1. Scola · 2. Esplode · 3. Aresta · 4. Prison · 5. Paranoia · 6. Rede X · 7. Spleno-Porco · 8. Paradox · 9. Furgon · 10. Claves · 11. Slogan
12. Conserta · 13. Jornales · 14. Bitnic · 15. Enrolada · 16. Reportor · 17. Tuneli · 18. Juas · 19. Vampires · 20. Tortura · 21. Judi · Epilogo

19. Vampires

Mostra ance la testo orijinal

Asi es la eposta cual ia es relasada a 07:00 en la dia seguente, cuando Anj e me ia pinti VAMPIRES MANADI MUNISIPAL → → a locas stratejial tra la urbe.

Here’s the email that went out at 7AM the next day, while Ange and I were spray-painting VAMP-MOB CIVIC CENTER -> -> at strategic locations around town.

Tu parteni a un clan de vampires de lus de dia. Tu ia descovre la secreta de survive la lus xocante de la sol. La secreta es canibalisme: la sangue de un otra vampir pote dona a tu fortia per pasea entre la viventes.
You are part of a clan of daylight vampires. You’ve discovered the secret of surviving the terrible light of the sun. The secret was cannibalism: the blood of another vampire can give you the strength to walk among the living.
Tu debe morde tan multe otra vampires como tu pote per resta en la jua. Si un minuto pasa sin un morde, tu va sorti de la jua. Pos sorti, reversa tua camisa e deveni un arbitror – oserva du o tre vampires per vide esce los fa sua mordes.
You need to bite as many other vampires as you can in order to stay in the game. If one minute goes by without a bite, you’re out. Once you’re out, turn your shirt around backwards and go referee – watch two or three vamps to see if they’re getting their bites in.
Per morde un otra vampir, tu debe dise “Morde!” a sinco veses ante cuando el pote. Donce tu va core a un vampir, regarda sua oios e cria “morde morde morde morde morde!”, e si tu vosi lo ante cuando el fa la mesma, tu va vive e el va desintegra a polvo.
To bite another vamp, you have to say “Bite!” five times before they do. So you run up to a vamp, make eye-contact, and shout “bite bite bite bite bite!” and if you get it out before she does, you live and she crumbles to dust.
Tu e la otra vampires ci tu encontra a tua loca de reuni es un ecipo. Los es en tua clan. Tu reseta no nuri de sua sangue.
You and the other vamps you meet at your rendezvous are a team. They are your clan. You derive no nourishment from their blood.
Tu pote deveni “nonvidable” par sta sin move e crusa tua brasos ante tua peto. Tu no pote morde vampires nonvidable, e los no pote morde tu.
You can “go invisible” by standing still and folding your arms over your chest. You can’t bite invisible vamps, and they can’t bite you.
Esta jua usa un sistem de onestia. La gol es diverti e vampirini, no vinse.
This game is played on the honor system. The point is to have fun and get your vamp on, not to win.
On ave un plu jua final cual va es comunicada par parla cuando vinsores comensa emerji. La manejores va inisia un campania de xuxa entre la juores a la bon momento. Sperde la xuxa en modo tan rapida como tu pote e regarda per la sinial.
There is an end-game that will be passed by word of mouth as winners begin to emerge. The game-masters will start a whisper campaign among the players when the time comes. Spread the whisper as quickly as you can and watch for the sign.
morde morde morde morde morde!
bite bite bite bite bite!

Nos ia espera ce sento persones va desira jua Vampires Manadi. Cada de nos ia envia sirca dusento invitas. Ma cuando me ia senta subita me a 04:00 e ia saisi mea Xbox, 400 respondes ia es ala. Cuatrosento.

We’d hoped that a hundred people would be willing to play VampMob. We’d sent out about two hundred invites each. But when I sat bolt upright at 4AM and grabbed my Xbox, there were 400 replies there. Four hundred.

Me ia dona la adirijes a la epostador e ia sorti furtiva de la casa. Me ia desende la scalera, escutante la ronci de mea padre e la turna de mea madre en sua leto. Me ia clavi la porte pos me.

I fed the addresses to the bot and stole out of the house. I descended the stairs, listening to my father snore and my mom rolling over in their bed. I locked the door behind me.

A 04:15, Colina Potrero ia es tan cuieta como la campania. On ia ave alga murmuras de trafica distante, e a un ves un auto ia pasa me con rapidia caracolin. Me ia para a un automata de banco e ia estrae $320 en dudeses, ia enrola los e ia pone un banda elastica sirca los, e ia pone la enrola en un pox zipable a la basa de la coxa de mea pantalon de vampir.

At 4:15 AM, Potrero Hill was as quiet as the countryside. There were some distant traffic rumbles, and once, a car crawled past me. I stopped at an ATM and drew out $320 in twenties, rolled them up and put a rubber-band around them, and stuck the roll in a zip-up pocket low on the thigh of my vampire pants.

Me ia porta denova mea capa, e un camisa fronsida, e un pantalon de sera cual ia es alterada per ave poxes sufisinte per porta tota mea bricabrac. Me ia apone botas puntida con fibias de cranio arjento, e me ia peteni mea capeles a un bol de denteleon sirca mea testa. Anj va trae la macia blanca e ia promete fa mea linioio e pintiungia negra. Txa, perce no? Cuando me va pote fa un plu ves de jua en vestes fantasin como esta?

I was wearing my cape again, and a ruffled shirt, and tuxedo pants that had been modded to have enough pockets to carry all my little bits and pieces. I had on pointed boots with silver-skull buckles, and I’d teased my hair into a black dandelion clock around my head. Ange was bringing the white makeup and had promised to do my eyeliner and black nail-polish. Why the hell not? When was the next time I was going to get to play dressup like this?

Anj ia encontra me ante sua casa. Ance el ia porta sua bolson, e un calson de redeta, un roba gotica e fronsida de servor nimfin, pinta blanca de fas, e macia complicada de oio en stilo de cabuci, e sua ditos e garga ia ave un abunda de joalas arjento.

Ange met me in front of her house. She had her backpack on too, and fishnet tights, a ruffled gothic lolita maid’s dress, white face-paint, elaborate kabuki eye-makeup, and her fingers and throat dripped with silver jewelry.

“Tu aspeta briliante!” – nos ia dise simultan a lunlotra, ante rie cuieta e vade furtiva tra la stradas, con botes de pinta de airosol en nosa poxes.

“You look great!” we said to each other in unison, then laughed quietly and stole off through the streets, spray-paint cans in our pockets.

Regardante la Sentro Munisipal, me ia pensa a como lo va aspeta cuando un manada de 400 vampires converje a lo. Me ia espeta los pos des minutos, a la fronte esterna de la Ofisia de Site. Ja la plaza grande ia es plen de viajores pendulin ci ia evita destrosa la persones sin casa ci ia mendica ala.

As I surveyed Civic Center, I thought about what it would look like once 400 VampMobbers converged on it. I expected them in ten minutes, out front of City Hall. Already the big plaza teemed with commuters who neatly sidestepped the homeless people begging there.

Me ia odia sempre la Sentro Munisipal. Lo es un colie de construidas jigante, semblante tortas de sposi: cortes, museos e construidas munisipal como la Ofisia de Site. La troterias es larga, la construidas es blanca. En la manuales sur San Francisco per turistes, on susede fotografi lo tal ce lo aspeta como la Sentro Epcot, futurin e sever.

I’ve always hated Civic Center. It’s a collection of huge wedding-cake buildings: court houses, museums, and civic buildings like City Hall. The sidewalks are wide, the buildings are white. In the tourist guides to San Francisco, they manage to photograph it so that it looks like Epcot Center, futuristic and austere.

Ma en realia, lo es susia e repulsante. Persones sin casa dormi sur tota la bancas. La distrito es ja vacua a 18:00 con eseta de enebriadas e drogamanicas, car con sola un tipo de construida ala, persones ave no bon razona per resta ala pos la reposa de sol. Lo es plu simil a un boteceria ca un visineria, e la sola comersias ala es garantiores de libri e botecas de alcol, locas cual furni a la familias de criminores litigada e la vagabones ci abita ala a note.

But on the ground, it’s grimy and gross. Homeless people sleep on all the benches. The district is empty by 6PM except for drunks and druggies, because with only one kind of building there, there’s no legit reason for people to hang around after the sun goes down. It’s more like a mall than a neighborhood, and the only businesses there are bail-bondsmen and liquor stores, places that cater to the families of crooks on trial and the bums who make it their nighttime home.

Me ia comensa vera comprende tota esta cuando me ia leje un intervisa con un urbaniste vea stonante, un fem nomida Jane Jacobs ci ia es la person prima ci ia lumina profonda perce lo es mal ce on divide sites par autovias, pone tota la persones povre en projetas de casi, e usa leges de zona per controla rigorosa ci pote fa cual cosa e do.

I really came to understand all of this when I read an interview with an amazing old urban planner, a woman called Jane Jacobs who was the first person to really nail why it was wrong to slice cities up with freeways, stick all the poor people in housing projects, and use zoning laws to tightly control who got to do what where.

Jacobs ia esplica ce sites vera es organica e los conteni multe varia – rica e povre, blanca e brun, engles e mexican, comersial e abital e an industrial. Un tal visineria ave persones de tota spesies ci pasa tra lo a tota oras de la dia o note, donce on ave comersias cual furni a cada nesesa; on ave persones presente tra tota la tempo, atante como oios sur la strada.

Jacobs explained that real cities are organic and they have a lot of variety – rich and poor, white and brown, Anglo and Mex, retail and residential and even industrial. A neighborhood like that has all kinds of people passing through it at all hours of the day or night, so you get businesses that cater to every need, you get people around all the time, acting like eyes on the street.

Tu ia encontra ja esta. Si on pasea tra alga parte plu vea de alga site, on trova ce lo es plen de botecas de aspeta la plu fresca, xices en vestones e persones en vestes modosa, restorantes superior e caferias caprisosa, cisa un sinema peti, casas con pintis detaliosa. Si, cisa on trova ance un Starbucks, ma on ave ance un mercato bela de frutas e un floriste ci pare ave tresento anios en cuando el sisori atendosa la flores en sua fenetras. Lo es la oposada de un spasio projetada, como un boteceria. Lo impresa como un jardin savaje o an un foresta: como si lo ia crese.

You’ve encountered this before. You go walking around some older part of some city and you find that it’s full of the coolest looking stores, guys in suits and people in fashion-rags, upscale restaurants and funky cafes, a little movie theater maybe, houses with elaborate paint-jobs. Sure, there might be a Starbucks too, but there’s also a neat-looking fruit market and a florist who appears to be three hundred years old as she snips carefully at the flowers in her windows. It’s the opposite of a planned space, like a mall. It feels like a wild garden or even a woods: like it grew.

No cosa ta pote es plu diferente de acel ca la Sentro Munisipal. Me ia leje un intervisa con Jacobs en cual el ia parla sur la bon visineria grande cual on ia destrui per construi lo. Lo ia es un visineria de esata acel spesie, un loca de la tipo cual aveni sin permete o intende o razona.

You couldn’t get any further from that than Civic Center. I read an interview with Jacobs where she talked about the great old neighborhood they knocked down to build it. It had been just that kind of neighborhood, the kind of place that happened without permission or rhyme or reason.

Jacobs ia espresa la predise ce pos un pico de anios, la Sentro Munisipal va es un de la distritos la plu mal en la site, un vila abandonada a note, un loca cual susta un recolie magra de botecas blanda de alcol e moteles gastada. En la intervisa, el no ia pare multe felis ce sua predise ia reali; el ia sona como si el parla sur un ami mor cuando el ia descrive lo cual la Sentro Munisipal ia deveni.

Jacobs said that she predicted that within a few years, Civic Center would be one of the worst neighborhoods in the city, a ghost-town at night, a place that sustained a thin crop of weedy booze shops and flea-pit motels. In the interview, she didn’t seem very glad to have been vindicated; she sounded like she was talking about a dead friend when she described what Civic Center had become.

Aora lo ia es la ora de presa e la Sentro Munisipal ia es tan folida como posible. La metro de la Sentro Munisipal funsiona ance como la stasion major per linias de tram-bus, e si on debe cambia de la un a la otra, on fa lo ala. A 08:00, on ia ave miles de persones asendente la scalera, desendente la scalera, vadente a e de taxis, e embarcante e desembarcante buses. Los ia es presada tra puntos de controla a la construidas munisipal diversa, e ia dirije se sirca mendicores agresiva. Tota los ia odori como sua xampus e parfumes, fresca duxida e blindada en sua vestones de labora, brandinte sacos de computador e portafolios. A 08:00, la Sentro Munisipal ia es la sentro de comersia.

Now it was rush hour and Civic Center was as busy as it could be. The Civic Center BART also serves as the major station for Muni trolley lines, and if you need to switch from one to another, that’s where you do it. At 8AM, there were thousands of people coming up the stairs, going down the stairs, getting into and out of taxis and on and off buses. They got squeezed by DHS checkpoints by the different civic buildings, and routed around aggressive panhandlers. They all smelled like their shampoos and colognes, fresh out of the shower and armored in their work suits, swinging laptop bags and briefcases. At 8AM, Civic Center was business central.

E aora la vampires ia veni. Sirca dudes desendente Bolevar Van Ness, sirca dudes asendente Strada Mercato. Plu ia veni de la otra lado de Mercato. Plu ia asende de Van Ness. Los ia lisca sirca la lados de la construidas, portante la pinta blanca de fas e la linioio negra, vestes negra, jacas de cuoro, botas enorme piafable. Gantos de redeta sin ditos.

And here came the vamps. A couple dozen coming down Van Ness, a couple dozen coming up Market. More coming from the other side of Market. More coming up from Van Ness. They slipped around the side of the buildings, wearing the white face-paint and the black eyeliner, black clothes, leather jackets, huge stompy boots. Fishnet fingerless gloves.

Los ia comensa pleni la plaza. Alga de la comersiores ia fa un regarda rapida a los ante turna sua oios a via, no desirante permete ce esta bizaras entra a sua realias personal en cual los pensa a esta-o-acel caca tra cual los va vada per oto plu oras. La vampires ia vaga de asi a ala, no serta cuando la jua va comensa. Los ia combina se en grupos grande, como un versa de petrolio en reversa, con tota esta negra asemblante en un loca. Multe de los ia esibi xapos de tempo pasada, melonin o silindre. Multe de la xicas ia porta completas gotica refinada de servor nimfin, con sapatos de plataforma jigante.

They began to fill up the plaza. A few of the business people gave them passing glances and then looked away, not wanting to let these weirdos into their personal realities as they thought about whatever crap they were about to wade through for another eight hours. The vamps milled around, not sure when the game was on. They pooled together in large groups, like an oil spill in reverse, all this black gathering in one place. A lot of them sported old-timey hats, bowlers and toppers. Many of the girls were in full-on elegant gothic lolita maid costumes with huge platforms.

Me ia atenta estima la cuantia. 200. Alora, pos sinco minutos, lo ia es 300. 400. Los ia enflue ancora. La vampires ia trae amis.

I tried to estimate the numbers. 200. Then, five minutes later, it was 300. 400. They were still streaming in. The vamps had brought friends.

Algun ia toca mea culo. Me ia turna rapida e ia vide Anj, tan forte riente ce el ia debe sta curvida, teninte sua coxas.

Someone grabbed my ass. I spun around and saw Ange, laughing so hard she had to hold her thighs, bent double.

“Ma regarda los, xic’, regarda los!” – el ia esclama respirosa. La plaza ia es duple tan folida como a un pico de minutos a ante. Me ia ave no idea cuanto persones usa Rede X, ma clar mil de los ia veni de apare a mea selebra peti. Cristo.

“Look at them all, man, look at them all!” she gasped. The square was twice as crowded as it had been a few minutes ago. I had no idea how many Xnetters there were, but easily 1000 of them had just showed up to my little party. Christ.

Securia Interna e la polisiores urban ia comensa sirculi, parlante a sua radios e grupinte. Me ia oia un alarma distante.

The DHS and SFPD cops were starting to mill around, talking into their radios and clustering together. I heard a far-away siren.

“Oce.” – me ia dise, secutente la braso de Anj. “Oce, ta ce nos comensa.”

“All right,” I said, shaking Ange by the arm. “All right, let’s go.”

Ambos nos ia lisca a via tra la fola, e direta cuando nos ia encontra nosa vampir prima, ambos nos ia dise, forte: “Morde morde morde morde morde!” Mea vitim ia es un xica surprendeda – ma bela – con redes de arania desiniada sur sua manos e negrisil manxada desendente sua jenas. El ia dise – “Txa.” – e ia move a via, asetante ce me ia morde el.

We both slipped off into the crowd and as soon as we encountered our first vamp, we both said, loudly, “Bite bite bite bite bite!” My victim was a stunned – but cute – girl with spider-webs drawn on her hands and smudged mascara running down her cheeks. She said, “Crap,” and moved away, acknowledging that I’d gotten her.

La clama “morde morde morde morde morde” ia ativi ja la otra vampires prosima. Alga de los ia ataca lunlotra, otras ia move per proteje se, ascondente. Me ia prende ja mea vitim per la presente, donce me ia vade furtiva, usante mundales per scermi me. E de tota lados: la cria “morde morde morde morde morde!” e esclamas e ries e maldises.

The call of “bite bite bite bite bite” had scrambled the other nearby vamps. Some of them were attacking each other, others were moving for cover, hiding out. I had my victim for the minute, so I skulked away, using mundanes for cover. All around me, the cry of “bite bite bite bite bite!” and shouts and laughs and curses.

La sona ia sperde virusin tra la fola. Tota la vampires ia sabe aora ce la jua aveni, e los ci ia formi grupos ia cade como moscas. Los ia rie, ia blasfema e ia move a via, indicante a la vampires restante ce la jua aveni. E plu vampires ia ariva a cada secondo.

The sound spread like a virus through the crowd. All the vamps knew the game was on now, and the ones who were clustered together were dropping like flies. They laughed and cussed and moved away, clueing the still-in vamps that the game was on. And more vamps were arriving by the second.

08:16. Esta ia es la momento per catura un plu vampir. Me ia acrupi basa e ia move tra la gambas de la normales ci dirije se a la scalera de metro. Los ia salteta a retro en surprende e ia verje per evita me. Mea oios ia es laserin fisada a un duple de botas negra de plataforma con dragones de aser supra la orteos, e donce lo ia es nonespetada cuando me ia veni con fas a fas con un otra vampir, un xico de sirca 15 o 16 anios, con capeles jelida a retro e portante un jaca plastica de Marilyn Manson covreda par colaretas de dentones falsa con simboles complicada siselida.

8:16. It was time to bag another vamp. I crouched low and moved through the legs of the straights as they headed for the BART stairs. They jerked back with surprise and swerved to avoid me. I had my eyes laser-locked on a set of black platform boots with steel dragons over the toes, and so I wasn’t expecting it when I came face to face with another vamp, a guy of about 15 or 16, hair gelled straight back and wearing a PVC Marilyn Manson jacket draped with necklaces of fake tusks carved with intricate symbols.

“Morde morde morde —” – el ia comensa, cuando un de la mundales ia tropeza contra el e ambos ia cade prona. Me ia salta asta el e ia cria “morde morde morde morde morde!” ante cuando el ia pote denova desmarania se.

“Bite bite bite –” he began, when one of the mundanes tripped over him and they both went sprawling. I leapt over to him and shouted “bite bite bite bite bite!” before he could untangle himself again.

Plu vampires ia ariva. La vestonidas ia deveni vera confusada. La jua ia supraflue de la troteria e ia move a Van Ness, estendente en dirije a Strada Mercato. Motoristes ia claxoni, la tram-buses ia fa tintinas coler. Me ia oia plu alarmas, ma aora la trafica ia es conjestada en cada dirije.

More vamps were arriving. The suits were really freaking out. The game overflowed the sidewalk and moved into Van Ness, spreading up toward Market Street. Drivers honked, the trolleys made angry dings. I heard more sirens, but now traffic was snarled in every direction.

Lo es enfernin gloriosa.

It was freaking glorious.



La sona ia veni de tota lados de me. On ia ave tan multe vampires ala, tan furiosa juante, ce lo ia es como un ruji. Me ia risca sta e regarda a sirca, e ia trova ce me es a media profonda de un fola jigante de vampires cual estende tan distante en cada dirije como me pote vide.

The sound came from all around me. There were so many vamps there, playing so furiously, it was like a roar. I risked standing up and looking around and found that I was right in the middle of a giant crowd of vamps that went as far as I could see in every direction.



Esta ia es an plu bon ca la conserta en Parce Dolores. Acel ia es coler e stonante, ma esta ia es – vera, lo ia es simple divertinte. Lo ia es como revade a la patio de enfantes, a la juas epica de toca cual nos ia fa en pausas de mediadia cuando la sol ia brilia, con sentos de persones xasante lunlotra. Par la adultes e la autos lo ia deveni mera plu divertinte, plu comica.

This was even better than the concert in Dolores Park. That had been angry and rockin’, but this was – well, it was just fun. It was like going back to the playground, to the epic games of tag we’d play on lunch breaks when the sun was out, hundreds of people chasing each other around. The adults and the cars just made it more fun, more funny.

E tal lo ia es: lo ia es comica. Tota nos ia rie aora.

That’s what it was: it was funny. We were all laughing now.

Ma la polisiores ia es vera preparante aora. Me ia oia elicotores. A esta-o-acel secondo, lo va fini. La momento ia veni per la jua final.

But the cops were really mobilizing now. I heard helicopters. Any second now, it would be over. Time for the endgame.

Me ia saisi un vampir.

I grabbed a vamp.

“Jua final: cuando la polisiores comanda nos a desgrupi, finje ce tu es gasida. Comunica esta. Cual me veni de dise?”

“Endgame: when the cops order us to disperse, pretend you’ve been gassed. Pass it on. What did I just say?”

La vampir ia es un xica, pico, tan corta ce me ia pensa ce el es vera joven, ma el ia debe ave 17 o 18 anios par sua fas e la surie. “O, acel es diablin.” – el ia dise.

The vamp was a girl, tiny, so short I thought she was really young, but she must have been 17 or 18 from her face and the smile. “Oh, that’s wicked,” she said.

“Me ia dise cual?”

“What did I say?”

“Jua final: cuando la polisiores comanda nos a desgrupi, finje ce tu es gasida. Comunica esta. Cual me veni de dise?”

“Endgame: when the cops order us to disperse, pretend you’ve been gassed. Pass it on. What did I just say?”

“Coreta.” – me ia dise. “Comunica lo.”

“Right,” I said. “Pass it on.”

El ia fonde a via en la fola. Me ia saisi un plu vampir. Me ia comunica lo. El ia parti per comunica lo.

She melted into the crowd. I grabbed another vamp. I passed it on. He went off to pass it on.

A alga loca en la fola, me ia sabe ce Anj fa esta ance. A alga loca en la fola, on ia ave cisa infiltrores, usores falsa de Rede X, ma como los ta pote usa esta sabe? La situa no ia es tal ce la polisiores pote eleje. Los va comanda nos a desgrupi. Esta ia es garantiada.

Somewhere in the crowd, I knew Ange was doing this too. Somewhere in the crowd, there might be infiltrators, fake Xnetters, but what could they do with this knowledge? It’s not like the cops had a choice. They were going to order us to disperse. That was guaranteed.

Me ia debe ateni Anj. La intende ia es reuni a la Sculta de la Fundores sur la plaza, ma ateni lo va es difisil. La fola no ia move plu: lo ia inonda, como la manada ia fa en la desende a la stasion de metro en la dia cuando la bombas ia esplode. Me ia luta per trova un via tra lo, e a acel momento la parlador su la elicotor ia comuta.

I had to get to Ange. The plan was to meet at the Founder’s Statue in the Plaza, but reaching it was going to be hard. The crowd wasn’t moving anymore, it was surging, like the mob had in the way down to the BART station on the day the bombs went off. I struggled to make my way through it just as the PA underneath the helicopter switched on.



Sirca me, sentos de vampires ia cade a tera, teninte sua gargas, garinte sua oios, laborosa respirante. Falsi es gasida ia es fasil: tota nos ia ave multe tempo per studia la metraje de la selebrores en Parce Mision Dolores cadente su la nubes de airosol de peper.

Around me, hundreds of vamps fell to the ground, clutching their throats, clawing at their eyes, gasping for breath. It was easy to fake being gassed, we’d all had plenty of time to study the footage of the partiers in Mission Dolores Park going down under the pepper-spray clouds.



Me ia cade a tera, protejente mea bolson, estendente un mano a la xapeta roja de basebal pliada en la taie de mea pantalon. Me ia puxa lo sur mea testa ante saisi mea garga e fa ruidos xocante de vomiti.

I fell to the ground, protecting my pack, reaching around to the red baseball hat folded into the waistband of my pants. I jammed it on my head and then grabbed my throat and made horrendous retching noises.

La solas ci ia sta ancora ia es la mundales, la salaridas ci ia atenta mera vade a sua laboras. Me ia regarda los sirca me tan bon como posible en cuando me ia sofoca e sanglota.

The only ones still standing were the mundanes, the salarymen who’d been just trying to get to their jobs. I looked around as best as I could at them as I choked and gasped.

“ESTA ES LA DEPARTE DE SECURIA INTERNA. VOS ES COMANDADA A DESGRUPI INSTANTE. DESGRUPI INSTANTE.” La vose de dio ia dole mea intestines. Me ia sensa lo en mea dentes molente e en mea femores e mea spina dorsal.

“THIS IS THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. YOU ARE ORDERED TO DISPERSE IMMEDIATELY. DISPERSE IMMEDIATELY.” The voice of god made my bowels ache. I felt it in my molars and in my femurs and my spine.

La salaridas ia es asustada. Los ia move tan rapida como los ia pote, ma en no dirije spesial. La elicotores ia pare direta a supra, sin depende de do on ia sta. La polisiores ia vada tra la fola aora, e los ia apone sua elmos. Alga ia ave scermos. Alga ia ave mascas antigasal. Me ia respira plu laborosa.

The salarymen were scared. They were moving as fast as they could, but in no particular direction. The helicopters seemed to be directly overhead no matter where you stood. The cops were wading into the crowd now, and they’d put on their helmets. Some had shields. Some had gas masks. I gasped harder.

Alora la salaridas ia core. Probable ance me ia ta core. Me ia vide un om ci ia desapone un jaca de $500 e ia envolve sua fas en lo ante vade a sude en dirije a la Mision, ma ia fa no plu ca tropeza e cade prona. Sua blasfemas ia junta se a la sonas de sofoca.

Then the salarymen were running. I probably would have run too. I watched a guy whip a $500 jacket off and wrap it around his face before heading south toward Mission, only to trip up and go sprawling. His curses joined the choking sounds.

Esta no ia es intendeda – la sofoca ia es intendeda sola per confonde persones e confusa los, no per panica los a un fuji tumultosa.

This wasn’t supposed to happen – the choking was just supposed to freak people out and get them confused, not panic them into a stampede.

On ia ave crias aora, crias cual me ia reconose tro bon de la note en la parce. Esta ia es la sona de persones ci ia es demente asustada, colidente contra lunlotra en sua atentas enfernin de parti.

There were screams now, screams I recognized all too well from the night in the park. That was the sound of people who were scared spitless, running into each other as they tried like hell to get away.

E alora la alarmas de ataca airal ia comensa.

And then the air-raid sirens began.

Me no ia oia acel sona de pos la esplode de la bombas, ma me va oblida nunca lo. Lo ia penetra me e ia vade direta a mea coiones, cambiante mea gambas a jelatin en via. Lo ia fa ce me vole core a via en panica. Me ia sta me, con xapeta roja sur mea testa, pensante a sola un cosa: Anj. Anj e la Sculta de la Fundores.

I hadn’t heard that sound since the bombs went off, but I would never forget it. It sliced through me and went straight into my balls, turning my legs into jelly on the way. It made me want to run away in a panic. I got to my feet, red cap on my head, thinking of only one thing: Ange. Ange and the Founders’ Statue.

Cadun ia es sur sua pedes aora, corente en tota dirijes, xiliante. Me ia puxa persones a via, teninte mea bolson e mea xapo, dirijente me a la Sculta de la Fundores. Masha ia xerca me, me ia xerca Anj. Anj ia es ala a alga loca.

Everyone was on their feet now, running in all directions, screaming. I pushed people out of my way, holding onto my pack and my hat, heading for Founders’ Statue. Masha was looking for me, I was looking for Ange. Ange was out there.

Me ia presa e blasfema. Ia colpa algun par codo. Algun ia desende tan forte sur mea pede ce me ia sensa la craci de alga cosa, e me ia puxa el tal ce el ia cade. El ia atenta leva e algun ia pasea sur el. Me ia puxa e presa.

I pushed and cursed. Elbowed someone. Someone came down on my foot so hard I felt something go crunch and I shoved him so he went down. He tried to get up and someone stepped on him. I shoved and pushed.

Alora me ia estende mea braso per puxa un otra person, e manos forte ia saisi mea polso e mea codo en un move fluente e ia move mea braso a sirca, a pos mea dorso. Lo ia pare como si mea spala es a punto de deveni arancada de sua caveta, e me ia curvi instante, rujinte, un sona cual ia es apena oiable tra la ruido de la fola, la vibra de la elicotores, la ulula de la alarmas.

Then I reached out my arm to shove someone else and strong hands grabbed my wrist and my elbow in one fluid motion and brought my arm back around behind my back. It felt like my shoulder was about to wrench out of its socket, and I instantly doubled over, hollering, a sound that was barely audible over the din of the crowd, the thrum of the choppers, the wail of the sirens.

Me ia es denova retida par la manos forte pos me, cual ia dirije me como un marioneta. La teni ia es tan perfeta ce me no ia pote an pensa a contorse. Me no ia pote pensa a la ruido o la elicotor o Anj. Tota a cual me ia pote pensa ia es move tal como la person ci teni me vole ce me move. Me ia es turnada per regarda la fas de la person.

I was brought back upright by the strong hands behind me, which steered me like a marionette. The hold was so perfect I couldn’t even think of squirming. I couldn’t think of the noise or the helicopter or Ange. All I could think of was moving the way that the person who had me wanted me to move. I was brought around so that I was face-to-face with the person.

El ia es un xica con fas agu e rodentin, partal ascondeda par un oculo jigante de sol. Supra la oculo, un crinera briliante ros ia protende spinin en tota dirijes.

It was a girl whose face was sharp and rodent-like, half-hidden by a giant pair of sunglasses. Over the sunglasses, a mop of bright pink hair, spiked out in all directions.

“Tu!” – me ia dise. Me ia conose el. El ia fa un foto de me e ia menasa denunsia me a la vijilores de asentia. Acel ia es a sinco minutos ante cuando la alarmas ia comensa. Acel ia es el, rusosa e sin compatia. Ambos nos ia core de acel loca en la Filete con la claxon sonante pos nos, e ambos nos ia es prendeda par la polisiores. Me ia condui enemin e los ia deside ce me es un enemi.

“You!” I said. I knew her. She’d taken a picture of me and threatened to rat me out to truant watch. That had been five minutes before the alarms started. She’d been the one, ruthless and cunning. We’d both run from that spot in the Tenderloin as the klaxon sounded behind us, and we’d both been picked up by the cops. I’d been hostile and they’d decided that I was an enemy.

El – Masha – ia deveni sua aliada.

She – Masha – became their ally.

“Alo, M1k3y.” – el ia sisa en mea orea, prosima como un amor. Un trema ia asende mea dorso. El ia relasa mea braso e me ia secute lo.

“Hello, M1k3y,” she hissed in my ear, close as a lover. A shiver went up my back. She let go of my arm and I shook it out.

“Cristo.” – me ia dise. “Tu!”

“Christ,” I said. “You!”

“Si, me.” – el ia dise. “La gas va desende pos sirca du minutos. Ta ce nos parti.”

“Yes, me,” she said. “The gas is gonna come down in about two minutes. Let’s haul ass.”

“Anj – mea xica de cor – es a la Sculta de la Fundores.”

“Ange – my girlfriend – is by the Founders’ Statue.”

Masha ia regarda supra la fola. “No posible.” – el ia dise. “Si nos atenta vade ala, nos va es ruinada. La gas va desende pos du minutos, per caso ce tu no ia oia esta a la ves prima.”

Masha looked over the crowd. “No chance,” she said. “We try to make it there, we’re doomed. The gas is coming down in two minutes, in case you missed it the first time.”

Me ia sesa move. “Me no va parti sin Anj.” – me ia dise.

I stopped moving. “I don’t go without Ange,” I said.

El ia leva sua spalas. “Segue tua desira,” – el ia cria en mea orea – “ma la funera va es tua.”

She shrugged. “Suit yourself,” she shouted in my ear. “Your funeral.”

El ia comensa puxa se tra la fola, movente a via, a norde, en dirije a la sentro de la site. Me ia continua puxa me a la Sculta de la Fundores. Pos un secondo, mea braso ia es denova en la saisi asustante, e me ia es turnada a contra e propulsada a ante.

She began to push through the crowd, moving away, north, toward downtown. I continued to push for the Founders’ Statue. A second later, my arm was back in the terrible lock and I was being swung around and propelled forward.

“Tu sabe tro multe, pixeta.” – el ia dise. “Tu ia vide mea fas. Tu veni con me.”

“You know too much, jerk-off,” she said. “You’ve seen my face. You’re coming with me.”

Me ia xilia a el, lutante asta cuando lo ia pare ce mea braso va rompe, ma el ia puia me a ante. Mea pede ferida ia es xocante dolosa a cada paso, e mea spala ia pare como si lo va rompe.

I screamed at her, struggled till it felt like my arm would break, but she was pushing me forward. My sore foot was agony with every step, my shoulder felt like it would break.

Con ce el ia usa me como un ariete, nos ia progresa bon tra la fola. La ruji de la elicotores ia cambia e el ia fa un puxa plu bruta a me. “CORE!” – el ia cria. “La gas veni!”

With her using me as a battering ram, we made good progress through the crowd. The whine of the helicopters changed and she gave me a harder push. “RUN!” she yelled. “Here comes the gas!”

La ruido de la fola ia cambia ance. La sonas de sofoca e de xilia ia deveni multe multe plu forte. Me ia oia esta grado de sona en la pasada. Alora nos ia es en la parce. La gas ia pluve. Me ia reteni mea respira e ia core.

The crowd noise changed, too. The choking sounds and scream sounds got much, much louder. I’d heard that pitch of sound before. We were back in the park. The gas was raining down. I held my breath and ran.

Nos ia emerji de la fola e el ia relasa mea braso. Me ia secute lo. Me ia coxea tan rapida como posible longo la troteria, e la fola ia deveni sempre min densa. Nos ia vade en dirije a un grupo de polisiores de Securia Interna con scermos de tumulta e elmos e mascas. En cuando nos ia prosimi a los, los ia move per bloci nos, ma Masha ia leva un insinia, e los ia fonde a via como si el ta es Obi Wan Kenobi disente: “Estas no es la ’droides ci tu xerca.”

We cleared the crowd and she let go of my arm. I shook it out. I limped as fast as I could up the sidewalk as the crowd thinned and thinned. We were heading towards a group of DHS cops with riot shields and helmets and masks. As we drew near them, they moved to block us, but Masha held up a badge and they melted away like she was Obi Wan Kenobi, saying “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

“Tu puta de enferno,” – me ia dise en cuando nos ia freta longo Strada Mercato. “Nos debe revade per Anj.”

“You goddamned bitch,” I said as we sped up Market Street. “We have to go back for Ange.”

El ia rondi sua labios e ia nega con testa. “Me compatia, ami. Me no ia vide mea xico de cor en menses. Probable el crede ce me es mor. La acasos de gera. Si nos revade per tua Anj, nos va es mor. Si nos continua, nos ave un posible. Cuando nos ave un posible, el ave un posible. No tota acel jovenes va vade a Guantanamo de la Baia. Los va prende probable dusento o tre per interoga los e va envia la otras a casa.”

She pursed her lips and shook her head. “I feel for you, buddy. I haven’t seen my boyfriend in months. He probably thinks I’m dead. Fortunes of war. We go back for your Ange, we’re dead. If we push on, we have a chance. So long as we have a chance, she has a chance. Those kids aren’t all going to Gitmo. They’ll probably take a few hundred in for questioning and send the rest home.”

Nos ia asende Strada Mercato aora, pasante la striptiserias do la campas peti de vagabones e drogamanicas ia senta, apestante como vasones abrida. Masha ia gida me a un alcova peti a la porte cluida de un de la striptiserias. El ia desapone sua jaca e ia eversa lo – la fore ia ave un motif de bandetas blanda, e cuando la costures de la jaca ia es reversada, lo ia pende diferente. El ia estrae un xapo de lana de sua pox e ia tira lo a sur sua capeles, lasante ce lo formi un apico vivosa nonsentrida. A pos, el ia estrae alga trapos de desmacia e ia comensa labora a sua fas e ungias. Pos un minuto, el ia es un otra fem.

We were moving up Market Street now, past the strip joints where the little encampments of bums and junkies sat, stinking like open toilets. Masha guided me to a little alcove in the shut door of one of the strip places. She stripped off her jacket and turned it inside out – the lining was a muted stripe pattern, and with the jacket’s seams reversed, it hung differently. She produced a wool hat from her pocket and pulled it over her hair, letting it form a jaunty, off-center peak. Then she took out some make-up remover wipes and went to work on her face and fingernails. In a minute, she was a different woman.

“Cambia de vestes.” – el ia dise. “Aora tu. Perde la sapatos, perde la jaca, perde la xapo.” Me ia comprende sua intende. La polisiores va regarda multe atendente cualcun ci aspeta como si el ia partisipa en Vampires Manadi. Me ia dejeta intera la xapo – me ia gusta nunca xapetas de basebal. Pos acel, me ia puxa la jaca en mea bolson e ia estrae un camiseta con un imaje de Rosa Luxemburg, e ia tira lo supra mea camiseta negra. Me ia lasa ce Masha desmacia me e limpi mea ungias, e pos un minuto, me ia es limpa.

“Wardrobe change,” she said. “Now you. Lose the shoes, lose the jacket, lose the hat.” I could see her point. The cops would be looking very carefully at anyone who looked like they’d been a part of the VampMob. I ditched the hat entirely – I’d never liked ball caps. Then I jammed the jacket into my pack and got out a long-sleeved tee with a picture of Rosa Luxembourg on it and pulled it over my black tee. I let Masha wipe my makeup off and clean my nails and a minute later, I was clean.

“Descomuta tua telefon.” – el ia dise. “Tu porta radioeticetas?”

“Switch off your phone,” she said. “You carrying any arphids?”

Me ia ave mea carta de studiante, mea carta de banco, mea Carta Rapida. Tota los ia entra a un saco arjentida cual el ia estende, cual me ia reconose como un saceta Faraday secur contra radio. Ma cuando el ia pone los en sua pox, me ia comprende ce me veni de dona mea identia a el. Si el labora per la otra lado…

I had my student card, my ATM card, my Fast Pass. They all went into a silvered bag she held out, which I recognized as a radio-proof Faraday pouch. But as she put them in her pocket, I realized I’d just turned my ID over to her. If she was on the other side…

Me ia comensa asorbe la vastia de lo cual ia es a fini de aveni. En mea mente, me ia imajina Anj con me aora. Con Anj, nos ta es du contra un. Anj ta aida me a vide lo si alga cosa ta es mal. Si Masha no ta es tota cual el reclama.

The magnitude of what had just happened began to sink in. In my mind, I’d pictured having Ange with me at this point. Ange would make it two against one. Ange would help me see if there was something amiss. If Masha wasn’t all she said she was.

“Pone esta calculos en tua sapatos ante apone los —”

“Put these pebbles in your shoes before you put them on –”

“Ja bon. Me ia aranca mea pede. No program de reconose de pasea va deteta me aora.”

“It’s OK. I sprained my foot. No gait recognition program will spot me now.”

El ia move sua testa a un ves en acorda, un profesal a un otra, e ia lansa sua bolson a sua dorso. Me ia prende la mea e nos ia parti. La tempo somada per la cambia ia es min ca un minuto. Nos ia aspeta e ia pasea como du otra persones.

She nodded once, one pro to another, and slung her pack. I picked up mine and we moved. The total time for the changeover was less than a minute. We looked and walked like two different people.

El ia regarda sua orolojeta e ia secute sua testa. “Veni.” – el ia dise. “Nos debe ateni nosa loca acordada. E no pensa a fuji. Tu ave aora du elejes. Me, o prison. Los va analise la metraje de acel manadi tra dias, ma cuando los va fini, cada fas en lo va vade a un banco de datos. Nosa parti va es notada. Ambos nos es aora criminores xercada.”

She looked at her watch and shook her head. “Come on,” she said. “We have to make our rendezvous. Don’t think of running, either. You’ve got two choices now. Me, or jail. They’ll be analyzing the footage from that mob for days, but once they’re done, every face in it will go in a database. Our departure will be noted. We are both wanted criminals now.”

El ia gida nos a via de Strada Mercato a la bloco seguente, verjente nos a en la Filete. Me ia conose esta distrito. Esta ia es do nos ia vade xasante un stasion Wi-Fi abrida en acel dia pasada, juante Joia Loco Harajuku.

She got us off Market Street on the next block, swinging back into the Tenderloin. I knew this neighborhood. This was where we’d gone hunting for an open WiFi access-point back on the day, playing Harajuku Fun Madness.

“Do nos vade?” – me ia dise.

“Where are we going?” I said.

“Nos es a punto de deveni pasajores.” – el ia dise. “Silenti afin me consentra.”

“We’re about to catch a ride,” she said. “Shut up and let me concentrate.”

Nos ia move rapida, e suo ia desende mea fas, versante de su mea capeles, fluente longo mea dorso e liscante tra la ranur de mea culo a mea coxas. Mea pede ia dole vera e me ia vide la stradas de San Francisco pasa corente, cisa a la ves ultima de sempre.

We moved fast, and sweat streamed down my face from under my hair, coursed down my back and slid down the crack of my ass and my thighs. My foot was really hurting and I was seeing the streets of San Francisco race by, maybe for the last time, ever.

Nos no ia es aidada par la fato ce nos ia vade direta a supra, en dirije a la zona do la mal reputa de la Filete sede a la casas de Colina Nob, de cual sua custas ta sangui la nas. Me ia respira en sanglotas ru. Per la plu, el ia move nos longo stradetas streta, usante la stradas major sola per pasa de un stradeta a la seguente.

It didn’t help that we were ploughing straight uphill, moving for the zone where the seedy Tenderloin gives way to the nosebleed real-estate values of Nob Hill. My breath came in ragged gasps. She moved us mostly up narrow alleys, using the big streets just to get from one alley to the next.

Nos ia es en curso de entra a un tal stradeta, Plaza Sabin, cuando algun ia alinia se pos nos e ia dise – “Sta do vos es.” La vose ia es plen de ilaria vil. Nos ia para e ia turna nos.

We were just stepping into one such alley, Sabin Place, when someone fell in behind us and said, “Freeze right there.” It was full of evil mirth. We stopped and turned around.

En la boca de la stradeta, Carl ia sta, portante vestes de vampir alga nondedicada: un camisa T e jina negra con pinta blanca de fas. “Alo, Marcus.” – el ia dise. “Tu vade a alga loca?” El ia fa un surion larga e moiada. “Ci es tua xica de cor?”

At the mouth of the alley stood Charles, wearing a halfhearted VampMob outfit of black t-shirt and jeans and white face-paint. “Hello, Marcus,” he said. “You going somewhere?” He smiled a huge, wet grin. “Who’s your girlfriend?”

“Cual tu vole, Carl?”

“What do you want, Charles?”

“Bon, me ia spende tempo en acel Rede X tradosa pos cuando me ia vide tu distribuinte DVDs en scola. Cuando me ia oia sur Vampires Manadi, me ia pensa ce me va vade ala per pigri a la bordas, mera per vide esce tu va apare e como tu va ata. Tu sabe lo cual me ia vide?”

“Well, I’ve been hanging out on that traitorous Xnet ever since I spotted you giving out DVDs at school. When I heard about your VampMob, I thought I’d go along and hang around the edges, just to see if you showed up and what you did. You know what I saw?”

Me ia dise no cosa. El ia ave sua telefon en sua mano, puntada a nos. Rejistrante. Cisa preparada per clama la polisia. A mea lado, Masha ia deveni tan nonmovente como un plance.

I said nothing. He had his phone in his hand, pointed at us. Recording. Maybe ready to dial 911. Beside me, Masha had gone still as a board.

“Me ia vide tu gidante la cosa diablin. E me ia rejistra lo, Marcus. Donce aora me va telefoni a la polisia, e nos va resta asi mesma per los. E pos acel, tu va vade a la prison de culo bateda per un tempo vera longa.”

“I saw you leading the damned thing. And I recorded it, Marcus. So now I’m going to call the cops and we’re going to wait right here for them. And then you’re going to go to pound-you-in-the-ass prison, for a long, long time.”

Masha ia fa un paso a ante.

Masha stepped forward.

“Para do tu es, xica.” – el ia dise. “Me ia vide ce tu ia sorti el. Me ia vide tota —”

“Stop right there, chickie,” he said. “I saw you get him away. I saw it all –”

El ia fa un plu paso a ante e ia aranca la telefon de sua mano, estendente sua otra mano pos se e reaparente lo per mostra un portacarta abrida.

She took another step forward and snatched the phone out of his hand, reaching behind her with her other hand and bringing it out holding a wallet open.

“Securia Interna, pixeta.” – el ia dise. “Me es de Securia Interna. Me ia es regidante esta fol a sua mestres per vide do el va vade. Me ia fa acel. Ma aora tu ia gaxi lo. Nos ave un nom per esta. Nos nomi lo ‘Impedi de Securia Nasional’. Tu va oia pronto acel espresa a multe plu veses.”

“DHS, dick-head,” she said. “I’m DHS. I’ve been running this twerp back to his masters to see where he went. I was doing that. Now you’ve blown it. We have a name for that. We call it ‘Obstruction of National Security.’ You’re about to hear that phrase a lot more often.”

Carl ia fa un paso a retro, con sua manos levada ante se. El ia deveni an plu pal su sua macia. “Como? No! Me vole dise – me no ia sabe! Me ia atenta aida!”

Charles took a step backward, his hands held up in front of him. He’d gone even paler under his makeup. “What? No! I mean – I didn’t know! I was trying to help!”

“La cosa la min nesesada, ami, es ce un colie de investigores joven de liseo ‘aida’ nos. Ta ce tu raconta lo a la judor.”

“The last thing we need is a bunch of high school Junior G-men ‘helping,’ buddy. You can tell it to the judge.”

Carl ia move denova a retro, ma Masha ia es rapida. El ia saisi sua polso e ia torse el par la mesma teni de judo en cual el ia pone ja me a la Sentro Munisipal. Sua mano ia tufa denova a sua poxes e ia sorti con un banda plastica, un securipolso, cual el ia bobini rapida sirca sua polsos.

He moved back again, but Masha was fast. She grabbed his wrist and twisted him into the same judo hold she’d had me in back at Civic Center. Her hand dipped back to her pockets and came out holding a strip of plastic, a handcuff strip, which she quickly wound around his wrists.

Acel ia es la cosa final cual me ia vide cuando me ia core a via.

That was the last thing I saw as I took off running.

Me ia ateni la otra fini de la stradeta ante cuando el ia recatura me, taclente me de pos e puxante me a la tera. Me no ia pote move multe rapida, no con mea pede ferida e la pesa de mea bolson. Me ia cade con atera bruta e ia lisca, raspante mea jena contra la asfalto mugrosa.

I made it as far as the other end of the alley before she caught up with me, tackling me from behind and sending me sprawling. I couldn’t move very fast, not with my hurt foot and the weight of my pack. I went down in a hard face-plant and skidded, grinding my cheek into the grimy asphalt.

“Cristo.” – el ia dise. “Tu es un fol de enferno. Tu no ia crede acel, si?”

“Jesus,” she said. “You’re a goddamned idiot. You didn’t believe that, did you?”

Mea cor ia pumi en mea peto. El ia es sur me e el ia permete lenta ce me leva.

My heart thudded in my chest. She was on top of me and slowly she let me up.

“Esce me debe securi tua polsos, Marcus?”

“Do I need to cuff you, Marcus?”

Me ia leva me per sta. Tota de me ia dole. Me ia vole mori.

I got to my feet. I hurt all over. I wanted to die.

“Veni.” – el ia dise. “Lo no es distante aora.”

“Come on,” she said. “It’s not far now.”

“Lo” ia es revelada como un camion de reloca en un stradeta de Colina Nob, con des-ses rotas e tan grande como un de la camiones sempre presente cual ia apare ancora a la cantos de San Francisco, con antenas abundante.

‘It’ turned out to be a moving van on a Nob Hill side-street, a sixteen-wheeler the size of one of the ubiquitous DHS trucks that still turned up on San Francisco’s street corners, bristling with antennas.

Ma esta ia ave “Reloca par Tre Xicos e un Camion” scriveda a la lado, e la tre xicos ia es multe evidente, entrante e sortinte de un tore alta de apartes con un fronton verde. Los ia porta mobilas en caxones, caxas con eticetas ordinada, cargante la camion con los, la un pos la otra, e pacinte los ala con cura.

This one, though, said “Three Guys and a Truck Moving” on the side, and the three guys were very much in evidence, trekking in and out of a tall apartment building with a green awning. They were carrying crated furniture, neatly labeled boxes, loading them one at a time onto the truck and carefully packing them there.

El ia pasea nos sirca la bloco a un ves, parente nonsasiada sur alga cosa, ma a la pasa seguente, el ia regarda la oios de la om ci garda la camion, un xice negra e plu vea con un sintur renal e gantos spesa. El ia ave un fas jentil e el ia surie a nos cuando Masha ia gida nos en modo rapida e casual longo la tre grados de la camion a en sua profonda. “Su la table grande.” – la om ia dise. “Nos ia lasa alga spasio per vos ala.”

She walked us around the block once, apparently unsatisfied with something, then, on the next pass, she made eye-contact with the man who was watching the van, an older black guy with a kidney-belt and heavy gloves. He had a kind face and he smiled at us as she led us quickly, casually up the truck’s three stairs and into its depth. “Under the big table,” he said. “We left you some space there.”

Plu ca un dui de la camion ia es plen, ma on ia ave un coredor streta sirca un table enorme con un covreleto colxada cual on ia lansa sur lo, e con plastica de bolas bobinida sirca sua gamas.

The truck was more than half full, but there was a narrow corridor around a huge table with a quilted blanket thrown over it and bubble-wrap wound around its legs.

Masha ia tira me a su la table. Lo ia es staniante e cuieta e polvosa ala a su, e me ia supresa un stornui en cuando nos ia crase nos a entre la caxas. La spasio ia es tan peti ce nos ia es presada contra lunlotra. Me ia pensa ce Anj no ta cabe ala.

Masha pulled me under the table. It was stuffy and still and dusty under there, and I suppressed a sneeze as we scrunched in among the boxes. The space was so tight that we were on top of each other. I didn’t think that Ange would have fit in there.

“Puta.” – me ia dise, regardante Masha.

“Bitch,” I said, looking at Masha.

“Clui la boca. Tu ta debe leca mea botas, grasiante me. Tu ia ta fini en prison pos un semana, du a la plu. No en Guantanamo de la Baia. Suria, cisa. Me crede ce on envia ala la persones sur ci on vole vera ce los desapare.”

“Shut up. You should be licking my boots thanking me. You would have ended up in jail in a week, two tops. Not Gitmo-by-the-Bay. Syria, maybe. I think that’s where they sent the ones they really wanted to disappear.”

Me ia pone mea testa sur mea jenos e ia atenta respira profonda.

I put my head on my knees and tried to breathe deeply.

“Tal o no, perce tu ta fa un cosa tan stupida como declara un gera contra Securia Interna?”

“Why would you do something so stupid as declaring war on the DHS anyway?”

Me ia raconta a el. Me ia raconta a el sur la aresta, e me ia raconta a el sur Darryl.

I told her. I told her about being busted and I told her about Darryl.

El ia colpeta sua poxes e ia trova un telefon. Lo ia es de Carl. “No esta.” El ia trova un otra telefon. El ia comuta lo e la brilieta de sua scermo ia pleni nosa fortres peti. Pos un secondo de diti lo, el ia mostra lo a me.

She patted her pockets and came up with a phone. It was Charles’s. “Wrong phone.” She came up with another phone. She turned it on and the glow from its screen filled our little fort. After fiddling for a second, she showed it to me.

Lo ia es la foto cual el ia fa de nos, direta ante la esplode de la bombas. Lo ia es la foto de Jolu e Van e me e —

It was the picture she’d snapped of us, just before the bombs blew. It was the picture of Jolu and Van and me and –



Me ia teni en mea mano un atesta ce Darryl ia es con nos a minutos ante cuando tota nos ia es arestada par Securia Interna.

I was holding in my hand proof that Darryl had been with us minutes before we’d all gone into DHS custody. Proof that he’d been alive and well and in our company.

“Tu debe dona a me un copia de esta.” – me ia dise. “Me nesesa lo.”

“You need to give me a copy of this,” I said. “I need it.”

“Pos nosa ariva en Los Angeles.” – el ia dise, resaisinte la telefon. “Pos cuando on va instrui tu sur la modo de es un fujor sin lasa ce ambos nos deveni caturada e transportada a Suria. Me no vole ce tu ave ideas de salva esta xico. El es sufisinte secur do el es – per aora.”

“When we get to LA,” she said, snatching the phone back. “Once you’ve been briefed on how to be a fugitive without getting both our asses caught and shipped to Syria. I don’t want you getting rescue ideas about this guy. He’s safe enough where he is – for now.”

Me ia pensa sur atenta prende lo de el par fortia, ma el ia demostra ja sua capasia fisical. El ia ave serta un sintur negra o simil.

I thought about trying to take it from her by force, but she’d already demonstrated her physical skill. She must have been a black-belt or something.

Nos ia senta ala en la oscur, escutante la tre xicos cargante la camion con caxa pos caxa, fisante cosas par cordas, jeminte su la labora pesosa. Me ia atenta dormi, ma no ia pote. Masha ia ave no tal problem. El ia ronci.

We sat there in the dark, listening to the three guys load the truck with box after box, tying things down, grunting with the effort of it. I tried to sleep, but couldn’t. Masha had no such problem. She snored.

Lus ia brilia ancora tra la coredor streta e blocida cual ia gida a la aira fresca esterna. Me ia fisa mea regarda a lo, tra la oscur, e ia pensa a Anj.

There was still light shining through the narrow, obstructed corridor that led to the fresh air outside. I stared at it, through the gloom, and thought of Ange.

Mea Anj. Sua capeles tanjente sua spalas cuando el ia turna sua testa de lado a lado, riente sur alga cosa cual me ia fa. Sua fas a mea vide final de el, cadente en la fola de Vampires Manadi. Tota acel persones a Vampires Manadi, como los en la parce, contorsente sur la tera, con ce Securia Interna ia prosimi con bastones. Los ci ia desapare.

My Ange. Her hair brushing her shoulders as she turned her head from side to side, laughing at something I’d done. Her face when I’d seen her last, falling down in the crowd at VampMob. All those people at VampMob, like the people in the park, down and writhing, the DHS moving in with truncheons. The ones who disappeared.

Darryl. Fisada sur Isola Tesoro, con lado suturida, prendeda de sua selula per un serie nonfininte de interogas sur la teroristes.

Darryl. Stuck on Treasure Island, his side stitched up, taken out of his cell for endless rounds of questioning about the terrorists.

La padre de Darryl, ruinada e alcolosa, nonrasada. Lavada e en sua uniforma, “per la fotos”. Larmante como un xico peti.

Darryl’s father, ruined and boozy, unshaven. Washed up and in his uniform, “for the photos.” Weeping like a little boy.

Mea propre padre, e como el ia es cambiada par mea desapare a Isola Tesoro. El ia es egal tan rompeda como la padre de Darryl, ma en sua propre modo. E sua fas, cuando me ia dise a el do me ia es.

My own father, and the way that he had been changed by my disappearance to Treasure Island. He’d been just as broken as Darryl’s father, but in his own way. And his face, when I told him where I’d been.

Esta ia es cuando me ia sabe ce me no pote fuji.

That was when I knew that I couldn’t run.

Esta ia es cuando me ia sabe ce me debe resta per batalia.

That was when I knew that I had to stay and fight.

La respira de Masha ia es profonda e regulada, ma cuando, con lentia glasial, me ia estende un mano en sua pox per sua telefon, el ia ensofla pico e ia move. Me ia sesa move e an no ia respira tra du minutos completa, contante: un-ipopotamo, du-ipopotamo, …

Masha’s breathing was deep and regular, but when I reached with glacial slowness into her pocket for her phone, she snuffled a little and shifted. I froze and didn’t even breathe for a full two minutes, counting one hippopotami, two hippopotami.

Lenta, sua respira ia profondi denova. Me ia estrae la telefon de sua pox de jaca par un milimetre pos un otra, e mea ditos e braso ia trema con la difisilia de move tan lenta.

Slowly, her breath deepened again. I tugged the phone free of her jacket-pocket one millimeter at a time, my fingers and arm trembling with the effort of moving so slowly.

E alora me ia ave lo, un cosa peti con forma de bara de confeto.

Then I had it, a little candy-bar shaped thing.

Me ia turna en dirije a la lus, cuando un recorda ia lampi a me: Carl, teninte sua telefon, ximinte los a nos, burlante nos. Lo ia es un telefon con forma de bara de confeto, arjento, covreda con logos de un desuple de companias cual ia suveni la custa de la aparato tra la compania de telefon. Lo ia es un telefon de la tipo cual obliga ce on escuta un comersial a cada ves de telefoni.

I turned to head for the light, when I had a flash of memory: Charles, holding out his phone, waggling it at us, taunting us. It had been a candy-bar-shaped phone, silver, plastered in the logos of a dozen companies that had subsidized the cost of the handset through the phone company. It was the kind of phone where you had to listen to a commercial every time you made a call.

Lo ia es tro oscur en la camion per vide clar la telefon, ma me ia pote palpa lo. Esce estas sur sua lados es decales de companias? Si? Si. Me ia veni de fura de Masha la telefon de Carl.

It was too dim to see the phone clearly in the truck, but I could feel it. Were those company decals on its sides? Yes? Yes. I had just stolen Charles’s phone from Masha.

Me ia returna lenta, lenta, e lenta, lenta, lenta, me ia repone mea mano en sua pox. Sua telefon ia es plu grande e masosa, con un camera plu bon e ci sabe cual otra cualias?

I turned back around slowly, slowly, and slowly, slowly, slowly, I reached back into her pocket. Her phone was bigger and bulkier, with a better camera and who knew what else?

Me ia fa esta a ja un ves – par esta causa, lo ia es pico plu fasil. Denova par milimetre pos milimetre, me ia tenta lo a estra sua pox, pausante a du veses cuando el ia ensofla e moveta.

I’d been through this once before – that made it a little easier. Millimeter by millimeter again, I teased it free of her pocket, stopping twice when she snuffled and twitched.

Me ia libri la telefon de sua pox aora, e me ia comensa retira me, cuando sua mano ia xuta a ante, rapida como un serpente, e ia saisi mea polso, forte, con sua puntos de ditos molente la peti osos delicata su mea mano.

I had the phone free of her pocket and I was beginning to back away when her hand shot out, fast as a snake, and grabbed my wrist, hard, fingertips grinding away at the small, tender bones below my hand.

Me ia fa un enspira subita e ia regarda la oios larga fisada de Masha.

I gasped and stared into Masha’s wide-open, staring eyes.

“Tu es tan stupida.” – el ia dise, conversal, prendente la telefon de me, picante la teclador con sua otra mano. “Como tu ia intende desclavi esta denova?”

“You are such an idiot,” she said, conversationally, taking the phone from me, punching at its keypad with her other hand. “How did you plan on unlocking this again?”

Me ia engoli. Me ia sensa osos raspante contra lunlotra en mea polso. Me ia morde mea labio per evita esclama.

I swallowed. I felt bones grind against each other in my wrist. I bit my lip to keep from crying out.

El ia continua pica con sua otra mano. “Esce tu ia pensa ce tu va evade con esta?” El ia mostra a me la foto de tota nos, Darryl e Jolu, Van e me. “Esta foto?”

She continued to punch away with her other hand. “Is this what you thought you’d get away with?” She showed me the picture of all of us, Darryl and Jolu, Van and me. “This picture?”

Me ia dise no cosa. Mea polso ia pare a punto de frati.

I didn’t say anything. My wrist felt like it would shatter.

“Cisa me ta debe simple dejeta lo, prende la tenta a via de tu.” Sua mano libre ia move plu. Sua telefon ia demanda a el esce el es serta, e el ia debe regarda lo per trova la bon boton.

“Maybe I should just delete it, take temptation out of your way.” Her free hand moved some more. Her phone asked her if she was sure and she had to look at it to find the right button.

Esta es cuando me ia move. Me ia ave ancora la telefon de Carl en mea otra mano, e par lo me ia fa un marteli tan forte como posible a sua mano crasente, colpante mea nocas contra la table a supra. Me ia colpa sua mano en modo tan forte ce la telefon ia frati, e el ia abaia e sua mano ia destensa. Mea mano ia move ancora, en dirije a sua otra mano, a la telefon aora desclavida con sua diton ancora flotante supra la boton de confirma. Sua ditos ia spasma contra aira vacua cuando me ia aranca la telefon de sua mano.

That’s when I moved. I had Charles’s phone in my other hand still, and I brought it down on her crushing hand as hard as I could, banging my knuckles on the table overhead. I hit her hand so hard the phone shattered and she yelped and her hand went slack. I was still moving, reaching for her other hand, for her now-unlocked phone with her thumb still poised over the OK key. Her fingers spasmed on the empty air as I snatched the phone out of her hand.

Me ia move longo la coredor streta sur manos e jenos, en dirije a la lus. Me ia sensa sua manos palminte mea pedes e talos a du veses, e me ia debe puxa a lado alga de la caxas cual ia muri nos como un faraon en un tomba. Un pico de los ia cade pos me, e me ia oia un plu jemi de Masha.

I moved down the narrow corridor on hands and knees, heading for the light. I felt her hands slap at my feet and ankles twice, and I had to shove aside some of the boxes that had walled us in like a Pharaoh in a tomb. A few of them fell down behind me, and I heard Masha grunt again.

La porte rolante de la camion ia es abrida como un fesur, e me ia tufa a lo, serpente a estra su lo. On ia sutrae ja la grados, e me ia trova ce me pende supra la via, liscante a lo con prima mea testa, rebondinte me de la asfalto con un pum cual ia resona en mea oreas como un gongo. Me ia trepa rapida a sur mea pedes, teninte la paracolpa, e ia tira panicada la manico de porte a su, batente lo a clui. A interna, Masha ia xilia – me suposa ce me ia catura la puntos de sua ditos. Me ia senti ce me va vomiti, ma me no ia fa lo.

The rolling truck door was open a crack and I dove for it, slithering out under it. The steps had been removed and I found myself hanging over the road, sliding headfirst into it, clanging my head off the blacktop with a thump that rang my ears like a gong. I scrambled to my feet, holding the bumper, and desperately dragged down on the door-handle, slamming it shut. Masha screamed inside – I must have caught her fingertips. I felt like throwing up, but I didn’t.

En loca, me ia usa la securador pendente per clavi la camion.

I padlocked the truck instead.

Esta paje es presentada con la lisensa CC Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.
Lo ia es automatada jenerada de la paje corespondente en la Vici de Elefen a 11 otobre 2023 (19:42 UTC).