Aja ran down the main street, dodging past the people who were crushed together in the crowd.
'Stop her!' She didn't look behind her because she already knew who was coming after her. Assaulting a shop keeper because he had thought she was trying to steal something didn't go down well with the police. But in Aja's mind it was the shop keeper who should be arrested for grabbing her first.
A wagon pulled out a little way in front of her but she didn't change her path. Grabbing the hem of her long ragged dress Aja took a running jump onto the wagon, pushing off from the strong wooden surface and landing hard on the stone cobbles.
Unfortunately the wagon didn't slow the police down either and they were still hot on her heels, whistles blaring. Seeing a small opening to an alleyway up ahead she swerved right and ran out of sight.
She leant against the damp wall, taking deep breaths to calm her beating heart. It was just a shame she hadn't managed to escape with the loaf of bread she'd had her eye on. She would have to try and find something else to eat now.
She almost jumped out of her skin when she heard footsteps approaching down the alleyway and held her breath. They had found her. A firm hand grabbed her arm and yanked her out of her corner.
'Thought you could hide from us?' The policeman grinned wickedly at her. 'It's a shame you'll be going to prison, your pretty face will be ruined.' As he let out a dirty laugh Aya brought her knee up hard and fast.
The police officer crumpled up in a ball, his face screwed up with pain. 'That'll teach you to mess with me.' Aya turned round and was confronted by another two police officers.
'You know assaulting a police officer is a criminal offence I hope.' These ones looked serious and Aya thought she should try a different approach.
'Y'know what I didn't sir. How nice of you to let me know that so next time I beat up an officer, such as your good self, I'll know I was doing wrong.'
'Alright not so much cheek. You're coming with us.' Aya went with them willingly to the entrance to the alley and then she escaped their grip broke into a run. Her mind told her to go back out into the crush of people but her legs told her otherwise, leading her back into the alley which she knew led to a dead end.
'Hey! Grab her!' She ran as fast as she can until she reached the end of the alley and hit a brick wall. The other policeman had recovered now so she was faced with three opponents. 'You aren't the brains in your family are you?' One of them teased as they closed in.
Aja thought this was it. She'd lived a long life for someone who'd grown up on the streets and nineteen wasn't a bad age to die. She closed her eyes and got ready for the first blow but what hit her first wasn't what she expected. She was knocked back against the wall as the image of a pair of large wooden gates flashed through her mind. The place felt familiar even though she had never seen it before.
The next thing she knew she was falling backwards through the brick wall and she hit the ground.
'Ow!' So I am alive, she thought. If I was dead then it wouldn't hurt this much. There was a thud like the sound of doors closing and as Aja opened her eyes a face appeared in front of her.
'Are you OK Aja?'