Doors Closing

Lumb blinked in, looked around, blinked out. Arnauld would be seconds behind him, less if it was young Arnauld, with young Arnauld’s reflexes and adrenaline production. Two blinks ago he’d seen a forest, daytime, probably morning from the dewy sheen on the leaves. Then a concrete corridor, lit by bare incandescent bulbs spaced too far apart. This last time, a beach at dusk, the sun low on the horizon, a low tide teasing the sand. Then…

A busy subway platform, just behind a pillar, just as the train arrived. Bingo. Lumb slipped into the throng and then the train, traded his hat for one lifted from an exiting passenger’s coat pocket, reversed his jacket from exterior-blue to liner-red.

Arnauld would know within seconds that he hadn’t blinked again, but by then Lumb would be one face in ten thousand, somewhere on the train or on the platform or hurrying up the steps onto the city street. He’d have to—


Arnauld sat behind him, holding a newspaper. Under the paper, there’d be a gun, and Arnauld’s Blinky, and a Bracelet slaved to the Blinky. “I’ve disabled yours, so don’t bother.” He handed the Bracelet forward.

“…I almost got away.”


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