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I had never actually heard a flashbang before, but I had seen enough TV to know what was going on next door. Someone had just unleashed hell on the poor bastards that inhabited the apartment next to Rains, and even through the walls we could tell it was no party.
“Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, FUCK!”
She was a whirlwind, grabbing her bag, and then reaching under the couch to grab a small package wrapped in brown paper. It came away with the sound of tearing masking tape and it went into her pack which she slung over her shoulder with a practiced flick. She took only a second to secure her aviatrix helmet and goggles and then she looked at me.
She didn’t need for me to speak; the look of terror on my face spoke volumes.
“Back window, run, NOW!” She ordered.
She pried open the one and only window in her apartment and quickly jumped out. The apartment was on the first floor and it was only a couple feet to the ground. The air outside was muggy and warm.
Rain gripped my arm painfully and led me towards a large dumpster behind the apartment complex, a quick glance behind me showed grey smoke pouring out of the window next door.
“I gave them the wrong address, I just hope they don’t hurt the neighbors” Rain explained quickly as we snuck towards a small alley that led out to the main road.
“Fuck, I didn’t think they would be this interested, or come this soon, fuck!” She hissed under her breath.
We had only gone about a block when walking started to feel like drowning, I was not ready for anything more than sitting, eating and sleeping.
“Rain, not to be a downer, but I am not going to be able to go much further.” I managed to wheeze.
Looking left and right she once again grabbed my arm and started leading me down the street. We entered a small building that had a large T painted on it. The sickly warm air of the Boston T hit my face and nose causing me to cough. A stream of people pushed up and out of the subway, happy to be entering the relative cool of the air above.
Rain reached into her bag and handed me a small white card that had a small cartoon man on it. She then found one for herself, we pressed the tiny RFID tag in the card up against a reader and with a “boop” the doors slid open.
We were adrift in a sea of people, Rain held my hand, some of her tattoos spilled out onto the back of her hands. She herded me into a train with a red stripe down the side, the outbound to Braintree.
“I know a person we can stay with till this blows over.” We sat down in the blessedly air conditioned train, a strange smirk on her face.
“What exactly is ‘this’?” I asked trying not to sound too ungrateful towards the woman who had recently saved my life.
She looked at me, her face changing abruptly to a mask of confusion and fear. “I uhh, borrowed some money from these guys. Only a couple thousand, you know, with all the economic bullshit going on I needed it to help someone out of a jam.”
My brain suddenly felt, itchy, like a small rodent was crawling around inside my head. “That’s why you were going to jump off the bridge, because she died, and you couldn’t help her.” The words ran out of me.
“How the fuck do you know that!” She spat, tears welling up in her eyes, “Are you some kind of fuckin weirdo stalker?” She pulled away from me, I could see it in her eyes, she wanted to hurt me, she could have too, years of carrying heavy bags, and riding hard through Boston traffic had made her strong. She was getting ready to fight or flee.
“Wait! I am not a weirdo I promise.” People were starting to look at us. It is not every day a skinny corpse and a punk rock prep schooler get in a fight on the T. I leaned in closer and spoke quietly. “I promise, it’s just something I can do, if you give me enough data points, I can calculate a prime projection based on optimal probability.”
“What the fuck does that mean in English.” Unaware and uncaring about the stares of the other passengers.
“I am not sure how it works, but if I get enough information about something, I can ‘know’ stuff about it. Like you, I didn’t know enough about you to know all the pieces, but when you said that it gave me enough information, and well, it just shoots out of me, I can’t always control it.” I was trying to whisper. It wasn’t working.
I placed my hand on hers; she jerked a little but didn’t make me move it. “I am glad you didn’t jump, I would be dead right now if you hadn’t”
The trains started to slow, which was accompanied by a horrific squealing noise as the brakes hungrily gummed the wheels. A sound like steal fingernail running along the worlds largest chalk board, god I hated the T.
“This is our stop.” She stood up, letting my hand go. I couldn’t tell if she was pissed off or just mulling over what I had told her. We quickly exited the train into the sweltering North Quincy T Stop. People moved swiftly towards the exits to escape the oppressive dead air underground.
The escalator was broken and so we had to climb several flights of stairs. It was slow and grueling. When we reached the top I had to take a break. We sat in silence.
How had I known her mother had died in the hospital, unable to get the medicine she needed to fight her cancer? My thoughts wandered, I started to wonder about what had happened at her apartment. What kind of people go through all the trouble of doing a full on ninja assault on an apartment just to get money back from a bike messenger? How much money was ‘a couple thousand’?
After I had rested, we walked north slowly. We crossed over a bridge and I could see the train bridge we had just rode over to my right, some daring kid had crawled out and scrawled his tag 7 feet high with shiny silver paint. That ledge had to be just a couple feet wide, and the water was a long way down. That’s some commitment to your art.
We rested again at a small gas station at the base of the bridge, Rain bought me a Gatorade and I drank it slowly. We had walked about a mile, and I was absolutely exhausted. I sat sweating in the warm winter sun. Dead weeds grew up between my feet, seems I wasn’t the only one hating this heat.
We walked behind the gas station to a small apartment; Rain stopped and looked at me.
“I am sorry I called you are weirdo stalker on the T. I was just a little freaked out that you, could like read my mind and shit.” She paused, looked down at her feet then back at me. I could tell this was not the end of this conversation.
“One more thing, this girl we are about to meet, she is umm a little strange.”
She knocked on the door, then turned back to me.
“Well let’s just say she marches to her own drummer. Oh, and we have sex once in a while.”