Continued from February 22, 2018
Claire felt that Justin’s approval was unnecessary, but she still thought that he was right about changing her clothes. Standing in the lobby, she appeared to be a homeless woman accompanied by an elderly man.
The pair left the building, turning toward City hall which was only a few blocks away. The trip was awkward for Claire. She still hadn’t adjusted to the emptiness of the city. The cars that lined the streets and filled the parking lots made her think that everyone was just sleeping.
When she looked to the west, toward the outer portions of the city she saw black, billowing smoke, that would have otherwise caused any number of fire stations to respond, but there was no one to respond to the fire. There wasn’t anyone to respond to any emergencies, and very suddenly, even in the company of Justin, Claire felt very alone in the world.
“There’s a fire over there.” She said pointing to the smoke.
“There are a lot of fires.” Justin said, “When the people went away, they weren’t warned. It would only be logical that some of them were doing things that could start a fire without supervision.”
They crossed congress street and walked into the Old Port in silence. This portion of Portland had always been alive with people at nearly every hour of the day. Often she would take lunch near here with Goldman and they would discuss the latest of whatever case they were investigating.
“Goldman is there.” Justin said, holding his hand out as he stopped moving. He was pointing to a local brew-pub that Goldman frequented many times before everything started. “I’ll wait here, but not for long. If the others come looking for you, they will likely try to kill him.”
“I understand.” Claire responded as she ran for the entrance to the establishment.
“Haskel!” Goldman cried as she burst through the door. “I was worried about you!”
“I was worried about you too!” Claire said as she threw her arms around him. “Are you day drinking again?”
“Yes.” He admitted looking down at the floor, “With you taken by those crazies, and everyone else gone, I didn’t know what else to do.”
“They aren’t crazies, Goldman. There is a lot going on that you don’t understand.” Claire said, “I don’t have a lot of time, but I wanted to see you and talk to you before things got harder.”
“Before things got harder?” He repeated.
“The runes on our foreheads.” Claire said, motioning to Goldman’s. “They mean that you and I are going to try to kill each other soon. We are going to decide if the world burns or is reborn.”
“That’s crazy talk, Haskel. I didn’t take you for the type that would buy into stuff like that.” He said, sitting back at the bar.
“It’s not crazy, Goldman. I swear to you. We’ve been partners for a long time, you should trust me by now when I tell you things like this.”