I can’t risk it, not after what happened to Mandy. I jack out and sit back down on the shiny white bed that protrudes from the wall. A few seconds later, my chip stops working again. I guess that was my window. Maybe I should have taken it. Damn.
So I wait and think and wait and think and eventually I get tired. It’s been one helluva day. I lie down on the bed and do my best to push the image of Mandy riddled with bullets out of my head. I don’t succeed very well.
I fall into a nightmare-ridden state of half sleep, seeing the faces of Mandy and her brother, locked in shrieks of agony as they are riddled with bullets. Mandy runs up to me, sobbing, bleeding, holding in her guts, telling me that we need to run, to escape this godforsaken place. “It’s time to go,” she says.
Except she doesn’t. It’s not her voice, it’s someone in the room with me I wake up and jump up in bed almost bash my head on the door and shout “Who’s there!” In front of me stands a woman dressed all in black, staring at me. She’s not unnattractive. In fact, she’s –
“I’m here to help you,” she whispers in a coldly sexual tone. “We have to go.” I do what she says.
She sneaks me around a few prowling enforcers until we reach the door to the stairs and the elevator I came down on. All of a sudden, an alarm starts beeping and the sounds of booted footfalls echoes around the white corridor. “Go. Run. I’ll meet you. Thirty floors.” Four metals claws grow out of each of her hands and she points to the door to the staircase. I take it.
The footsteps go out of earshot when the door closes, and I go up, 1, 2, 5, 10, 18 . . . around floor 23 I lose count. I’m exhausted and my heart feels like a grenade with the pin pulled out. I stagger up a few more flights of stairs and hope that this is the one, because my body is about to collapse. I push open the door and emerge into the lobby of a CyberCorp Satellite office. Empty. Must be after hours. Suddenly filled with new energy, I race out the front doors into a parking lot with not a single car. Odd. Where do the enforcers park? I scan the area. At least I’m still in the city. Still, though, I need to get out of here, but all I can do is stand and pant.
A few second later, there’s a voice behind me in the parking lot. I whirl around to face the girl from before, except now she’s covered in sticky red liquid. Blood. “My name is Tess. I have seen to it that you may escape this place. Go quickly before more come.” There’s something oddly sexual about her, shrouded in darkness and staring icily at me in the cold night air. She is almost one with the night. “Well,” she says, “what are you waiting for?” and she takes a step toward me, her hips swinging almost imperceptibly with the violent feminine grace of a machine. What am I waiting for?
I ask her for some leads in the case
I leave and go my own way