I scale the wall to peer out of the smudged windows. I see the military still around the front but not the back. Do I trust my point of view? Do I have enough information? I do the only nonsensical thing I can do to invoke the mighty Plakkan gods, I kiss my left hand and put it on top of my head before shimmying out the open window facing the alley.
Standing up outside I breathe in (it still smells like refuse) and place my mirror shades over my eyes as a second layer of protection. I toss my bag over my shoulder and just start walking in the direction opposite the Commandant. I find public transportation and ride the twenty stops until I get to where Houssam took me to buy covers. Even after all this travel, I still have several blocks to walk alone. This is not a good part of town but the stores do have motion screens that show clips of the “cleaning” in my building. I stop and watch in silence throughout my journey with my image in the windows staring back at me. I am a sham and yet I am nothing at all. I recognize some of the people interviewed by the press and I am anxious to know what they’re saying and if they identify me. However, I see no pictures of me or of Houssam. I don’t know if this is good news for him.
At first the crowds cheer the action but as I near this darker, cheaper part of the city the people are fewer and the reaction less positive towards the government. These are where lost souls gather, where the walls have eyes. I duck behind a corner and snake down the alley to push aside an excess corrugated metal sheet. It hides the way into the building I need. It’s not a very good disguise but the military don’t come here. This is a forgotten city within a city. I have never been here alone but I have sworn to become fear no matter the form and there is no turning back.
“You there,” someone calls my name from behind and I flinch. “I know you heard me.” I’m caught so I turn around slowly. Someone is male and a cycle or two older than I. “What are you doing, bigot?” he demands when he sees my face and growls.
The dirty about-18-cycle male almost looks menacing and he demands respect from me because he thinks he knows who I am. Those orange eyes, I see what they mean, why they frighten Plakkans so much. They look like burning flames of hell with the rage he exhibits—feelings I know are just reflections of what Plakkans have given him his whole life.
“Back down,” I warn with cold, reflective eyes even though I know he’s protecting the Covers Man. My face is strong, like marble, like he owes me. The stranger tilts his head and moves his ears slightly up. As a Vecher he can tell my timbre is not Plakkan. He is deeply confused because a Plakkan cannot fake that, has no idea how to or that we can tell.
And yet my eyes lie to him, promise him I am something he hates and yet so desperately wanted to be at one time. He tried to do something about it but his doctor botched his forehead surgery.
The male must run the block. He has no comprehension that the Vecher were once a glorious species other than rumors he’s heard or the nostalgia whispered in this empty part of the city. He could not have had formal training in anything, at least on in an organized state structure. He would be a pariah in a different neighborhood and he knows it.
I take full advantage of the shock and awe of my existence and escape behind the sheet of metal and rocket up the stairs. I need help and I will demand help because I already fell and I must pick myself up.
~Raging and quivering female mass of hormones and tosser of Dark Side Cookies™ (trade marked by Etoile)
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