We took a little mini-trip this weekend and I wasn’t able to post yesterday’s installment…that’s also the reason for Friday’s rather short addition.
Outside the water-room, Jacoby heard one of the humans open the front door to their apartment, probably taking something to the garbage room with the other elevator. That gave him an idea, but he’d have to move fast to avoid being seen. Jacoby carefully peered out the door to the water-room to make sure the coast was clear and then deftly hooked his paw under the metal door, which wasn’t fully closed since the humans weren’t going that far away or going to be away for that long, and slipped out into the hallway. Then, before his human came out of the garbage room, Jacoby dashed up the hallway past all the other apartments and to the clearing where the front elevators were.
Now came the tricky part: getting down the elevator without a human. He knew this involved the little round things on the wall; his human touched one, it lit up, and the door opened and then it moved, and reopened in a different place. Could he do it himself, without her, he wondered? Worth a shot, anyway.
Which one, though? There were two, one above the other. He never really paid much attention when his human touched them. He’d have to choose quickly, though, before someone noticed he was missing. He studied the circles again, and decided that, since outside was below where he was now, the circle below must lead to outside. Jacoby gathered himself up and leapt to hit the circle with his paw.
Nothing happened. The circle stayed dark. Taking a deep breath, he tried again. To his relief, it lit up and made a little sound. That was it! He paced the clearing between the two doors, not sure which one would open. Finally, one did, and he ran inside. As the doors slid closed, Jacoby remembered that there were circles inside the elevator, too.
In his haste to get out of the clearing and inside the elevator, he’d forgotten about the second set of circles. There were a lot more of them inside, too. Now what? Keeping to his theory that the bottom lead outside, he leapt up again and smacked the lowest two circles, one with each paw. One of those had to work.
The doors slid open. He hadn’t moved at all! He was still in the clearing near the territory! Then the doors slid shut again. Jacoby studied the circles again. Why hadn’t that worked? As he considered the circles, it occurred to him that the circles he hit the second time hadn’t lit up when he hit them. So, maybe not the lowest two circles. He’d have to try the next lowest. He was certain that the lower circles would work. They had to!
Jacoby took a deep breath, hunkered down and prepared for another mighty jump. This time, he smacked the circles as hard as he could with both paws – pow-pow! To his relief, this time they lit up and he heard the machinery start growling around him outside the little room. Success!
The elevator was moving quicky, though. Too quickly for Jacoby to plan his next move. He had to run out as soon as it opened, he knew that. But how was he going to get past the big, heavy, window-doors that lead outside without his human?
He was about to find out, he realised as the elevator stopped moving and the doors opened. He darted out the doors, happy that wooden floors in this clearing was a warm brown rather than the grey near the territory; his fur was almost the same colour as the floor, which would help camouflage him as he worked out how to get through the door. They didn’t, however, have as good traction, he remembered, as he tried to run around the corner to the hallway and skittered around in a huge arc, his feet frantically trying to go in the right direction and failing.
Bam! His flank slammed into the wall, which at least stopped his skid. Not having time to stop and regroup, Jacoby shook himself and kept running. At the end of the hallway, he saw the door, and with a thrill he saw a female human with a stroller and a small dog on a leash. If he timed it just right, he could slip out underneath the stroller between its wheels and get out without either of them noticing him.
Jacoby redoubled his speed and lowered his head. It was all or nothing time. He raced towards the stroller, flattened himself out, and used the floor to slide under the stroller and out the door. He immediately felt two things: the roughness of the floor outside, scraping his soft black pads, and a push of air as the door slammed closed behind him, narrowly missing catching his tail by a whisker’s length.
But he’d done it! He was outside! Cold air ruffled his fur and he shivered a little. He hadn’t remembered that he’d had his harness-coat on when he’d been out with his human before. Well, climbing up a tree was easier than getting down one, he reasoned, so he’d just have to toughen up and deal with it. He was outside without his human, without his coat, without any protection apart from the teeth and claws he’d been born with.