Pigeon Panic Returns
Lew is back!
With The Beast of the Forest now all wrapped up, it’s time to return to the story of a certain lost pigeon named Lew.
I know it’s been a while since a chapter in Lew’s story, which is why I’ve written up a little recap to help out.
You can also find the full series right here:
Previously on A Lost Pigeon in NYC…
Lew and Francois have been backed into a corner. Howell has put pressure on Francois to get his mall heist done as soon as possible. Francois doesn’t only have a debt with Howell though. He also now owes Mac’s gang of pigeons a pretty penny because of a pigeon Francois injured back in Central Park.
Since then, it looked like Francois’ old apprentice, Joan, was going to help him and Lew out, but she’s ended up switching sides and returning to her old ways with Mac. Instead, Francois and Lew have been assigned Ruby. She’s there to help out, but also to keep an eye on them.
And so it’s now heist time. Francois has made it into the vents but has been gone for a while now, which is why Lew has just set off after him…
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Now, please enjoy!
The metallic boom filled the vent. The noise briefly echoed out and then disappeared. I looked forwards into the darkness and then snapped backwards to check behind me. No signs of movement. No signs of anything. Everything went silent.
Suddenly, I heard the hiss of a whisper coming from back the way I came. It was Ruby.
“Lew!” she said. “Lew! What was that? Are you ok?”
“I’m fine,” I said. “I don’t know what it was.”
“What now?” she said.
“Just stay there,” I told her.
I continued on into the darkness, towards the noise.
A little bit further and I arrived at a turn in the vent. I poked my head around it and found nothing but more darkness. As I looked, I heard the faintest little metallic rustle somewhere behind me, almost like the clickity nails of some little creature on the metal of the vent. Something was definitely there; I just couldn’t see it. Whatever it was, I had to keep moving forward. I had to stay focused.
I made my way down the newest dark alley of the vent. About halfway along the straight, there was a spree of new noise. It was a sporadic metallic clanging, as if something was bouncing from one side of the vent to the other, back and forth. It was then replaced by the rapid scribble of claws on metal, of something on the move.
I was standing still as I took in the soundscape of what was going on just ahead of me. It sounded like it was getting closer, moving towards me.
It was then that Francois charged suddenly around the corner, rushing at me in a wild display of pigeon panic. He was half-running and half-flying, lunging and skipping and flapping his wings. In the faint light coming up through the gaps in the vent, I could see occasional feathers falling off Francois as he hurried towards me. Something had gone very wrong.
“Go, go, go!” he said.
He rushed past me; I had to turn and chase after him. Francois was bumping into the walls, flailing wildly. Pigeon panic at its finest.
“What is it?” I asked him.
“We need to go!” he said.
I looked back and there was nothing coming after us. What on earth had happened?
Francois swung around the corner and bolted onwards.
He charged right past our turn.
“Back here, Francois!” I called after him.
He stopped and turned back, quickly retaking the lead.
As we charged down the vent, I could see Ruby up ahead of us.
“Watch out!” I told her.
She tucked herself against the wall of the vent to avoid the barrelling Francois.
“Time to go,” I told Ruby as Francois steamed ahead.
We went after him, feathers falling from him in his wake for us to run through.
The light of day beamed into the vent ahead of us. Francois charged forward and leapt out into the light, Ruby and I just behind him.
We each went tumbling out of the vent and through the air, none of us landing lightly.
Gathering myself and climbing to my feet, the bright light of day was blinding. I had to squint my eyes as I looked around to take in my new surroundings.
Francois had landed extra poorly on his way out of the vent and now lay in a lump on the ground, still struggling to pick himself back up.
Ruby and I rushed over to him. In the light I could now properly see his injuries. He was missing numerous little clumps of feathers from all of his thrashing against the hard metal walls of the vent. He was trying to pick himself up, but he kept buckling. I could see now that one of his wings had been badly battered. The wing was bent in an unnatural way and the feathers were frizzed.
“Francois…” said Ruby.
“We need to get off the roof,” he said, finally making it to his feet. “The humans could be here any minute.”
It seemed like the flurry of frenzied pigeon panic had tired him out. His legs were wobbly. He looked completely and utterly knackered. Ruby and I had to hold onto him to keep him steady.
Ruby reached for his wounded wing and tried to lift it into the air to get a better look. Instantly, Francois let out a horrible squawk of pain and squirmed free.
“I need to see how bad it is,” said Ruby.
Francois took a second to compose himself. The pigeon panic had finally worn off. He clenched his beak shut and Ruby lifted his wing for another look. He had lost a lot of feathers. His wing was shaking, unable to stay still.
“How is he?” I asked.
“I’ve seen injuries like this at the billboard club,” said Ruby. “His wing is broken. He needs a vet.”
Ruby gently let go of Francois’ wing.
“Try to keep it still,” she said.
Ruby turned and flew quickly over to the edge of the building. She looked down at the street below, searching. Soon enough, she returned to me and Francois.
“Can you glide?” she asked Francois.
Francois nodded, still in pain.
“We need to get you down to that little ledge across the street,” said Ruby. “You can rest there until we get you some help.”
“Are you sure you can make it?” I asked Francois.
“Don’t worry your little head,” he said with a smile.
We made our way to the edge of the building and looked down at our target across the street – a little tucked away ledge where we could hunker down.
Ruby offered some final words of caution, “Ok, so you need to be…”
Before she could finish her sentence, Francois was already gliding down through the air. We took off after him and watched on helplessly as he flapped awkwardly, tumbling and then finally crashing onto the ledge. It wasn’t pretty, but he’d made it.
“Keep him here,” Ruby told me once we landed. “I’ll go get help.”
She looked at the sorry mess that was Francois and then she took off. And so Francois and I sat by in silence. Help was on its way, or at least we hoped it was.