Note: I don’t always get Blue Annex to go the way I want it to. So this is a little experiment. Trying to make it go the way I imagined. I dunno. I don’t love the prose at the moment, but maybe it’ll grow on me.
Running. Why does it always have to be running? A young girl sprinted down Calhoun Street, not even bothering to look back. Another one on her tail. Would this crap ever end? She zagged towards a building and threw open the doors, rushing up the stairs. She could hear her heartbeat thudding in her ears as she ascended the staircase. Suddenly, she felt a pull at her leg, and she tripped. She reached out for the banister and looked over her shoulder, coming face-to-face with her assailant. He was tall and blonde, and, like the others, decked out in sunglasses and a suit. The girl desperately tried to tug out of his grip, but he was latched onto her ankle and pulling her down the stairs. She kicked out with her other leg and reached for the only thing she saw on the stair’s landing, a plastic jack o’ lantern. The kind that kids used for Trick or Treating. It was better than nothing. She grabbed the handle and turned around and hit her attacker over the head. He must have been surprised at the weapon, because he fumbled with her ankle and she was able to escape his hold. I mean, that thing has zero weight behind it and who uses a Trick or Treating basket as a weapon, anyway? She zipped up the stairs and into the first room she found, slamming the door behind her.
“I’ve gotta get outta here,” she said to herself, looking both ways before snapping. And with that snap she disappeared into thin air. The assailant burst into the room not two seconds later and found no trace of his victim. He whipped off his sunglasses in frustration, as if he’d be able to see the girl without them obstructing his vision. He brought his wristwatch to his mouth. “We’ve lost her,” he reported in a Scottish brogue. And with that he was gone, rushing back out the door, and presumably down the hall to check other doors. Another snap resounded in the room and the girl reappeared. Tentatively, she looked around. She was almost afraid to breathe, afraid to do anything to alert the agent to her presence, to get him back on her tail.
Earlier that day, she noticed him. He was either really bad at tailing people, or he wanted to intimidate her. She was sitting outside of the College’s library, looking over a genetics article and enjoying a cup of tea when she felt his gaze on her. He was seated at the next table over, seemingly perusing the Post and Courier, but even with those sunglasses, she could tell that he was watching her. Unnerved, she packed her paper away in her bookbag and headed towards the Marion Square Farmer’s Market. There’d be more people there. And maybe she was just imagining the whole being watched thing. Or maybe she misinterpreted it. Maybe he wasn’t like the others. Maybe he was just some guy that thought she was cute. That had to be it. It couldn’t be another crony. No way. Stretching, she took in a deep breath and headed down the street. However, despite her little pep talk to herself, she couldn’t help but glance over her shoulder every few seconds. But he was never there. What a relief. She adjusted the weight of her bookbag on her shoulder and made her way to the Farmer’s Market, walking through the crowds of people. Although she normally hated crowds (they made her feel claustrophobic), she liked being in them when she thought she was being followed. Easier to get lost in a sea of people. It was safer, for sure. A basket of peaches was calling her from one of the fruit stands; but as she reached for the basket, out of the corner of her eye, she saw him. She was sure it was the same guy. Not too many people in Charleston looked like that. The sunglasses, the long blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail, the grey suit in the middle of August on a Saturday. Her hands shook, knocking some of the peaches out of the basket. She quickly ducked under the table to gather them up from the ground, muttering an apology to the stand’s owner, and promising to buy the basket. Another hand touched hers while she was picking up the wayward peaches; she flinched and came face-to-face with the man under the table of the stand. “Who are you?” she hissed. He didn’t answer, only picked up the peach, put it in the basket, and wandered off to another stand, dusting off his pants. You see, Taylor Paine had been chased down by guys like this for nearly a year, now. She was getting really sick of it, too. It was always the same type. Silent men in suits and sunglasses. Tailing her, sometimes undetectable until they pounced, others were more obvious tails like this guy. She should have been used to it, but it still scared her. There was never any telling of how dangerous these guys were, what they could do. She just kept on switching cities, switching names. She was called Riley Henderson in San Francisco, Elliot Dorian in Boston, and Logan Nyland here in Charleston. But somehow, they always found her. Found her, but never got her. Fuck. She really liked Charleston, too. She paid for her peaches and made her way back into the crowd, letting the swarm of tourists drag her. Eventually, she was walking down King Street, tourists behind her and in front of her. As she passed between two buildings, someone grabbed her, pulling her into the alleyway. She thrashed, but he held fast. That damn bastard. She braced herself and threw him off of her with a koshi nage and made a run for it. And that’s when she found herself in the millionth chase that year, running down Calhoun Street, people not taking notice. Taylor took a seat in the room she found herself in, gulping in air. She didn’t understand why so many people wanted to take her. All she knew was that she had an ability. An ability to bend space to her liking. It wasn’t anything she ever did out in the open. It made traveling a hell of a lot easier. And it made ditching cronies like that blonde suit simpler.