Down to three fingers on his left hand. The ledge was barely wide to his first knuckle, and still slick from the morning’s rain. The right hand slip swung his body out, and he knew if he tried to find grip with his foot, a fail would push his fingers right off. He had to trust his fingers, look for the next position.
When the slip came, he was ready. His body facing the opposite wall, dropped half a meter, his foot caught on the next lip. He absorbed the motion and pushed off with everything he had. The alley was ten meters wide, maybe fifteen, almost impossible even for him. But the ground was over one hundred meters below, definitely impossible.
He stretched his body for every inch, then pulled his legs in and shot them far out front. The ledge was too high, he quickly realized, but the vertical pipe might hold. He dropped nearly two floors by the time he reached the other side. Too fast, he thought. The pipe won’t hold him.
Looking up from the alley floor, his legs crushed beneath him, he really didn’t think the pipe would have held. Struggling to breath through his punctured lung, he looked over at the fire escape. The bars were rusty, but maybe the ladder. He ran through it again, from the top.
Down to three fingers on his left hand. The ledge was barely wide to his first knuckle, and still slick from the morning’s rain.