Even before Sophie reached the curb, the taxi took off. She'd paid the cab driver twice the fare so he'd wait for her, and she was momentarily flustered. She'd have to call for another cab. And so few cabs traveled into Low-town. Virtually none came after dark-which's when the zombies came out.
She hopped up on the curb, and looked around her. Low-town Vancouver was a slum. Most of the buildings were burnt out shells or abandoned storefronts, reinforced to support the upper layers, and the network of walkways and bridges that spanned across the city.
Those that actually lived in Low-town were Zombies, Touchers, or Victims with a capital V. Sophie didn't want to stay there a minute longer than she had to. But, she had traveled across town to get the story that would make her career. She'd found Dr Methen
Stopping momentarily at the front door of The Oppenheimer, she checked her appearance. Her red hair was pulled back into a conservative bun, so tight that not a single strand fell beyond the basic-black veil. She was dressed a little too conservatively, in basic black, her skirt well below the regulation hemline, and her cleavage pressed to her body tightly.
Regulations might force her to wear gender-specific clothing, but she looked boyish on purpose. If the Touchers didn't see you as anything special, then they didn't reach out to you. And in Low-town, there were more than enough gender-benders that few enough would scope her out. She hoped.
Once inside the hotel foyer, She was surprised to see the apartment lobby in relatively good condition. Except for the occasional bullet-hole or graffiti mark that had been diligently washed away, Sophie could almost visualize the grandeur it held when her mother had danced there.
The elevator was broken; Sophie took the stairs, grimacing as the metal pins in her ankle ground together. The lights were out in teh stairwell and the third-floor the hallway as well, but Sophie found her way to the proper apartment.
She rapped sharply on the door, twice, and waited, fixing her hair, and arranging her hood to reveal her eyes through her veil. The voice that called through the door was thick and gravelly. "Go away! I have a gun."
Sophie called out. "Dr. Methen. I'm Sophie Coran. I got your letter."
The bolts on three separate locks ka-chunked out of their sockets. The door opened a crack, and a long, unveiled face came into view. He had the look of a slightly animated cadaver, pale, pale skin, deeply lined. Tightly pursed lips, severe.
"The reporter?" His voice was incredulous. Sophie held up his letter, so he could see his handwriting.