It had taken him forever to lose the cops.
He ran through the platform crowd as discreetly as he could manage. He tried to keep himself hunched over a bit and muttered half hearted 'excuse me's as he went. It may have just been his imagination, but people were usually more inclined to let him brush by if he was polite about it. It seemed to be working. He was already making good headway through the crowd when the light rail arrived. His pursuers were bogged down by the surge of people just getting off the rail.
He grinned and allowed himself to be swept into a carriage. He didn't worry about not having a pass: the VTA were surprisingly apathetic when it came to actually checking fare on light rail passengers.
Luck was with him; there was an empty spot near the back, right up against the corner. He sat down and, as casually as he could and took off his jacket. He held it down, hopefully out of sight of the security cameras on the ceiling, and flipped it inside out so the plaid was on the inside and the brown was on the out. When he was sure nobody was looking (or at least cared what he was doing), he took off his baseball cap and tossed it onto the floor beneath the seat in front of him. He wouldn't be needing it anymore. Lastly, he pulled out a bottle of hair gel he'd stolen earlier that morning and tousled his hair into haphazard spikes.
Nobody on board even looked his way. They were too busy checking their cell phones.
A small giggle escaped him. Right, he thought. Silly of me to worry.
A moment later, the rail pulled to a gentle stop.
Well, it was as good as it was going to get.
He got off at the next stop, making sure to keep his head down. He brought out his cell phone and pretended to look busy, hopefully helping him blend in with the crowd. Nobody had to know it'd been dead for almost a month.
He risked looking around, once.
There were a few cops –God, were these guys psychic or something? How fast were they?- but nobody was looking at him.
The exit was just up ahead. Just a few feet more. . .
"Sir," said an authoritative voice from behind. "Sir, may I speak to you for a moment?"
He didn't bother answering. He ran.
It didn't last long. He knew the area like the back of his hand, He flitted in and out of alleys, sometimes going down one, then hopping through an open window and leaving by the front door. He cut through buildings and yards with ease, long since used to climbing, jumping, and thinking on his feet. You had to be quick if you played the Game, and he'd been playing for a long time. He ran them through every loop he could think of. At one point he paid some little kid to go up and distract them.
Even half a block away, he could hear her shrieks.
"I want my mom-meeeeeee!"
He would have laughed had he not been to busy running. They hadn't been expecting that.
Finally, he was clear. No cops. No sirens. Not even that many other pedestrians, for that matter. He was getting away from the more commercialized areas and had made his way into the suburbs.
Almost, he thought. He stuck his hand into his pocket to make sure his prize was still there.
He turned down a familiar neighborhood and down a familiar street before finally allowing himself to stop running. He slowed to a trot, then a brisk walk. By the time he reached the house, he was strolling casually along, taking in the sights and enjoying the afternoon sunshine. He turned up the flagstone walkway to the house, and couldn't help smiling.
Careful, he thought to himself. Don't get cocky.
The house was an old one. The owners had left it decades ago without actually doing anything with it, and it showed. Years of neglect had taken their toll; peeling the paint, rotting the wood, even the foundation was beginning to crumble. He trotted up the porch steps and went in through the living room window. It was no use trying the door- last time he'd tried, it had actually fallen in.
He passed the dust coated furniture and long forgotten fireplace and went into the adjacent kitchen. A man in a long black coat was leaning back in a dining chair with his boots on the table. He was reading a newspaper, chuckling softly to himself every once in a while.
"I'm back," said the young man, digging through his pocket. "And I win."
The man sitting at the table put down the newspaper. "Oh? And did you-"
The young man tossed the jump drive onto the table.
"It's all there. I broke into his office. I got copies of almost all his files and I deleted the originals. I even made sure to tag his office desk, too. Just to be thorough."
"What did you use?"
He shrugged. "Sharpie. He had a bunch of them lying around."
The other man nodded.
"Okay, okay. You win this one. Above and beyond the call of duty." He snapped his fingers. Two glasses and a promising looking bottle appeared on the table in a brief bout of flame that was gone almost instantly. For a moment, the smell of sulfur hung in the air.
"Here, you look like you could use a drink."
"Damn straight." The young man sat down and poured himself a glass. "So," he said. "My turn?"
His guest nodded. "Go for it."
The young man smiled and held up his glass in a mock toast.
"Alright," he said. He took a swig from his glass, then set it down.
"Truth or dare?"
His playmate thought it over.