it begins with an ending

When the lights came on, they all ran. Two groups down two slightly different routes, so they’d still be in earshot of each other but the pigs would have to pick who to follow – standard procedure. Vitch was on point, and veered to the right, down an alley, boots skidding on trash and a dusting of snow, up and over a dumpster at the far end and into the next block. He glanced over his shoulder as he hit the ground. Poison and Delta were right behind him, both girls dropping over the dumpster together. No lights flashed around the corner after them in the moment he kept looking before taking off again – the milpols must’ve taken the other bait. To the end of the block and right down the next one, Freak flapping into sight out of the second route like a scarecrow in a hurry, and suddenly something changed.

On the edge of Vitch’s senses, a spot of warmth suddenly disappeared, as sudden and devastating as someone blowing out the only candle in a dark room.

He wheeled instantly, almost smashing into Freak in his rush to backtrack. The gangly youth stopped his own rush and half-turned, confused. Poison and Delta were yelling, and Vitch ignored them – until he did smash into Dog, who grabbed him like the ball in a footbase game and kept running.

Vitch struggled, kicking and shouting, and succeeded only in slowing Dog down. “Keep going, you dumbshit!” Dog growled, forcing Vitch to turn around. “You know the fucking plan!”

Sid!” Vitch tried to turn around again, but Dog had him overpowered and outweighed. “The fuck did they do to Sid? They got Sid!” There was a hysterical edge in his voice. With the scene he was making the cops could catch up to them at any second, but he didn’t care. Dog, however, did.

“Freak! Help me grab him!”

Freak loped over and grabbed one of Vitch’s arms. Between the two of them they managed to manhandle him down the street at an almost reasonable pace, the smaller boy fighting and shouting the whole way. It only took a few blocks to clear the outer zone, reaching the point where the pigs wouldn’t bother chasing them any further. Delta and Poison were already there, waiting at the spot they’d agreed on earlier. Delta’s hands were over her face, the pink-tinged fringe of her chelsea caught between her fingers as she stared through them at the alley. When the boys emerged from it she barely relaxed. Poison, solid and disapproving, didn’t seem any more relieved to see them.

“Vitch, you fucking retard,” she snapped.

“I can’t – you can’t – we can’t just – they got Sid,” Vitch repeated, angry and incredulous and horrified and only saved from speaking in a childish wail by being out of breath.

“Maybe – maybe he just tripped, and – ” Delta was still staring down the alley.

“He’s gone,” Vitch said, and this time it was a wail.

Poison waved Freak toward Delta and took over the arm he’d been pulling on, tugging Vitch sharply down the road toward home. No one said another word.

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