The warm cement absorbed the soft falls of her running shoes. The sidewalk was crowded with businesswomen, young teenagers and the guardsmen glaring at them and everyone else. Everyone except her at least, no one ever pay’d much attention to her. The freedom it bestowed was useful and pleasant. When no one cared it left you to do whatever you liked. Leave no trace, don’t get noticed, do what you want. That had always been her way. And his way too, now that she thought of it.
Noah was coming. He would slip into the dirty city and everyone’s eyes would fall off him and his footfalls wouldn’t sound on the cement. Her hand tightened on the grocery bags wrapped around her wrist. It scared her and she hated it.
Fear was something she’d moved past, it hadn’t reared its clammy hands and tightened throat since she learned to slip away from it more than a decade ago. Through control, a unique skill set and an impressive poker face she hadn’t truly felt scared since childhood.
She shook the thoughts away, letting the warm rotten smell of the city and contingent of guardsmen ahead distract her.
This city didn’t have basements but it did have lower floors, built when the population had boomed and there hadn’t been enough room for the migrants. She stopped in front of the wrecked apartment complex. An earthquake had shattered out its foundations making a small labyrinth beneath street level. She knew her brother was gone before she ducked under one of the support beams. A small slip of blue plastic, probably once part of a frat boy’s beer cup, poked out from under their door. It meant he was out and that he was safe.
Once the food was stored in their yellowing refrigerator she looked around. Until the others came back there was nothing that needed to be done. She could go running again, or move through her paces…her muscles were already starting a twitch in anticipation. Noah would be older now, slower and she was in her prime.
The knowledge didn’t quell the small bursts of panic begging her legs to run. She ignored them and instead left the collapsed apartment building at an easy pace, though not before slipping a small sip of dingy green paper near the door.
She didn’t know her destination until the scent of brine filled her nose. She’d let her feet take her here. The port of Old Angeles was the best way into the city. Every human trafficker, drug runner and assassin knew it. The ships couldn’t depend on scanners as they ventured into international waters and the sheer size of the place assured things and people could slip through the cracks.
Not a single person glanced twice at her as she strolled through the wharves looking for someone else no one would notice.