Alice woke in a sticky sweat to the sound of Cat swearing at his computer. The lights were completely off in the apartment and the fans had stopped blowing. Counting tonight, this would have been the third power loss this week. She shuffled into the kitchen, peering into the fridge. It was beginning to give off slightly warm air. Sighing, she tested her theory by smelling the wrapped food on the top shelf. Her lip curled.
“Oh man, the rest of this stuff isn’t going to last long,” She said, looking sardonically at the remaining contents of the fridge: two bottles of half-empty oyster sauce. When she turned to toss the food, she found Cat leaning around the corner.
“Jesus,” she jumped.
“Grab yer coat, we’re going out.”
“Pff, out where? I thought water levels in our sector were high.”
“We’ll make due and take the higher gangplanks. Aren’t you even the slightest bit bored?”
“Of course I’m bored, I’m just wondering if it’s safe for us wander around with Kadwjick’s guys still out there,” Alice said, scanning the cabinets for something to eat, “And it’s also raining like crazy again.”
“Exactly,” Cat said with his thin smirk, “Keep your hood up and blend in. Not a soul’s going to be checking under every single one.” He tossed her a rain coat and then toed into his shoes.
Alice considered the rain coat for a moment before she was overcome with the nagging itch to get outside.
She could feel it nipping at her heels. “All right,” she said, pulling on the coat, “Where are we going?”
“We need a generator,” Cat shouldered two sets of skinny black cording, motioning with his hand for her to follow.
“Where are we going to get a generator at two in the morning?”
“I’ve made arrangements,” he said vaguely.
They quietly unlocked the row of bolts on the front door, slipping into the mildew-infested hall. Here, bags of trash collected along the corners and to the sides of the other apartment doors. A pile of small, plastic children’s chairs sat blocking a collapsed window. She followed closely behind as Cat ducked into a rusted over door marked ’emergency exit.’
The door groaned shut behind them, reverberating into the wet stairwell. When her ears stopped ringing, Alice noticed that it sounded like the inside of a small waterfall. Once she peeked her head over the railing, she could see water coming down from the broken skylight above, descending into the murky darkness below. She could see this thanks to the thoughtfully but haphazardly placed string lights someone had hung across the gaps.
Cat bounded up the steps, heading up. She could feel the spray of rain against her face, and the force of the wind coming from above. She remembered these with faint dread. As they neared the landing, her dread began to climb. The landing on the fortieth floor opened into a windy maw of cityscape. They had replaced the glass in favor of stretching a bridge from their building to the next building forty feet away. Constructed with naked-looking metal girders and wet from the rain–the gangplank was made up of some of her worst nightmares. The wind whipped at their hair, roaring under their hoods as they approached. Cat uncoiled the harnesses wound around his shoulder and handed one to her. It slipped around his waist like a belt and clipped into a bolt of steel that ran the length of the bridge.
Alice looked down between the gap, into the mist of the towering, seemingly rootless skyscrapers. Clipping on her belt, she warily eyed both the cord and the rusting metal bolt. Cat turned to her before stepping across the bridge.
“Listen before we go anywhere. Stay close and keep yer mouth shut. Remember to square your shoulders, draw yourself up all the way. Every bloc is different, all the rules are different. Don’t draw attention to yourself by looking spooked.”