Cricket threw down the bauble, engulfing the room in thick black smoke. I slid down the steep roof & hit the ground running, literally. I would’ve waited for Cricket but I had other things on my mind. I thought out the shortest route to my apartment, sent a text for Cricket to meet me there, & merged into the vast crowd.

I hung upside-down from a post in my closet doorjamb, thinking. How could this’ve happened? Where was Cricket? It wasn’t like him to take so long.
I dropped to the floor, taking off down the hall to his apartment. Nailed to the door, curiously enough, was one of the strange, long half-sleeveless jackets that was his custom to wear. My mind raced as I threw open the door.
To my horror, Cricket was bound, gagged, and strung upside-down on a coat rack with duct tape, with that familiar black shape turning to face me.
I began to rush in when the door slammed behind me, lock turned after it. I froze as Lin held out her hand, whispering, “Don’t move, or else Broadway Boy gets it.”

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