Djarina was running, running, running. Her feet were pounding the smooth cobblestones below her, her heart was beating a frantic rhythm and her eyes were desperately flicking around, searching for somewhere to turn, a way to escape.
She could hear them behind her, there were two of them. They were yelling.
"Hey! Stop! Now! Get back here! Stupid little fool!"
She could hear their panting, gasping breaths as their lungs tried to fulfill their bodies demands for oxygen. They weren't used to working, to putting in an effort. She didn't have time to spare them a glance, but she remembered... One of them was tall and lanky with a skinny frame and a sparse beard, the other was short and plump and clean shaven. They made a cartoon of a couple, two Enforcers making fools of themselves. "Enforcers of Peace" they were called, and it was accurate if you meant they guarded the security of the Nobles and their social standing, while making sure the Commoners didn't get any upstart ideas. For most people they were interfering, ignorant men with nothing better to do.
The streets were pretty quiet- most Commoners were locked away in their crumbling homes by this time at night. If they weren't then they were Lawbreakers like her, out to have fun, or members of gangs doing their jobs. Or Nobles, socializing and going to glittering balls and parties, while people starved. This was a residential area that they were entering, but there was still a huge amount of filthy litter scattered on the street and piles of it all around the tall apartment blocks. The mess was illuminated by the glowing streetlights, cheap orbs of Magicians Glow. They cast steady, pale circles on the ground.
Djarina spotted it then, the allyway she was searching for. She didn't turn to see how close they were to her, but she could hear the flapping of their cloaks.
She took a sharp turn to the right, ran to the dead end and realized that "Oh no!", the big bins were gone. There were no lights down here so she tried to climb the high wall in the darkness, jumping up to grab the top, scrabbling for a hold. There were cracks in the wall, and she desperately kicked off her big boots to fit her feet into them. They were turning into the ally now. Quickly, she pulled herself up, up and over.
On the other side the bin was still there, to her great relief. She hopped down and jogged along, keeping to the shadows. She heard them roar in rage, and she detected the undertones of fear in their voices.
"Get back here! You are in huge trouble missy, come back! We'll catch you!"
She could sense the sheen of sweat on her face, and was glad the Enforcers had been low class. If they had possessed any distance weapons then she would have been in real trouble.
Halting outside a closed newsagents, she sat on the step and took it out of her pocket... A packet of 4 MindLines, small red jewels which could be pressed to your head and used to communicate telepathically. She had stolen them, and it was a big deal. They were elite even among the elite. It would be worth it though, she could sell them and get supplies for a half a year- maybe even a full one- to feed her family.
She needed new shoes anyway, she thought, as she looked regretfully at her stripy socks and shoe-less feet.