Dust rained down on the beds. Janis opened her eyes, focusing on the ceiling. She could hear light footsteps. Softly, as to not wake the others, she slid off the bed, putting on a nearby t-shirt and jeans. Slipping into her trainers, she crept up the stairs to the roof. The door creaked as she opened it, and she peered outside. The sound of combat faded in the distance, flashes occurring every so often, lighting the dark sky. Looking around, she stepped out onto the empty roof, a breeze chilling her. She shivered, and turned around. Blinking, she noticed a shallow crater, steaming slightly, directly above where their room was. Evidently this was the cause, but looking back at the battle in the distance, she wondered what on earth could have caused it. They were too far for it to be a weapon, plus it would’ve done more damage. Gingerly she touched the ground, and quickly pulled her hand back, cursing and sucking her finger. The surface was steaming. Backing away, she crept back down the stairs, undressed and went back to sleep. They’d investigate in the morning, hopefully when it had cooled down.


Alice peered around the generator. The girl had gone, and she sighed. Sneaking along the edge of the roof she continued heading towards the next building. This time, there was a cable running across the gap, providing an easier path. She was still tired from leaping the last gap, and experimentally pulled on the cable. It didn’t stretch, which was a good sign, and felt secure enough. Steadily she held on and worked her way along. The cable jumped around a lot, which was unnerving, although it didn’t appear likely to come loose, and she was almost across anyway. It didn’t take long to cross the gap, although Alice was gasping for breath by the end of it. Leaning against a vent, she breathed heavily, and then winced as she opened and closed her hands.

“I might as well have jumped. I’d be in better shape than this” she sighed, clutching at her chest. Looking up, she slowly made her way towards the next roof. Peering over the edge, she could see rubble down below, although as she followed the street down she realised it lead straight to a nest of tents, just visible in the distance. Smirking, Alice stretched, and then made for the staircase. Quietly she opened the door, careful not to alert anyone of her presence. The room was apparently empty, although Alice was still careful to keep to the shadows, working her way around the room the next flight of stairs at the far end. Creeping down the metal steps, she checked the next room. Also empty, and the stairs were again at the far end. She sighed.


“It’s as if someone deliberately designed this building to get me caught” she muttered, before again moving on. The next staircase was damaged; the middle section was missing. Lightly, she dropped down to the floor below, a small cloud of dust floating up as she landed. In rehearsed fashion, she rolled into the corner and drew her knife in case anyone had spotted her. Nothing moved, except for Alice’s chest heaving, her heart beating quickly. Eventually she lowered the knife and continued along the walls. Bedrolls in the centre of the room told her that someone had been using this building recently, and the stair door was slightly ajar. Sneaking over to it, she peered through the window. No one was visible on the other side, but she was careful to open the door as silently as possible, creep through, and close it silently.


The lights were on here, so it seemed someone had been here recently. To be safe, she descended the stairs and checked the door. There was no sound coming from the other side, but the lights were on, and checking the glass she could see a figure stood still, leaning on the window sill. As quietly as possible, she readied her knife and opened the door. Checking around, the only other person in the room was the figure at the window. Slowly she crept towards it, her knife ready. The figure didn’t move, and as she got closer she could make more details. It was wearing a dark red robe, and its bulky figure told her it was a man. The hood was up, concealing their head.


Alice reached the man, who had not yet moved at all, and was about to raise her knife to kill him when she spotted something in his hands. It was a pistol, looked to be a Colt. Following the limp arm down to the ground, she could see the blood pool on the floor, and gingerly reached up and pulled his head back. His face was pale, and he was obviously dead. On closer inspection Alice could see a blood soaked patch on his chest, right where his heart is. Sighing, she replaced the hood and reached down, yanking the pistol from his grip. She twirled it experimentally, and holstered it. Looking around she spotted a metal box in the corner of the room, partially hidden behind a bookcase. Quickly she snuck towards it and tried the lid. It opened first time, and inside it were several clips, all full, and a suppressor.


“Wow that was remarkably simple. I was expecting some sort of hidden lock” she muttered, before reaching into her holster. Retrieving the gun, she placed the suppressor on the end and checked the clip sizes. All fit well, and she placed them in her pack before continuing on. The next staircase… well peering down, Alice could see rubble, and a large hole in the wall. The staircase was nowhere to be seen, and neither were the next 4 floors. Even with her training, she knew she couldn’t survive this drop. Instead she turned her attention to the hole. A cable was swinging past it, and Alice hoped it would reach down to ground level, or at least far enough down for her to survive. Carefully, she crouched and hopped down, landing on a small ledge; what little remained of the staircase. Bending down, she crept through and checked the cable. It seemed secure, and looking down she could see it reached down to almost ground level. Above her she could see it was attached to the wall, so it was probably a communications cable of some kind.


“Now… how am I supposed to get down there…” Alice thought aloud, before coming up with an idea. She disappeared back into the building for several minutes, before reappearing again, undershirt in her hand.


“It’s cold out here…” she grumbled while she tore the shirt into strips of fabric. Winding them around her palms, she gripped the cable, held her breath and stepped into space.

The End

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