Rebel Fire

Rebel Fire by Andrew Lane

Book: Rebel Fire by Andrew Lane Read Free Book Online
Authors: Andrew Lane
hand for another vine to grip. Instead it found a gap between two bricks. He jammed his fingers in and it took his weight. Laboriously, one step after another, he hauled himself up until the window was below him and he was climbing towards the roof.
    Brick dust fell past him and stung his eyes. He shook his head, eyes closed, to dislodge it. More dust and small bits of rubble pit-patted against his head and shoulders.
    The wisteria lurched suddenly beneath him. His weight was pulling it out of the wall, dragging the tendrils from where they had infiltrated through gaps and nooks and crannies and were gripping the brickwork. He could feel his centre of gravity pulling away from the wall. He glanced down and felt immediately sick when the ground seemed to eddy back and forth beneath him as he swayed. The vines in his right hand became loose, and he quickly scrabbled further up, looking for a firmer handhold. His fingers closed around a thick stem that appeared to be anchored in place, and he pushed upward with his right foot. His left hand closed around a flat tile on the edge of the roof. Thankfully, he rested for a moment, getting his breath back.
    From beneath him he heard the grinding sound of the window being slid up.
    He froze, pulling himself as close to the wall as he dared.
    Sherlock sensed, rather than saw, a dark figure craning out of the window and scanning the ground beneath. He held his breath, desperate not to make a single noise that might give him away.
    More brick dust rained down. He felt the vine he was holding in his right hand begin to pull loose from the wall. He’d been holding onto it for too long—he should have transferred his weight off by now, but he didn’t dare.
    More brick dust blew into his eyes, making him blink.
    His nostrils tickled. He wanted to sneeze, but he wrinkled his nose, clamping his nostrils shut.
    The figure below him swung back and forth, its gaze scanning the ground like the beam of light from a lighthouse. Beyond, in the garden at the side of the house, Sherlock could see several wooden crates piled up. There were gaps between the slats and he thought he saw something moving behind them, but then his attention was forced back as the figure below turned around and looked upward.
    At him.
    â€œYou insolent, cowardly cur!” he screamed, and fired the gun again.
    The lead ball buzzed past Sherlock’s ear like an enraged hornet. He felt the heat of its passage singe his hair. Desperately he dragged himself up to the flat ledge on the roof, pulling his legs after him as the lunatic shot again.
    Silence for a moment as he caught his breath. Sliding towards the edge, Sherlock glanced over.
    The window was empty. The lunatic was coming up the stairs to get him.
    Sherlock looked around desperately. The ledge he was on was just a few feet wide. The roof proper began then, tiled and rising up at a steep slant to a peak. Dormer windows punctuated the ledge every ten feet or so—presumably second-floor bedrooms or storage rooms.
    He had to find a way out, and quickly.
    He knew he could never make it back down the wisteria vine, so he sprinted along the ledge to the first window. It was either locked or stuck in place. He moved to the next one, but it was the same. The third window was open a crack, but the wood had warped and it would not go up any further.
    He made a move for the fourth window, but he suddenly realized that the madman with the gun was standing on the corner of the ledge where it went around the back of the house. He had obviously found a way out before Sherlock found a way in.
    He pointed the long barrel of the gun at the centre of Sherlock’s chest.
    â€œDown, down to Hell,” he screamed, spittle flying out of his mouth, “and say I send thee thither!”
    Sherlock waited for the lead ball to hit him and send him plummeting off the roof. He wondered for a moment if the ball would kill him before the fall did. It would be the last

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