Greys 10-I

HANNAH

You Had All The Fun

Breathe in, and out.

In…

And out…

In.

Out.

In.

Out, and…

Go.

I opened my eyes, blinked once, and stepped off the edge of the roof.

The air rushed past my ears as I fell, tugging on my braid where it trailed behind. It wasn’t a long fall, a few seconds, and the concrete rushed up to meet me too quickly for my liking. As it neared, I dropped almost all of my mass, slowing down drastically, and landed on the tarmac light as a feather. These powers were so intuitive; I'd only had them for a few days and already it felt comfortably simple doing stuff like that. I still had to concentrate for certain aspects like the initial split or switching perspective, but the mass-shifting was coming very naturally.

Upon reflection, I'd realized I'd hit the metaphorical jackpot when it came to my powers. I mean, any one of them on their own, invisibility, density manipulation or duplication, would’ve been pretty nothing to sneeze at on their own, and I had all three! I'd checked with Sabi, and the mass-shifting was pretty much an A-class power on its own. Not to get egotistical, but that meant I was kind of a big deal. Which was exciting, but also scary. I’d dived in head-first into this world, and while I'd managed alright, I'd seen quite clearly how many ways it could’ve gone bad. Still, I was pushing forward, because - aw jeez, it sounds silly when I say it, but – justice needed to be served. Thus, here I was, walking towards the Disciple lair I'd learned about yesterday. I didn’t know exactly what I expected to find, but it was better than doing nothing, right? And, more and more, I was getting the impression it was definitely better than expecting the Tower to handle it.

It was a run-down old apartment block, significantly further from the warehouse avenue than the Disciple had implied it was. His directions hadn’t been the most specific, and I'd been worried I'd have trouble finding it, but it turned out to be unfounded. Gang signs littered the walls of the building and those around it, jagged symbols in washed-out pastel colors. Trash littered the curb and the corners, and there were more broken windows than not. This was definitely the place.

I approached slowly, peering through the windows. The complex seemed abandoned, but you never knew; I got the impression it had looked like this even when populated. Gangs, you know? The fact that the door hung loosely from its hinges lent credence to my notion.

Once I stepped inside, I found more of the same, if slightly more clean. Every wall that could be knocked down, and some that looked they really shouldn’t have been, had been cleared out, leaving a fairly open floor plan. Dirty couches and old boxes formed most of the, I hesitate to call it furniture, that filled the space. A broken flatscreen lay on its back near some beanbags that had torn open and spilled their contents onto the ground. The whole place smelled like alcohol and sweat, and I wrinkled my nose in disgust.

It was definitely abandoned, and in a haste: chairs and tables had been overturned, scattered pieces of paper covering the ground, shattered beer bottles strewn about around stains in the musty carpeting. That explained half the smell; it worried me that even after being abandoned it still held the body odor. I didn’t want to think about the amount of sweat that was probably required for that.

“Soooooooooo,” I thought to myself. “Where do we start?”

Not sure, I admitted. I was hoping there’d be someone here.

“And when you assume, you make an-”

I didn’t say assume.

“Pretty sure you did.”

No, I absolutely did not.

“Suuuuuure you didn’t, Wisp.

One, shut up. Two, shut up. Three, shut up.

“Fine. Try going upstairs, see what else there is in here. This can’t be it.”

Good idea. I began walking towards the stairs at the back of the room, stepping gingerly over the broken glass. There was a vomit stain on the stairs, because of course there was.

Second floor was more of the same, but with a tableau that strongly suggested someone being thrown out a window. Seems the… I really needed a name for them. Green Cloak and her two thugs had apparently pulled no punches. Halfway up to the third floor, I froze. There were rustling noises coming from above, and some form of modulating noise. Jackpot. I crouched low and crept up the rest of the stairs, slow and quiet. 

As I approached the landing, the noise resolved itself into a woman’s voice. And it was singing. Really well, actually.

“…I'm afraid these don't grow on trees, you’ve got to pick a pocket or two,” they were bouncing along, “you’ve got to pick a pocket or two, boys, you've got to pick a pocket-” it cut off. “Although,” the voice said normally, “I suppose it isn’t really accurate, is it? This is basically only tangential to pick-pocketing. Maybe…” there was a sound of fingers clicking, “got it!” Then, singing again, “Gotta keep- one jump, ahead of the bread line! One swing, ahead of the sword! I steal, only what I can't afford! (But that's everything!)”

The third floor was just as trashed as the other two, but it still had all its walls. It also had desks, the contents of which covered the floor. It also had a large room with a map of the city on the wall, half torn to shreds. Rifling through the papers was the singing woman.

Girl, I mentally corrected. That was definitely a girl, probably around my age. She had heavily tanned skin, sorta leathery-looking, and black hair bound in a long braid reaching down to her waist. She was dressed in street clothes, jeans and one of those jackets with all the patches, and wore a pair of large mirrored sunglasses over her eyes. She was digging through the papers and detached drawers on the ground, tucking pieces of paper and pens and other trinkets into her jacket, still singing that song all the while. It sounded vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it.

Her voice descended into vaguely tuneless humming as she stood, spinning around. I ducked back behind the wall, but she didn’t seem to see me. After a second, I heard a muffled exclamation of ‘aha!’, and the sound of footsteps. Given that they were moving away from me, I took a chance and peered back out.

She was pulling a safe out from underneath an overturned desk with exaggerated groans of effort. With a grunt, she let go of it and flopped backwards down onto her backside. Scooching up to the large black box, she stuck her hand out, seemingly concentrating. For a second, nothing happened, but then a shimmer appeared in the air before collecting itself into what looked like a mirror. She breathed a sigh of satisfaction, then moved her hand forward into the mirror, where it disappeared. She moved her arm around for a few seconds, as if rifling, then made a hooting noise and pulled her arm back out, the hand reappearing as it moved away from the mirror. Clutched in her fingers were rolls of bills. “Aww yes,” she said, clutching them close to her chest before tucking them away, “momma’s eating meat tonight.” She repeated the process another time, coming back with more money, and she whistled cheerily as she stowed it.

I was conflicted. On one hand, she was very obviously a thief, and that was the kind of thing heroes stopped, right? On the other, it wasn’t really relevant to what I was trying to do, and she might have info. Plus, she was stealing from other bad guys, which is not as bad? I think?

I settled for talking. No harm in trying, right?

I went to step out, but I was beaten to the punch. On the opposite side of the room, a man had appeared. Dressed in rags, head shaved with a veritable rainbow of tattoos etched along his scalp, he was glaring directly at the girl, fists clenched and glowing slightly.


Aw nuts.