Artwork by Kurtssingh
Egon hurried along the hallway, trying every door and finding every one of them locked. The footsteps were coming closer, the beam of the security guard's flashlight nearly upon him. He ran as quickly but silently as he could to the end of the hall and leaned over the railing of the balcony, looking down on the lobby floor below. It was a long drop. No, he couldn't jump it…. But maybe….
The guard walked along, jangling his keys, whistling to himself, shining the flashlight beam around. At the railing, he briefly shone his light down on the open space below, then turned on his heel and proceeded back down the hall to the door at the far end. He unlocked it with his key, slipped through, and shut it behind him.
Behind him, unnoticed, two hands desperately gripped the spindles of the railing where they met the floor. Egon dangled there, seven meters above the floor below, clinging for dear life. The guard hadn't noticed him, so there was one disaster averted. All he had to do now was to pull himself back up and climb back over the railing.
He gritted his teeth and started to pull himself up… and one of the spindles came free. Egon gasped, hanging by one hand, now, watching the spindle fall to the floor below with a clatter. He reached up to grab onto a different spindle, his arms growing weak the longer he hung there. He wasn't sure now that he even had the strength to pull himself up.
He closed his eyes, calling up every ounce of strength he had to hold on… but his hands were sweaty and slipping. He bit back a yelp as he lost his grip, pinwheeling his arms and bracing himself for impact on the bare floor below….
Instead, he landed in Benny's arms. "OOF!"
Egon's momentum sent them both to the floor, but his trusty right-hand-man had saved him from what might have been a very painful landing.
"Holy shit, Egon!" Benny whispered worriedly, getting to his feet with his dazed leader cradled in his arms. "Are you hurt?"
"I don't think so," Egon replied, patting the tall, gangly man gratefully on the shoulder, "Where the Hell have you been?"
"Looking for you," Benny whispered. "Then I heard a noise in here and came to check it out." The younger man gently set Egon back on his feet. "Jkeld and I found another way into the vault room, so we don't even have to go near the guard's office."
"Nice work," Egon said, with an impressed nod, standing patiently as the ever-attentive Benny fussed over him, smoothing his suit and straightening the ever-present gray bowler hat. "Oh, and… nice catch, thank you." He pointed upward to the spot from which he'd fallen.
"Anytime, Boss," Benny said with a boyish grin.