A girl, being chased down, is at the end of the line. But there is some hope in a diner.
Songbirds in Snow
The seat was uncomfortable, metal and angular. I wanted to leave, but I had nowhere to go. It was snowing outside — the worst blizzard in years. It was, at least, warm here, in this chair. But I couldn't stay much longer, I only had enough money for one more cup of coffee. Then I would have to leave. Into the cold, where I would have no protection left. I might die tonight, if I can't find anyone to give me, a girl in the snow, shelter.
There is nothing more hopeless than realizing that you might not survive the night. If the cold didn't kill me tonight, the hired guns would kill me the next day. I had no way out, it was just a run for my life against an enemy far faster than me. I am living on borrowed time, every movement buying me another week before I had to move again. It was a game of chess where I began with a pawn and the king. Still, I continued running.
The waitress walks up to ask if I am finished. I order another cup of coffee, trying to stay for as long as I could in the comforting warmth. I am not from here, I am not adapted to the cold. I wouldn't last long if I couldn't reach some shelter. I would simply freeze and die. Then, at least, I would escape. They would never be able to kill me that way. Maybe I should simply lie down in the snow and die. Then, at least, it wouldn't be them.
I can't afford motels, and even if I could I would only be found quicker. I left behind half a dozen names and all of my money, simply trying to escape. Trying to escape them. Trying to take a step off the chess board. But it wasn't working, and I was out of funds and out of plans. Eventually, they would find me even here, in the middle of this metropolis. I left no trail that I know of, left no clues, but they would find me nonetheless. Maybe it would be tomorrow.
The new cup of coffee arrives.
And to think, all of this originated from false blame and blind vengeance. I might have been able to prove that if I hadn't run and held my ground. But I didn't. And now I had to deal with the hunters, tracking me down for reasons that did not exist. I didn't know what Robin was going to do. I thought I could trust her. She told me that she loved me. I don't know if that was true, but it wasn't her only goal. I remember the nights we stayed together, in that Vegas hotel.
But I also remember what her intentions were. Get close to me, get close to my boss. When we were alone — just me and Robin and the boss — she killed him. Three shots. Two guards came in, bursting through the oak doors. There were four more shots, all from Robin. She killed them, men who I considered to be friends. I don't remember what I thought right then, but I know I was confused. She told me to leave, and I did in tears. Later that night, our hotel room was attacked. I wasn't there, but Robin was. I don't know if she was able to escape.
The woman who took over — the boss's wife — was after me. She thought I pulled the trigger, or at least allowed Robin to. I don't think it mattered. I was either the killer, or the killer's lover. So, she pursued me relentlessly. I came close several times to being caught, but I never was. But, my time was running out. Each time I fled, there was less and less time before I had to flee again. In my last location, I could only stay a few days. It wouldn't be long before it was daily. And then, shortly after that, I would have nowhere else to run. I was dead, and I knew it.
The cup of coffee is empty. The waitress came by again, and asks if I am finished. I look outside, it looks no more hospitable than it had been minutes ago. Now I would have to go into the cold. I told the waitress I was finished, still staring into the cold night, and put the last of my money on the table. Nine dollars, sixty-eight cents. Now I was, truly, broke.
Robin betrayed me — she probably never loved me at all. My boss was dead. My friends — those men in the organization — were against me. I was alone. I held back tears, putting my face into my hands. A deep breath, and I looked up to the table. There was a sugar packet in front of me. On it were three lines:
It was written in scribbled handwriting, rushed, as if written in seconds. I pick it up and check the back. It was blank, aside from the contents. Panicked, I try to keep my composure as I look around to see who is here. A few customers, and the waitress. I hadn't looked at her — she was different from the one that had been here when I arrived. I was too uncaring to notice her face. But now I see the back of her head. She has red hair — striking, but natural looking. It is the same color as Robin's.
Is it possible? I'm not sure how much time I have. She turns around. It looks strikingly similar to her. I couldn't tell. She locks eyes with me, green eyes that tell me the answer. Then she motions, the veins in her neck straining with urgency, toward the door. She wants me to leave. The organization must be very near. And I did, into the cold. Another night on the move.