She cautiously rose to her feet and slipped silently to the doorway of the stall. She tensed, balancing on the balls of her feet, ready to run if she must, and peeked around the corner. The man was at the far end of the aisle, shuffling along with his head bent forward to peer into each corner. She stared at his back for a moment so she would recognize him at a glance later. Stooped shoulders in a cheap leather jacket.

His back was turned. Her eyes stayed fixed on him as she stepped out and moved away. He turned the corner into the next aisle, vanishing from sight. She spun and sprinted for the door.

She knew her way through the labyrinth of outdated sweaters and glass cabinets of lock-less keys. Her sneakers seemed to brush across the floor as she flew through the building.

Shortcut through a stall that had a second entrance. She swung around another corner at full speed. WHAM. She hit the floor, breath escaping in a rush. She gasped for air. Pages fluttered as books flew everywhere.

The person who had been holding the books slowly got to his feet. "Ow..." He moaned. "My books!"

Plym started breathing again as he picked up a book. The cover was ripped halfway off. Pounding boots echoed towards them, closer and closer. She jumped to her feet and took off again, the door within sight. 

"Hey!" The boy yelled after her. "You have to pay fo-" WHAM. The boots stopped pounding. "Ow!" She heard the two men shouting at each other as she pushed the door open and darted out into the cool air.

She lived five minutes away and had walked to the store. She headed down the sidewalk in the opposite direction. If he had followed her here, he had followed her from home. She walked for about ten minutes, cars rushing past and the breeze turning her bare arms to ice.

When she came to a small, dingy strip mall, she went straight to the small Chinese buffet and found a table near the back. The smell of stale rice and wilted broccoli permeated the warm air and the table was sticky. She wouldn't go home just yet. Maybe he would give up on finding her.

The End

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