was Harry that broke the fire doors open. He'd known right where to go to
find the axe murderer's display. He had to scream above the sound of the
others while swinging his way in, to get the people pressed up against the
door out of the way with the fire licking at his heels and smoke searing
Most of the others were close enough to the spook alley exit and entrance
to run outside that way. Harry was busy getting signatures of thanks from
the people's whose lives he'd saved when it dawned on him that Alice wasn't
around to gloat over.
|The whole side of
the three story structure was lit up like a torch. Smoke billowed up into
the sky like a bomb had exploded.
Someone was trying to get his attention...a newsman of some kind. He waved
the guy away and started jogging towards where the exit to the spook alley
"The girl I was with."
|"Don't know, man.
Bet she's still in there?" It was Ellsworth, his best friend, looking at him
with accusing eyes.
"Yeah... looks like."
Mr. Wansworth, the teacher in charge of the project was surrounded by parents,
kids and firemen huddling so close there was no way for Harry to get to him,
but he couldn't find Alice anywhere
He turned to look at the blaze and took a deep breath. "I'm going to win
this one, babe. Don't make a sucker out of me."
He ripped off his shirt, soaking it in a pool of dirty water by a fire hydrant
strung with hoses and held it over his head. It dripped into his face as
he ran huddled over to keep the worst of the smoke away, searching for the
safest way into the building.
||"Hey! You!" A barrel
chested fireman yelled at him. "Get out of there!"
"Go Harry!" screamed Ellsworth while getting in the way of the charging fireman.
The last sight Harry saw, was Ellsworth getting buried alive by the falling
ton of official indignation tripping over him.
He'd chosen a service entrance that could take him up to the second level
if he needed too. It wasn't too bad where he was right now.
as loud as he could and heard a distant scream echo back into his ears. She
was over by the west gate entrance. It had been chained shut for years.
Fire whooshed into his face as he pushed past the next door. His mind clicking
with alternative routes, he wove his way as quickly as he could towards her.
Breathing the words shallowly like a chant "Anything I want, babe...anything
The building was falling in around him. He leaped over a hot metal girder
and swung under a beam that had just moments before been held in place above
his head. A new opening grew before his eyes as the sheet metal wall tumbled
to the ground.
|His hair was steaming.
He choked back phlegm and spat it out as Alice finally came into sight.
"Hi, babe." He was dizzy. "Miss me?"
"Harry! We're going to burn!" He looked around him. There were a score of
others huddled together under a makeshift tarp, shaking off the spitting,
falling bits of flame dropping onto their heads. "Don't bet on it." He wheezed.
"What are you
going to do?"
"Fight fire with fire, babe. We can't get out this way, but I passed the
old underground storage room. It's our best bet. Let's move."
He couldn't get them to listen. He danced and shouted as Alice's pleading
finally brought them away from their flimsy shelter.
"This way! Straight ahead a hundred feet." He was losing his breath. Alice
grabbed hold of him and started dragging him along with her... keeping low
and holding her breath, this time like a pro, leading the way.
Harry stumbled and fell, dragging her down with him. She slapped him as hard
as she could across the face to bring him around. Alice didn't enjoy it like
she thought she would. Her eyes were inches away from his forcing him to
He nodded and helped as best he could with his un-sprained foot to get the
rest of the way to safety.
It only took seconds to pull the doors open to the underground shelter and
jump down into the cold pit as the fire consumed everything above them.
Alice didn't wait to see the outcome. She was already pushing to the back
of the basement enclosure before the last person was inside.
"There's a door, and it's not locked!" She barely made it out of the way
as the others heard her and clambered up to safety, racing to the waiting
crowd of amazed faces.
Revised: March 10, 1999
Copyright ©1999. All rights reserved