Episode Three: Her Ladyship: Scene 24

I could hear him coming up the last part of the fire escape. I was proud that I’d done it faster than he had, but now it was me, a roof, and a guy trying to kill me.

So, my mind was racing with ways to get out of this without killing him. I wasn’t good enough with a gun to shoot to wound and Thea had told me you didn’t do that. You aimed for center of mass. You didn’t care whether you killed them or not, because caring would make you hesitate.

Hesitating would make you dead. He was about to give me no choice, and this was still a part of town where, desire to feed him to the cops or not, a couple of gunshots wouldn’t draw much attention.

On the other hand, being wanted for murder would put a crimp in my style. I wondered if any deity or deities really was keeping a watch out for me, but the only direction that led to was Mr. Otter’s smarmy face, and if he was a god he wasn’t one I cared to worship.

Care for, maybe. Like, even, in a way. Worship, no.

“I know you’re up here, little girl.”

“Give it up,” I said quietly, but loud enough to be sure he could hear me. “Her Ladyship and I agreed a truce.”

“She’s going soft in her old age.”

“Truce.” I was giving him every chance, but the gun was in my hands now. It felt cold and very heavy. The sword felt alive, but I couldn’t carry it with me everywhere. I was stuck with the gun, and the gun was enough to pull me down, all the way down. To the bottom of the Potomac, perhaps.

Or maybe further than that, and if I used it? If I killed this guy, deliberately, maybe I crossed a line. But maybe I already had.

Which was probably why I reached out with everything that was in me in a request for help. I wouldn’t call it a prayer. It was more a…mental yelp.

The only immediate response was that a bullet whizzed past me. Then I saw it. There was a door.

A door…in the back of the elevator hood, and I circled around. Locked, so I kicked it in, remembering to aim for the hinges end, and stumbled into whatever was inside.

It was dark. I almost fell down the stairs, but I kept running down them, hoping he wouldn’t realize, right away, where I had gone.

Down and down, not going into the building. The doors were locked – they tend to lock stairwells in this city, because, hey, everyone’s fat enough without having to take the elevator all the time.

Down…and out into, thank the gods, a parking garage. I ran. If he followed me, he was far enough behind not to see me. The gun vanished back under my jacket as I ran past the parking attendant.

“What’s up?”

“Asshole tried to grab me!” I yelled. The guy might at least slow him down, especially with the implication I had left in that sentence. Rape hadn’t been on his mind, but he’d have to hide the gun too.

Somehow, in the television shows, they never had to worry about stuff like being caught with weapons.

But it was quite a few blocks before I stopped running.

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