Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wyre-rat (part 24)

"Swim north along the shore until an alarm on your tank goes off, then look for a tiny shack built just above the waterline. When you're even with it, turn out to sea and they'll find you."

He stared. "I can't leave you alone. They'll come, they'll take you to the Center."

I shook my head at him. "Better me than you, and my people need to know what the Center is. If they can, they'll get me out." I stared into the dark, wondering if they would even try. If they couldn't, I still wouldn't give away any information.

I quickly packed up the bag. "Is he one of your supervisors?" I barely glanced at the corpse. I was surprised that he hadn't even thought about killing the man.

Now he showed no concern about the body beyond stepping around the blood. He lifted the corpse by the hair, then dropped it. "No. I don't recognize him." He quickly stripped out of his clothes, and I packed them in the bag as well, carefully not looking at him until he'd dwindled down to cat size.

He seemed amused by that, and jumped up on the bed to rub against me.

I pushed him away. "Get out of here. I need to get away before they activate that tracker." He squirmed out the narrow window and I watched him go, wondering if I was judging him correctly.

He could just as easily go back to the Center, but at the moment he seemed to be reveling in his new "freedom." An illusory and dangerous freedom, but he couldn't know that yet. If he followed my instructions, at least he'd be out of it.

When I could no longer see him I finished packing my bag and went looking for my hostess.

She looked up from the fireplace, surprised to see me in her private areas, and then her eyes darted down. I followed her gaze, saw the blood streaking my new leather boots.

"An uninvited visitor," I explained, keeping my voice hard. "I hope you didn't invite him in."

Her eyes moved to the bag over my shoulder. "You're leaving."

"I'm not staying where I've been attacked," I snapped. "And there's a body on your floor."

She nodded sharply. "I'll take care of it." She didn't move. I stalked past her and out the door.

The day was young enough that most people were still at home. I hurried away, through the narrow streets and up toward the Center. As I passed the hotel where I'd stayed I slipped inside to leave my bag at the back of one of the first floor closets.

If you want to start at the beginning: Wyre-Rat episode 1

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