Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wyre-Rat (Part 11)

In any city there are going to be people who live below the notice of the law abiding citizens. Simple enough to identify them, and to approach one with an offer.

I took a risk. Although the small room they rented to me was not an official apartment (meaning the city got no taxes or fees) they could easily call the police about a squatter if they thought they could collect a reward.

I paid in local currency and spoke with a dialect from the north, telling her that I needed the room for two days. She didn't question me. I paid her what she asked, and no more, and I bargained as much as I could to bring the price down. My money had to last until I could get myself and the un-named wyre out, and I could very easily find myself bribing someone. Or several someones, and that isn't cheap.

I knew my landlady was watching, so I left the room through a window and dragged my bag out after me. Not the whole thing--she'd get suspicious if I left nothing in the room--but the small green handbag with all my cash. That I buried just outside the window, and shifted again to rat shape.

This area of town was all narrow streets and alleys. I followed real rats when I could, because they knew all the ways. I edged closer to the monolith they called The Center and finally crouched in hiding across from its main gates.

I'd been in the city for close to a week and never seen this building.

The rest of the city was old and rambling, houses of adobe and plaster behind high garden walls with locked gates. But this area, the center of the city, was all modern. I wondered how many ancient homes they'd flattened for it.

The space around these buildings was wide and flat, with little landscaping beyond grass and bright lights everywhere. Apparently vehicles weren't allowed either. While I could hear traffic in all directions, none came through this area.

The Center was a monolith in the middle of the clear area, probably three stories of blank, windowless walls. The only visible entrance looked like some kind of security gate and my instincts told me that the place was under constant surveillance. No guards visible, but they must be there. Paranoia.

It did occur to me that I didn't really need to do this. I could just slip back out, go to the new hotel as planned and pretend none of this had happened.

My team needed to know the truth.

I considered the monolith one more time. What would happen to that massive door if the power went out? Likely they had backup generators, but a determined rat could solve that problem. If I was right about this place, it was built to keep people in, not out.

Part 12

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

No comments: