Today is the last day of our Coffee Time Forum Round-Robin event! If you haven't checked out our free round-robin short story, Lightning Strikes, yet, hop on over to:
Today we are giving away a free download to one lucky commenter!
Here's a taste to whet your appetite:
This evening was becoming surreal. Rachel neither needed nor wanted to find out if the manhole cover could be removed. Surely Luke wasn't thinking of going underground?
Luke slid the big iron lid aside. "There's a ladder," he said, as he slowly disappeared into the dark hole.
Rachel remembered something she carried on her key ring. She leaned over the hole and said, "I have a flashlight. It's little, but throws out a pretty good beam of light."
"That might help." Luke's hand appeared. Rachel switched on the light and handed him her keys.
The next minute seemed to go on forever. Finally Luke climbed out of the manhole. "There's a cat down there with a whole litter of kittens," he said, wiping his hands on his muddy trousers. "Maybe this was a good place to live until the rain started. Now the water is rising. By the next storm, they'll be washed away." Luke handed Rachel her keys. "You'll have to wade over to where they are to get the kittens out."
"Me?" Rachel was stunned. "Why can't you bring them out?" The thought of climbing down under the street and sloshing through the water definitely held no appeal. What if there was a flash flood? What if the next storm started?
Luke smiled. "The ladder only goes down so far, and then you have to drop a couple of feet to the bottom of the drain. When you get ready to come back up, you'll have to reach up and catch the bottom rung of the ladder and then I'll help you up. I have enough strength to lift you, but there's no way you could haul me out of there."
Rachel wished she had turned down that delicious steak, or at least refused to take this walk. She didn't want the mama kitty and her litter to drown, but she surely didn't want to go fishing for them either. "How can we get the kittens out?" She couldn't resist stalling.
"Hand them up to me, one or two at a time. Take the mother out last. She won't give you any trouble once her kittens are safe. Animals have a way of sensing whether you're a friend or foe."
"Let me guess," Rachel couldn't keep herself from saying, "you were a Boy Scout."
"Eagle Scout, as a matter of fact. Come on, Rachel, where's your sense of adventure? You can do this."
Somewhere deep inside, a warning signal nagged at Rachel. She wanted his approval. Was it more than a desire to impress the new boss? Why did it matter to her what Luke thought?
Wishing she had at least changed clothes, Rachel looked down into the manhole. "Take time for your eyes to adjust to the dim light," Luke advised. "I'll be right behind you."
What next? Does Rachel risk going into the drain to retrieve the cat and her kittens? Is this as easy as Luke makes it sound? Can Rachel hang on to her flashlight along with an armful of kittens? Can she and Luke pull this off, or will they need someone to rescue them before long?