Please Go Here for the beginning of the story.
Francesca finished reading the letter and was inserting it back into the envelope, when the doorbell rang. She jumped up with a yelp, surprised. No one ever dropped by, especially not at this time. Curious, she stepped across the room to the intercome by her door. She pressed the button and cautiously called into the speaker, “Hello?”
The intercom crackled for a moment with no answer. “Hello?” she called again.
The was a rustling and then a man’s voice, “Hello? Hello?” The voice sounded friendly, but excited. “I’m really sorry to bother you at this time, but this is an emergency. My name is Milo Caffin. You don’t know me and of course have no reason to trust me, but my friend and I are being chased by some dangerous people and we need a place to hide…”
There was a rustle again and another voice, also a man’s, pleading, “Please, please! Let us in! If you don’t they’ll get us!”
Again a rustle, “I’m really sorry about that. My friend has no manners. But what he says is true. We need to ask if you can let us in, at least to your stairwell. This is the only place we’ve seen where we might be able to get out of sight. The men who are following us are not far behind.”
Francesca stepped back from the intercom, her heart pounding. Who were these men? What did they want? She leaned over to the window and peeked out into the rainy courtyard below. She could make out two huddled figures standing by the front door.
“Hello?” came the voice over the intercom. “Are you there?”
Francesca hesitated. Who knew what these men were up to? But, what if they really were in danger? What if they really were being followed? She couldn’t refuse to help them if they needed sanctuary.
The voice sounded from the intercom again. “I’m really sorry to bother you. I realize that you have no reason to trust us. We’ll get going and leave you alone. Again, I’m really sorry.”
Francesca watched as the two figures stepped away from the door and started out of the courtyard.
Something inside Francesca loosened and she lunged for the intercom.
“Wait! Don’t go!” she called out. “Wait! I’ll open the door downstairs.”
The voice came back. “Thank you! Thank you!”
“But stay down there at the bottom of the stairs, okay?”
She pressed the remote door release and waited until she heard the echo of the door booming closed downstairs. She opened her front door and called down the stairs into the darkness.