped out of his skin in surprise. “It’s a girl!” he whispered furiously into his radio.
The command came back, “Your mission is to bring her back. Good luck on your journey.”
“What’s the code word?” Alec asked, hoping the answer would prove incorrect.
“Invertebrate. You’ll have to hurry.”
With a grimace, Alec picked her up and slung her over his shoulder. His one dreadlock swung into his face, and he jerked his head impatiently. Sometimes status symbols weren’t worth it.
Alec’s whole body tensed as the girl shifted her weight.
“What’s going on?” She squirmed out of his grip, and Alec accidently dumped her on her rear on the floor. She gasped. “Who are you?”
Alec looked furtively around. “Look, I don’t blame you for wanting to throw a temper tantrum, but there’s danger here, and I’m just trying to get you to a safe place.” He took a closer look at her, and almost felt himself turn a sickly shade of green. “You’re a human, aren’t you?”
She brushed a large white hair off her sleeve before responding petulantly. “What’s it to you?”
“How did you get so–” he hesitated. “small?”
Then she did the unthinkable. She scoffed. At him. “Small? I’m not that much smaller than average. Who are you to call me…” her words trailed off as he stepped into a shaft of moonlight. “You’re one of the men from the piano?”
Alec started to walk toward the piano, and she followed. “So that’s where we’re going?”
“Ssshhh.” Alec, put a finger to her lip. “There are many dangers for us here.”
She giggled. “Like the boogie monster?”
Alec saw the menace before she did. A huge black cat, purring softly, stared straight at them from about two feet away.
“There’s three of us here now. If you can do the math, you’ll find that’s one too many,” he said tersely.
“Wow. He’s huge.” She moved closer to Alec.
“We’ll have to make a break for it.” Alec stared straight into the monster’s green eyes. “Whatever you do, don’t look back. At this point the council needs you more than it needs me.”
“I don’t even know your name, but you’re willing to give up your life for me? How romantic.” She sighed.
Alec gulped back a scream of irritation. “The name’s Alec. Now run.”
“Mine’s Penny.” The last word trailed a bit as she sprinted toward the piano leg.
Alec took off after her, and felt the cat’s enormous paw swipe right behind his heels.
The ropes were pulling Penny up and Alec grabbed onto the very end.
He looked down at the cat who was swiping at his legs. “Not this time, fella. But it was close.”