Please Go Here for the beginning of the story.
It was hard to see the the man at the bottom of the stairwell, but he spoke with a gentle and kind voice. Francesca leaned over the railing and tried to make him out in dim light, but she could only see a shadow. Just then the main door burst open and the Milo’s partner jumped through, whispering loudly, “They’re here! They’re here! Let me in!” The door clicked closed behind him and she could see the two of them edge away towards the stairs. She whispered down, “Where are they?”
Milo answered, “Jerry tells me they’ve just entered the courtyard at the far end. They still don’t know we’re here. But it won’t be long till they find us. Is there somewhere we can hide?”
Francesca’s heart pounded. What have I gotten myself into?, she thought to herself. Letting these strangers into my home? Then she had another thought, Oh, the light in the apartment! They’ll see it!. She called down to Milo, “I must turn off the light in my apartment or they’ll be looking here!” She spun around and dashed into her apartment. She switched off the lamp by the kitchen table. Then she had another thought, Call Uncle Barnaby! He’s sure to be able to help! She picked up the phone and dialed Uncle Barnaby’s home number. As she listened to the phone ringing on the other end, she carefully parted the kitchen window curtains and peered down at the courtyard below. Three figures stood in the center, pointing up at her apartment. They’ve seen us! she thought with alarm. What am I going to do?
Someone picked up the line at the other end. “Hello?” It was Uncle Barnaby.
“Uncle Barnaby, this is Francesca.”
“Oh, hello Francie. Nice of you to call. How did everything…”
Francesca cut him off. “Listen Uncle Barnaby, no time to talk. I’ve let two men into my apartment building. They are being chased by some other men and I think I’m in trouble.”
“Wha…? Francie are you all right? You hurt?”
“No Uncle Barnaby. I can’t explain right now. Can you meet me in the store? I’m going to try to head there right now.”
“What’s this all about, Francie? You shouldn’t be…”
“Please, Uncle Barnaby, just go to the store.”
“All right, Francie. Just be careful, okay?”
“Okay, Uncle Barnaby. Thanks so much!”
Francesca hung up the phone, grabbed her red raincoat and satchel, and dashed back to the front door. She leaned over the railing. “Hey, Milo, you still there?” she called down.
“Yeah,” came the answer.
“Both of you come up here right away. The guys who are following you have seen my apartment light and are heading right for the front door. Come quick!”
There was some jostling down below as it seemed like the other man Jerry was refusing to listen. She heard Milo curse and watched him push Jerry toward the stairs. Jerry let out a yelp and started climbing the stairs. Milo followed after him.
She watched them make their way up. On the second floor landing there was a loud boom down below, followed by a shout, “Open the door! We know you’re in there!”
Milo and Jerry sprinted up the stairs and came face-to-face with Francesca. Francesca stood shocked. It was the man from in front of the store earlier this evening!