wormwood, pt. 22

Shouts and shots followed them as they fled, but they had a head start before anyone noticed them and they knew the streets here. This was home. They ducked into an alley and hid there for a moment--the cops had already called in a search team, but at least they wouldn't have a very good idea where to start when they did.

Then a door in the alley opened and someone said, "In here, quick."

There wasn't really time to make a decision. Rosalind looked at Nicole, who nodded, and they ran into the open door. A woman led them up a few flights of stairs to a large cluttered room with a small section lit by candles--a few couches and a workbench, occupied by a handful of other people.

The woman said, "We saw you turn in here. Thought you could use a place to stay."

"You saw us?"

"Yeah, we were right in the window. No one ever looks up. We're keeping an eye out for survivors."

Nicole smirked. "Survivors. Fuck. I guess that's what we are now, isn't it? We don't live here anymore. Now we just survive."

Rosalind picked out a spot against the wall and sat down. "We can't stay for long, but if there's anything we can do to help, let us know. I don't know if you guys are trying to do anything here or if you're just--"

"Surviving?" The woman shook her head. "We're planning right now. I always said I wanted to do more than just survive. Unfortunately you can't do much with it this dark. We had to steal these candles, even. We'd just waste batteries otherwise."

"Well, let us know."

"I will, thank you. I don't know how long you girls are staying, but you're safe here as long as you do. Like I said. No one looks up."

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