Fingers of sunlight reached across the dawn sky, grasping. The rain clouds broke them at the knuckles. The governor of Rust watched this happen through the thick glass windows of his penthouse office. He turned from the view as a hard rain began pelting the city.
“Sir, did you hear what I said?” the Governor’s secretary, Dierk Mason, stepped back cautiously as the governor walked away from the window. The governor didn’t answer, but walked to his desk and sat down. “Governor Harmon—”
Calvin Harmon grabbed a hand held tab on his desk and threw it, motions furious. It smacked against a wall, screen shattering. Dierk hunched his shoulders and stared at the broken tech.
“I want whoever was in charge of security last night to be roasted on a spit,” Harmon said. He smoothed the front of his suit and ran a hand through his black hair. Dierk quickly tapped the note into the screen of his tab. “I’ll have the haunch with a salad.”
“Yes, sir,” said Dierk.
“Who is in the field now?”
“Pillar is out with a team, but they’ve already had one fatal encounter leaving three somatics dead.”
“Recall them,” the governor said, the words spitting. After a moment’s thought, he decided he didn’t need more meat for dinner. “We need to come at this from a different angle.”
“He knows all our people, sir,” said Dierk.
The governor stood and walked back to the window. He stared out at the rusted, drowning city. “Go through the contractor lists. Find me someone capable.”
Dierk nodded and turned to leave the grand office. “Mason,” the governor said, stopping him.
“Don’t tell them about the deaths.”
The rain sloughed off the roof in a waterfall, creating a curtain between him and the rest of the world. He liked it, snuggled into the damp and scrubbed the blood and ash off his hands with the wet air. A piece of rusted metal protected him from the heaviest of the rain, but random drips seeped through the cracks and steamed as they hit his crouched body. He stopped scrubbing his hands and drew his long legs up to his chest, wrapped thin arms around them. He shivered and closed his eyes against his discomfort.
But closing his eyes only brought memories, flashes of violence and the smell of charred flesh. Even the rain couldn’t wash that smell away. He knew if he got out of the city, he’d be free. They would not find him in the Wilds. He didn’t think about whether he could survive. Anywhere had to be better than the bowels of the Governor’s Tower, in those metal and plastic intestines.
He shivered again. His fingers and toes stung from the cold damp. With a grimace, he held out his hand. In his mind, he reached for the strings, the warm threads. He plucked them just so and breathed into his palm. A fire grew there and hovered just above his skin. He felt himself grow weaker, but as he drew the small ball of fire close to his torso he felt comforted, warmed.
Jun held the fire near his heart and dozed. He waited for the gray skies to turn black again.
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