Hard Boiled – Episode One: A New Day 1.07

kavatar“I was on my way to a party. If it’s not too much trouble, could you direct me back to a safer part of town?”

Kardiac grinned, something he usually tried to avoid doing in costume. Miss, just about anywhere is a safer part of town.” Under normal circumstances, he’d have his latest rescuee wait for the police, but he wasn’t sure that was such a good idea in this case. This kind of woman was a beacon for trouble in this part of town.

He closed his eyes and focused. She started to ask what he was doing, but he held up a warning finger. After a second, he had pinpointed the electrical system he was looking for. “There.” His eyes snapped open. “So where is this party of yours?”

The woman smiled, and there was something behind it. Kardiac assumed it was gratitude and let it go at that. “827 Brentwood… the Easton Gallery.”

Kardiac nodded, “I know the place. Follow me.” He wasn’t lying; he did know the place. He’d shown some of his work there. Though his primary living was made in graphic design, he did have an artistic side. Not enough of one to make a living at it, but it did show itself from time to time. They also hosted a lot of parties.

He led her down the alley a bit until they came to a large dumpster. He stepped just out of view behind the dumpster and came back out wheeling along a motorcycle. It was nothing special, but it would cut down on their travel time. There were two more back there, but Kardiac doubted an uptown girl like this one had much experience on a cycle. He did grab an extra helmet, handing it to her as he climbed on.

“You’re gonna need this.” The woman raised an eyebrow and gave the bike kind of a hesitant look. Still, she put the helmet on, and, while she was distracted, Kardiac put his finger on the ignition switch and “started” the bike. She snapped the helmet on tight and gave the bike yet another look.

“This is yours?” she asked, slowly climbing on behind him. She wasn’t dressed for a bike ride, and the dress made getting comfortable a challenge. Still, somehow she eventually managed it. Just then, the sounds of sirens finally broke through the night. Kardiac had had no doubt that someone had heard the sounds of the fight, but he also wasn’t surprised it had taken Garrison’s finest so long to get here.

He pulled her arms around his chest and kicked the bike into motion as he answered her. “It is tonight.” He didn’t have much desire to stay and parlay with the police, especially since he was riding one of the punks’ bikes, so he wheeled in the opposite direction and took the long way to the gallery.

The line between the Wells and the Lourds was a blurry one, but after a few minutes they were deep enough into the Wells that the change was more apparent. He had to admit, riding through the city beat the heck out of the rooftops. He’d have to buy one of these things if he could ever afford to escape the Trains. He had to admit, it also felt mighty nice to have a set of arms holding on to him again.

All too soon, reality came into view with the lights of the Easton Gallery. He stopped about a half a block short of their destination took off his helmet. “There it is,” he said, nodding toward the building. She dismounted, more gracefully than he expected her to, and brushed herself off. “You might want to think about picking up a bus pass. It’s a lot safer than walking and the drivers… well… most of the drivers know where they’re going.” Again, that damnable grin snuck onto his face. “Take care, Miss.”

She smiled back, looking a lot more relaxed than she had in the alley. He could feel her heart pulsing too, still fast, but slower than it had been. She turned to walk away, then stopped and looked back. “Vivian… Vivian Green.” She looked surprised with herself… like she didn’t know why she’d given him her name. Then she turned quickly and headed to the gallery.

He watched her go, watched her enter the building. Once she was clear of the street, he smiled to himself. “Kardiac…” he said, quietly. Then he spun the bike around with a screech and headed back to Old Bridge… toward home. The Warehouse District would still be there tomorrow night…

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