Saturday, January 22, 2011

Puncher - 7

Smith looked down at the road. He could see the tournament crew waiting for them, with plenty of runners locked in cages. They looked up at them.

“They’re going to let them out as soon as we start going down,” he said.

“Fuck, well, that’s problem, isn’t.”

Smith looked down the road, over to the other set of the crew in the distance.

“We get down fast enough, I should be able to lead the runners over and down before the runners from the other side get to us,” she said.

He didn’t see much of another option. They gap was small, and he could see plenty of handholds on the building across the street. He looked at her.

“Okay, go.”

He had to give her credit; she got down the side of the building a lot faster than he could have done it. He had a strong suspicion this was how she’d survived in the QZ. If she survived all of this, he’d have to ask her.

True to form, the ground crew opened the cages on the runners. They were fast, and she had to drop a good fifteen feet from the building to the ground to stay ahead of them. She hit the ground hard and rolled, came up right to her feet. She barely had five feet between herself and the runners as she sprinted away. She disappeared around the corner and the runners followed.

Smith went over the edge as soon as the first runner went by. Runners this fresh would be so consumed with the chase that he didn’t figure they’d see him. The problem, of course, is that runners were drawn to movement, and the dozen runners from the other side would be coming right for him.

He dropped off the building like she did, but without the grace. His leg screamed and he took a limping run at the other building. That move on the hood cost him, and he was slower than he should have been. He barely got across the road before the runners were there, but he managed it.

He pulled himself over the ledge of the building, and she was waiting for him. He could feel her smirk straight through her helmet.

“Show off,” he said.

She shrugged.

“I’ve had a lot of practice.”

The second half of the roof run was trickier. They were moving outside of the business section of town and into what had been residential. The houses here were old, and that meant that they were close enough together to make the jumps from rooftop to rooftop.

The problem with that was that they were house rooftops, and that meant a couple of things. For one, they hadn’t weathered the years of neglect nearly as well as the buildings behind them had.

Smith very nearly fell off the roof of one of the houses when the old shingles proved to be attached to the house by force of habit rather than anything else. She, at least, had the decency not to laugh as he scrabbled, kicking shingles off the roof. It probably was funny, if you weren’t the person it was happening to.

Smith paused for a second on the roof to get his bearing, and heard someone running. He looked over into the street, and Stahl was running. His leathers were scratched and torn, but he was moving fast,


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