The Run - Part 1

A coppery stench filled the air, intermingling with the smell of smoke. Singed silicon. The crackle of electricity firing off into sparks as circuits fused or were broken, unable to connect. The sound of static and screeching tires. The shaggy, muck-encrusted legs of a stray dog running into the alleyway six feet three and one half inches from Kris’s face. Scratch of the pebbly sandpaper surface of sidewalk on his cheek. A ringing in his ears that didn’t quite drown out the world. Brick building. Indecipherable gang graffiti. No sirens.

It took him 3.6 seconds to snap into something resembling full consciousness after his connection to the GlobalNet had been severed. It was another 1.2 seconds before he realized what had happened. The street term was a shambles, holes in the screen and power supply. The smart card had ejected, hopefully with money on it. He reached up for the cord connecting him to the term, missing once before catching hold. One hard yank freed the connection with a small pop, another electric jolt to the cortex. “I got som’in’, don’t know how much. ‘mon Krog, let’s split!” he yelled, barely coherent. His fingers clasped the card, pulling it free. He’d scored.

Another crack crack sound and a spark leapt from the side of the term towards his face. A white-hot tracer of shrapnel scratched his cheek. A second went by before he realized what it was. A bullet had skittered off the machine. Someone was firing at him! “Kroger!” he yelled, looking around as he ducked behind the term’s meager cover. A pair of Nicron shoes lay attached to a twitching pair of legs that led off to the other side of the term.

Kroger had loved those shoes. Some 50-year old waitress in Idaho had lost a week’s worth of pay for those sneakers. Now their white leather surface was stained with blood and dirt, and the feet seemed ready to flop out of them. Twitching. Slower now. Another bullet skipped off the pavement next to the shoes. He could use those shoes. Time to run. Run.

“Oh God!” was all he could choke out of his mouth, tears already streaming down his cheeks. The dog had the right idea. Kris followed his lead, dashing into the alleyway as another series of shots rang off the term behind him.