Kenzie was running for more than her life, she was running for her soul and she had never run faster in her life.
The scarab was emitting a low hum from her breast pocket as she lurched between shadows. The streets were darker in this area of the city and offered her greater protection from the Watchers. She could feel the vibration from the scarab reaching her very core and knew her worth was being tested by the sacred amulet. So far, it hadn’t betrayed her whereabouts, a sign she was considered worthy to be its new master even if she didn’t succeed in dethroning the current one.
She reached the corner of the street and hunched with her hands on her knees, she needed a minute to regroup and plan her next move.
“Come on, Kenzie. Think” she muttered to herself, she wasn’t prepared for the chase tonight, she hadn’t planned to steal the scarab and was now realising that without a watertight escape plan she could well be dead by sunrise. She couldn’t afford to pause for long, the Watchers were skilled in the chase and she had likely left neon clues lighting up her chosen escape route.
The three possible routes from her corner all looked identical and she could have taken any of them in a bid to disappear on any other night, but tonight she had to get to her destination in one piece so she turned left and sprinted down towards James Street, the scarab weighing heavily in her shirt and on her heart.
Kenzie hoped her sharp rap would be heard first time, she could ill afford to stand on the street trying to attract Gabe’s attention. She knocked again, louder this time without giving him time to respond to the first attempt and was relieved to hear the familiar sound of Gabe’s bare feet hitting the stone floor of the entrance hall beyond.
“Who is it?” Came Gabe’s uneasy voice from beyond the door.
Kenzie leaned up to the door so he could hear without the need to shout, “Gabe, it’s Kenz, open the door”
The key turned in the lock and the doorchain hit the wood softly as it was unhitched and left to swing against the door.
A sleepy Gabe stood behind the black, dirt-smudged front door dressed only in a pair of pyjama bottoms.
“Kenz, whatcha doing here? It’s 2am, you have your own house, remember?” He looked up and down the street as Kenzie pushed past him into the hall. “Did you walk? Where’s your car?”
Kenzie turned to face Gabe “Christ, what’s happened to you?”
Kenzie didn’t answer, instead she turned into the living room and pulled the curtains closed.
“Close the door Gabe, use all the locks.”
“Kenzie, what the hell is going on? Is someone harassing you? Have you been clubbing again and attracted a Friday night admirer?”
Kenzie didn’t answer, instead she sprinted through to the kitchen to check the door and windows in there.
“Kenz, answer me! Do we need to call the police? What’s going on? You’re freaking me out here”
Kenzie pulled the roller blind down over the kitchen window, closed her eyes and took a couple of deep breaths. It didn’t help to calm her now frantic heart and the amulet was reaffirming its presence with a new subtle heat to go with the gentle hum it still emitted .
“I’m sorry Gabe.” She said, shaking her downturned head. “I’m so sorry, I’ve completely screwed it up.”
“Screwed what up?
“Our plan, I’m so sorry. I was there, it was there, I took it.”
“Took what Kenz? You’re starting to worry me now, where’ve you been?” Gabe started to stride over to where Kenzie was stood. Kenzie looked up as she reached into her shirt pocket stopping Gabe in his tracks as she opened her hand to reveal her bounty.
“Oh shit Kenzie, what have you done?”