Episode Three: Her Ladyship: Scene 12

I couldn’t risk leading them back to the safe house. I glanced over my shoulder. They were, indeed, following, and one of the two looked vaguely familiar.

I headed for the nearest mall. I might be able to lose them in the crowds, and they really wouldn’t try to kill me there.

Maybe I could even corner them for conversation. It wasn’t much of a mall – one of those small strip arcades – but it had cameras and security, and that was what I was looking for right at that moment.

Cameras. Security. Crowds. Not so much of the latter. I stopped, looking through the window of a beauty salon. Posters of sample hairstyles hung in the window, and I pretended to be considering one of them.

Nah. I’d look awful in it. I turned and then, and only then, met their eyes. One of them looked away. The other seemed quite determined to turn this into a staring match. I indulged him. Backing down would make me look like prey, and they were already hunting me. “Gentlemen.”

He stepped backwards.

“Come on. There are surveillance cameras. You aren’t going to try anything. I’m not going to try anything. We can talk.”

“There’s nothing to talk about. You know we don’t want to do this.”

“Then don’t. I don’t intend to destroy the world and maybe we can work out what I do and make sure I don’t do it.”

“You…don’t need to do anything. You’re a monster.”

My lips quirked. “I refuse to believe that. If I did, then I might as well kill myself, but I’m not going to.”

He came closer, presumably so as not to shout. His friend stayed back, covering him. I had no doubt but that they’d defend themselves if they had to.

We were at a stalemate, though, neither side willing to fire the first shot.

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