Chapter Six


Nash Equilibrium.


I only heard about it recently. It’s one of those pseudo science things. You know, the one where everyone knows it instinctively but some scientist felt like adding his name to it and specifying a specific complex set of generalized ambiguous rules in order to have some fame or recognition..


Stupid really, I often wonder if the world’s top scientists are exactly the same as every moron that you’ll ever find on the internet.


The Nash Equlibrium is simple. It’s the idea of best response. The state that all players in a game will reach mainly by working together unconsciously, by picking the best course of action in their turn, the choice that has the least risk whilst still aimingfor a certain amount of benefit.


Each player will take into account the actions of the other players and the other players will do the same and they’ll all do what’ll be consider their best move in respect to everyone’s elses rule.


It was hard to apply it to the game, but I figured it would go like this, with the knowledge I now have that there are definitely others involved. If everyone involved got the same information I did, then we all know the same amount. Therefore our courses of action should have followed the same route. It stands to reason that no one would just jump into the game without hesitation. Even lunatics and previous murderers actions would have been halted by the suspicion that such an envelope would bring with it. A rational person would then try to accrue more information, possibly getting as far as I did. Maybe some of them would have met up and spoke over it, but most would have been fearful of approaching. Since people would have considered things both in the eyes of a hunter and a bounty, people would have come to the logical conclusion that to a bounty, having their hunter approach them might make them reactive, since the person would almost definitely be a stranger and would be for certain suspicious. Unless they acted hastily, it was unlikely a hunter would do this. Even so, a hunter could probably explain the situation, reveal himself to the bounty of being a rational person and both sides would have calmed down after leaving one another.


Of course, irrational actions could have occurred and led to violence and, yes, the possibiliyy of a hunter murdering a bounty.


But such an action would be grevious to the hunter. He would become overly paranoid of himself and hold back on his actions. Running away, turning himself in, going into hiding. Even if he would become delusional by the event, it would not mean he would become a pawn to this scanario. He would likely start killing at random, or go crazy in some other manner in the days between


At the start of the second turn, all participants should have come to the Nash conclusion, the action of least risk and most benefit in accordance with that risk. And that would be not to play at all. Such a sum of money isn’t worth a person’s life. Even if it was to some participants, they would be more concerned with protecting themselves than heading out to hunt themselves.


And that’s even taking into account that everyone would be able to find one another as well.


A lot would remain clueless as where their bounty was. In the short time available, most wouldn’t even be able to plan in consideration of everything else.


So by the end of the first turn, the only one who should have died is Mr. Betterman himself and perhaps others that got into saccidents or non related incident.


So then…why am I here.


Why am I trapped in this brightly illuminated disabled toilets, behind an occupied door at a fast food restaurant that I hate, slumped over a pool of liquid I’m sure isn’t water.


Why am I being shot at by a sniper?


No matter how I think about it, even if I’m willing to accept that somebody would actually use their intial fifty grand to go out and by a sniper rfe, I can’t accept that people are just willing to go out there in full hitman mode by the second turn. In the space of a week, a person can’t be driven that insane.


Can they?


Fuck! I can’t believe this is happening. Getting up,, slowly, like I hadn’t risen ina  thousand years, I feel the water pur down my jacket as I look to myself in the mirror. Without my glasses, I look blurry, but I can still see enough to see how pathetic I am.


I’m trapped here. My own prison. My own solitude. The person looks back at me in the mirror, knowing their just as screwed and their face contorts into a wave of tears before disappearing.


I am going to die.


The game didn’t need to be real. I realize that now. It gave itself enough of a postion to make itself real to the people involved. Under my own situation I can see many others deciding it was right to start to kill. I received the bounty for Mr. Betterman, and it could have been well earned. All I would need is to find what bar he hung out in that that, brought my friend and got them hideously drunk, before planting the suggestion in his head and setting him off in my Astra. How easy wuld it be, under any situation.


No one ever expects they are going to die on that particular.


Except soldiers and criminals maybe.


God, what am I even thinking about? I’m just wasting time in my own head, going over crap that I learnt off the internet and making myself sound like an expert. All that guy needs to do is follow me here and wait outside. He knows my face. He’s seen it through that bifocal magnified lens. He’s studied every contour of the cheeks, te dip of my nose. He saw my squinting eyes through designer lens as I turned to face him, missing for whatever reason occurred to him that second.


He intended me for me to die right there and now he’s coming to finish me off.


What am I going to do?




What am I really going to do?


You’re to stop playing these little…games, and start taking your life seriously.


Oh great, my head’s going int a flashback.


This is serious. If I win this, then…


And do you honestly think you’ll stand a chance. These people are professional. You think you can just go there with your toys and be the winning underdog.


But I already beat the champion ina friendly anyway. And they’re not toys!


Yes they are. And what’s worse they’re toying with your life. I was willing to let this carry on when you were younge because it gave you something better to do than go out smoking andtrying to pull boysr, but your fifteen now and you need to focus on your studies.


My studies are fine dad.


But thy need to be better. I’m not going to let you waste your life like I did mine. You’ll study hard. We all know you’ve got the potential. You’ve just got to grab at it. Even if you don’t want it now, you’ll realize it later. A university degree is the key to unlocking all sorts of jobs. With that you can get a good salary and do what you want.


But what I want to do is this?


Why couldn’t I have just chosen to play games.


I’ll admit, going to university gave me many things that I would have gone without if I weren’t careful.


But if I realized that all it was going to be for was for such a boring life, I would have kicked the dean in the nuts during the inauguration.


People don’t need strategy nowadays. They need doctors and lawyers and psychologists. You can make a lot of money working these jobs and they’ll all pay off. That’s what you women want, isn’t it? A chance to be like the men?


My father never did make theright  connections in his brain, but I couldn’t say no to him.


I ddn’t stop the games. Well…maybe a little. I had to with the extra commitments at university, working every garment of clothing off to get top marks.


And what did it amount to? Two sheets of paper and a data entry temping job that had no end in site, spending every day wishing I was at home playing games.


But through no fault of their own, even the games had gotten stale.


Dad’s fault again, demeaning them.


Didn’t he understand? Of course not. There was nothing to understand for someone like him. He was the type that would have bullied me back at school for messing around with these ‘little toys’, just not getting it, and ruining it for everyone else at the same time.


Searching for a meaning you didn’t care about got you nowhere.


It just wasted my life.


And now someone was going to take it.




It wasn’t their life to take.


It wasn’t their life to play around with.


It’s mine.


How dare they try to take my life away.


How dare they?


Smash the mirror, I think after I’ve already done it, seeing the shards break towards gravity and fall into the sink, scattering around and sinking to the plughole, where they can’t escape. Destroy that wretched face that liveda meaningless life. My life has value. More value than most. So why was it everythin was holding me bacl. Shouldn’t I be allowed to shine? Shouldn’t I be allowed to have meaning? Not just another drone in a nother officewith credentials no one cares about and qualifications that mean nothing to people with less potential than me?


Why was I playing that game anyway?


Why was I letting myself be played by a completely different game?


All of these creatures that call themselves humans, that mingle and flock around me, that abandon their ambitions and dreams for the romise of cheap wine and even cheaper tobacco. Why do I let myself suffer under them? Do I tell myself it’s just temporary, when I kow that’s forever further from the truth. I’ve heard it a dozen times before. If I don’t make myself change, I never will. Yet here I am, doing what my father think’s is best for me, doing what society whants me to do, lying to my friends just so they don’t worry about the pitfall my vice free life has stuck me in.


Even without drugs and alcohol, I’m as addicted as any fool to this life in this society that weaens us.


And now I was going to pay with my life.


Well, I wasn’t going to play their games.


I’m going to play mine.


I won’t become a hunter. I won’t be controlled by the petty and the manipulative. I won’t be made to get a meaningless job in a society that restricts me, or become a hunter in a game that’ll force me to kill.


I’ll play by my own rules.


Thos who dare stand in my way, will suffer.


Starting with that sniper.


I breath deep. I’ve fallen back onto the floor again, my hand stinging with the rush of broken glass. It seems like no one’s come to check up if they’re a problem. It ounds loud out there. That’s good for the moment.


I reach for my phone, having slipped ut of my pocket when I collapsed. Flipping it open, I hit for James’ number on speeddial, then hear the buzz as he gets put through.


“Jenn, you alright?” He sounds seriously.


“yeah, I’m fine,” I tell him, keeping my voice steady, It’s still a little shook up for the attack, but it’ll clear.


“Where are yu?”


“I had to go somewhere,” I answer ambiguously. “Listen, are you still on the high street?”


“Yeah, are you coming to meet us  back here or…”


“Not yet, I’m doing something. What building’s at the top of the street?”




“I said,” stressfully this time, “What building is at the very top of the street? What’s the first building you can see?”


“Erm, it’s the shopping center I think,” he finally replied. I didn’ want to waste time trying not to confuse him. “is there something wrong.”


“No, thank you. I’ll speak to you soon.” The shopping center, I think as I remove him voice from the toilet. “That makes sense. There were ways to get onto that roof and below was a public building. With little security, a sniper could get p there easy with just a briefcase, finish the job and then get back down without a problem.I didn’t know the other surrounding buldings that well apart from the shops, but I that would have been the best choice.


I need to get there without being spotted.


The toilet door swings open and I step out. Going out the foot way would be dangerous, so I instead head straight for the counter, by[assign the queue and swinging under, pass the teenagers who stared at me vividly as I invaded their frying sanctum. With my eyes off them, I don’t think they were ready to challenge me for suddenly passing through and before they could do anything I was out the back door.


Stepping into a side alley and feeling an aroma of trash assault my nose, I turn for the street that passes adjacent to the high street. I needed to get to that building as soon as possible. I had already wasted ten minutes or so and I neededto getto him before he disappeared.


Since it was only the second turn, amateurish mistakes were going to be made, the fact that he missed with five bullets shows his lack of skill. However, I should not go rushing in making the assumptinthat he is unskilled. I should approach him as if he were a zen master of sniper. As if he could imagine himself as the person who decides to target, as the eye who finds the target, as the reticle who places the target in his sight, as the gun which hold the bullet, as the trigger who’s silent tick is the marker to end the life, as the bullet who would shoot through the air, as the target that will be hit, as the one who will die.


Assuming too little of people is what’s got me into this situation. Assuming too much of people is what trapped me in my life. Now, I will only assume people to be perfect killers. Otherwise I will lose.


A perfect killer would move from his current position after taking those shots, and would be currently looking for me. Falling out onto the next street I dive into a clothes shop. Pulling my bag out I straight up buy a pair of combats exactly my size, as well as a long sleeved black shirt and a pair of gloves. I also toss in a bandana and asked if I can wear them out of the store. I waste three minues.


Balaclva in hand, I take up the road, observing the rooftops, looing out from men with briefcases. There are too many people who could potentially be the murderer, and I know he plans to kill me in public regardless of witnesses. I start to pace briskly up the hill, until I reach the doors of the shopping center.


The shopping center is a three floor open building with shops built in on all sides while droves of humans crowd around for their latest bargins. Anyone can hide in this place with reasonable success. Trying to pick out someone suspicious here wouldn’t be easy, nor possibly necessary. I move on, walking around the flowerpots and carts selling squished passion fruits, listening out for anything that says someone strange passed by an old lady.


A sniper is likely to be a man, of reasonable build. Sniper rifles are heavy, no matter what the games tell me and som will take time to set up. From the top of the hill to the bottom where I last got shot is roughly onehundred and fifty minutes, plus the height of the building gives him a large range. He wouldn’t have had to have moved far.


My head buzzes with possible information that may be necessary for my survival. It pings me with details relating to how this may end up. With what’s going on, what would be the best way t dispose of Mr. Sniper?


Assuming he is the greatest assassin on earth, it is likely that, apart from a sniper rifle, he would also have short ranged weapons, such as a handgun and knife. He may also be a skilled hand to hand combat fighter. No, he will be. He’ll also have trained senses and a developed mental state.


If that’s the case, then there’s a high chance he’d have moved to a bteer sniping point. It’s also likely that, after discerning my identity, he had been trailing me for sometime. Hhe more than likely knows where I live, and how I got into town. If anything, he’ll focus in that direction.


Unfortunately, I don’t know when this current turn ends. If I did, I might be able to conclude whether he’d give up today and try again tomorrow, or whether he’s riding on the kill happening today. In that case, it’s better that I don’t know as it might make me go lax. As I’ve learnt from Mr. Betterman, I could easily rationalize to myself. If I’m not careful, I might gloss this all over and go back to my normal life., telling myself I overreacted. Therefore, I should assume that I might die at any moment. If I at least keep aware of my surroundings, I should be given some sign before he strikes, though that relies partly on luck, but I have nothing else at the moment.


Whilst I don’t want to rely on luck, I am without resources. The best option would appear to be to find someway to destroy the building with him in it and not worry about it any further. Hwever, this would not note the fact that he could have left at any time and ,while I was being lax, went ahead and killed me in my sleep.


First, I need to confirm the presence of the sniper. I don’t need his name. Just that he holds the gun that tried to shootnme. To do that, I need to get to the roof, but since he might have already moved on, I’ll need to be able to find him.


I passed by a camera store ‘Perfect.” The fat man at the counter turned to me with a smile as I entered his establishment. All around him were littered telescopes and cameras and binoculars, everything that were lens existed in here.


“Good day to you mam,” he said politely. “How can I help you.”


A telescope was out of the question. Would these people actually sell zoom in sy goggles. If not, I’d need a decent digital video camera. Hopefully, this guy knows what he’s talking about.


“I’m looking for something with a good zoom to it, either binoculars or a video camera,” I told him straight up. “I have about two minutes to catch the bus and money is not an issue.”


I left the store one minute thrity seconds with the best video camra in the shop. Outragously expensive, I would have never considered it a few weeks back. Already fully charged thanks to the battery I bought off one of the stand models, I put it together as I walked, discarding the box in a passing bin.


Now, I’d be able to find him. But what then? No matter how I thought this through, I couldn’t just approach him, even dressed different and with a blunt weapon. The perfect assassin wouldn’t let me get near him unless he wanted me to, and as long as he knew my face, he held the advantage.


This time, and this time only, I’ll have to take a risk. I’ll have to assue going home tonight and going to sleep like usual will simply result in me staining the covers and never waking up again. I’ll have to assume that I am going to need to do something now if I am even going to make it out of this store, even if that somethingis incredibly stupid. For now, I may have to kill to save myself.


Next time, it would be very different.


For now, it would be best to approach him from behind. To do that best I’ll need a weapon. A local kitchen appliance store gives the obvious answer, and I buy myself a serated butcher’s knife that looks like it was designed for the masterchef. I feel a little unsteady holding such a weapon in public, but I can only carry it in its leather sheath, since a plastic bag would make noise.


Would this be enough? No, it’ll have to be. I don’t exactly want to go up there to die, but I won’t be letting anyone kill me either. I’ll go up there and take care of him however I see it. It’s all he deserves after putting me through this.


Hitting the escalators, I keep track of where I’ve wandered through the shopping center. The main entrance faced downhill and the sniper should be in that area too. I’ve slowly moved up to the back of the sopping center, which will allow me to approach him from behind. At the outskirts, I see security doors that I would normally avoid that any other normal person and take to them when I see it is clear. They make little sound as I rattle the bar open and the stairs are on the next corner.


This is it. I stop, examining the laminated carpeting as if every inch may contain a small explosive. It was a bit too far to assume he would set explosives ahead of time in a public place, but I could take nothing to chance. Since he took the shopping center as his location to strike from, it is easy to assume that he may have come up these stairs as well. Of course, there are others in which he could have taken, which is again why I chose the back one. By that logic hough, he would have chosen this building most likely out of ease of access, the fact that he would not not the ability to enter other buildings without causing some fuss. Because of this, it’s also possible to assume thathe would not have time to set up any traps in case I turned on him. A check of the surroundings shows he appears to have not in this stairwell.


I travel to the top, taking my time with my digital camera and butchersknife.Using the small adjustable screen, I flip the camera around eachlength of the stairwell first, to make sure its clear. Then I check for signs of interferences, mainly tripwire or items n the roof, but there aren’t even other cameras hee it seems. I move slowly to prevent unnecessary strain and I ascend without aggravation.


I stop at the door as it looms in front of me. This was a clear point of no return for me and it was as easy to recognize as the full situation was to me. Go through this door, and it would all change for me.I had to make sure I was ready. There are surely other thigs I can do to prepare. Looking down, I take my shoes off. Being stealthy even with these low platforms would still be difficult as opposed to going barefoot., and my sports shocks should provide some comfort cover against the ground.


Should I conceal the knife in my sleeve. That might be handy. If he were to stop me, he may think me unarmed and try to get in closer, though assuming he has a handgun he may just look to execute me when I was in his sights. Also, I’d have to tuck it in without the sheath, and that wouldprbably but the new shirt up. No, I should hold it the entire time.


The video camera should be tied to m though. He may disappear and I may need its vision again during any ruckus, wheras I might just drop it at any time if I weren’t careful. Wrapping it around my right arm and tying it with a cloe hitch, I steady the knife in my other hand.


Was I sure of this?


I could spend all day hypothessing. What if he has grenades? What if he knows I’m already standing here? What if he has allies? It wouldn’t matter. I have to make my stand here.


Slowly, I open the door.




The wind immediately met me with a sudden unwelcomed rush and for a moment I thought I was moving towards a helicopter. Holding the door like a rabid ferret looking to kill everyone in the room, I pulled myself to the outside world.


With all the buildings in the way on the city streets, I didn’t notice what a beautifu day it was, but this wasn’t the time for that.. The roof of the building was mostly open. Judging by the glancing light that hit my eyes, he should hae been slighty to the right on top from where I was facing. Sitting there was a small maintenance shed with the door hanging open. From here it looked unoccupied, the only residents I could see being some electrical equipment plastered to the wall and a few buckets.


Luckily, other than the small incove that the stairwell door came out of, this was the only part of this building that was obscured from my current view, anything else on top here being too insignificant to note.


Which meant that if the hunter was here, it would only be in two places. First, carefully, I checked above me, looking to see tif the hunter may have been there waiting for me to see him before picking me off into oblivion. I cursed but held back, moving on quickly, slowly treading my way around the incove, making sure it was clear. It was clear it was and I breathed again


So if he was here, it would only be by that maintanence building. I quickly scoured the surrounding buildings. Zooming in and out as best I could with a knife in hand and the winds blowing. Each buildingtop in the surrounding area told me the same story though. There was no where there. Had I come too late?


Regardless, I know it’s stupid to turn around now. I was not trained in tracking myself and the perfect assassin would have excellent urban camoflaugue. I would simply have to check the surrounding area.


With hesitant stes and a pose I had earnt from videogames, I took off in its direction, slowly arcing around it to see what was insid. I sincerely hoped they’d be no dcts of any kind in there and was glad to see that, for once, the ducts up here would be too small for humans anyway.


Maybe there was no oen there.


So then there should be no harm in checking.


some buildings are blocked off by the maintanence block as well. It’s made out of brick like the rest of the building, and I sbaout ten feet high by itself. If I check the open door first… I apporoach softly, holding my knife carefully.It beter not be some innocent technician here now. At this rate I’m ready to stab anyone that comes near me. I only need to pop my head in and out for a second. Don’t give the person time to react and let them screw up by wasting a shit on air.


Holding my breath, I dip in and out of the door.


Nothing. The light peered through the small room efficiently. And a secondary check confirmed for me. There was noon here nor were they hiding. Not closing the door, I looked to the ladder by the door. I figure it must be there for the purpose of the aerial on top, and I climbed quickly to check if the sniper had planeted himself there. It would appear the perfect spot to some, but it was more open than behind the little building itself. Knowing that, I decided not to climb over to see if the sniper was on the other side and headed back down.


So…if he was here, it would be round the other side. Switching the knife between my hands, more to dry them than ease of motion, I headed round the corner. There was no better way of doing this, but I chose he right hand sideas it’s where the door was and slowly moved round, again dipping in and out at the last second.




The five minutes slow pursuit across the hundred meters of building had left me with nothing bt a deserted building roof and clenched teeth protected my lungs from the cold. Had he left? Was he every here. There was no signs of anything. Could I have got the wrong building. There were others nearby, and he could have easily moved buildings.




There was something else, nagging. What had I missed?


The roof was empty.


Where were the birds?


Was it too much to expect? That there would have been birds around here. The place was littered with droppings scattered left and right, but there were no built up areas xcept for around here.


That means it must have been significant.


Someone had definitely been here recently, and scared the birds off. It was actually possible they had used some chemical to deter them, but now wasn’t the time to look for that.


And yet I had ignored such insiginificant details just a moment ago.


I had to keep my wits though. Looking for te hunter would be more effective with the video camera than by checking the patterns of birds.. I stepped to the far side of the mainannce building again and began scanning the buildings next to me. To be honest, almost half an hour had passed since the first shot from now, though I couldn’t be entirely sure of the time. For all I know he had taken off in my direction right from the start. If that was the case I would definitely lose him and have no choice but to spend the next few nights away from home and work until I get the next envelope, though even then it may be just the same.It sickened mefor that this game had trapped me in such a bind like this and I could almost…




Hard to tell at first, I brought the camera to my eye and looked through the black and white viewfinder, zooming in on the maximum. And there it was.


A man, mid twenties, laying down, just partly over the edge of the building itself, enough to get the gun over but not enough so that others could see him. Black hair from here, and dressed in black like myself. Besides him was a briefcase (memory note: he also has a duffle bag). He had moved then. In fat, he had moved to a spot where he would have caught me if I had come out of the junction on the street where the fast food restaurant was. Having figured I wouldn’t go back the way I came, he must have decided I would eventually emerge from that point.


It may have been instinct, but it was a good job I had used the service exit for the restaurant.


Was he just too patient for his own good, or was he moving back and forth. Maybe he didn’t have any further plans for todaynd if this failed then hed start afresh, but he was intent on making sure he wasn’t going to blunder by giving up.


Either way, h was in my sights now.


Advantage mine.


I moved back to the far side of the building, as far away from him as possible. Even if I did this, where he wuld be hidden by the maintenance shed f that building, I would still be able to tell if he moved away from his current spot. The sun was to the side of us, so that wouldn’t get in our ay (though it occurred to me it had saved my life earlier). The only way he could escape now would be if he jumped off the side of the building, which was possible, but I’d have to play that for now.


Next…what should I do?


The building was four across. Even considering the layout of shops and the fact that side doors were usually glazed over, it should be easy for me to figure out which one is the one he’s standing on. If I’m right, it’s the arcade. Entry to that rooftop might be a little bizarre and would definitely have some form of security, but I did know the manager, it might not be too difficult to get access to the roof at any time.


But that way I’d definitely lose track of him. Even with the viewfinder it’s still not the best shot of him. F I lose his face now I won’t be able toremeber enough of it to recall him at a later time.


Should I…jump over the buildings?


Looking down, all I could really see were the walls looming down into a pit of a side alley filled with rubbish. If I screwed this up, it’s obvious that even that amount of trash wouldn’t break my fall, and the building that would inconsiderately get in the way would also be an issue.


A risk I was willing to take?


It had to be.


I secured the camera, looking behind me and quickly flashing forwards again, not wanting to lose signs that he may have moved. I step backwards, figuring out the best run up and I hod tightly to the camera. Part of me said how dumb it was to do so, but I did not want to risk it rattling to alert the guy who was four all of a sudden very far buildings away.

I go for it,s printing suddenly and pushing all of my legs into it, reaching the end and stopping myself by diving away. What was I doing? Was I going to let a little gap bother me? I went for it again, brshing myself off. The last thing I need to do is break this camera.


I launched myself,this time giving myself no choice but to jump or fall. I choose the the secret middle option and collapse on the edge,, my elbows and breasts saving me from ornage brick and assorted trashland doom doom.


I hiss, the pain stabbing at me as the gravel roofing reveals its hidden spikes. Slowly pulling up, I crawl miserably to the other side, panting from one simple action, my heart setting up a schedule to head for the gym.


And I had to do it again.


I thought it would gte easier, but the second jump proves more of a challenge than the first, even with short distances I find myself just hanging on with my fingernails, imagining my hunter to pop over me like a bad thriller movie. I lift up though, and take myself over for the next building.

As I pace myself, I indly begin to suspect he has done something with the birds. There are none here at all. I can’t complain though. I’d be full of holes iby now if they were here.


Withone more to go, I launch over it far easier than I did the last two and actually land feet first. I quickly scamper to hide behind the door to a stairwell, glad the the wind is still as loud as ever. I confrm that only I know I’m up here, and move forwards.


From what I could tell, he hadn’t moved. He was still there waiting for me, waiting for that foolish little girl who believed that everyone would choose their safety over money. That everyone would value life equally or, at the least, their own sanity. How dare this guy prove her wrong?I turn the corner. He’s here! And he hasn’t noticed me.


The knife is still firmly in my vibrating hand (she tosses it over first each time). From here I can see him clearly. Definitely mid twentes. Black hair. Caucasion. His vital statistics stream over me as I stare down at him. He truly doesn’t know I’m here. I find myself frozen with the anticipation if some kind of sixth sense saves him from me, but he does nothing. Just sits perched. He’s definitely real, or an elabourate fake that can breath and mutter to himself. I see he’s wearing headphones, which seems weird.


Moving ever closer, finally besides him, I look down to him, and then the knife in my hand. If I do this right I don’t have to kill him. Surely I can wound him enough to send him to the hospital and away from me, but even then wouldn’t i?


Whatever. I should at least stun him for now and decide what happens next when I’m safe. It’s clear he wants to kill me and I stop all thought completely, bracing myself above him, hanging the knife up high, ready to drive it down on top of im and deliver divine judgement.


This is what you get for threatening me?

“This is Jack Bauer from CTU. I need to speak with the president immediatweey.”


I forze, my body tensed. That instant, I was stone, while he was a flurry of movement, his ears picking up my mobile phone even behind the headphones. We turned to look at each other, both our eyes telling us the same shock at being caught. I try to react first and bring the knife down, but abandon it when my hands hit hit rifle, puled up to defending himself. Now I’m on top, with onlyexhausted strength and ???stones of body weight to back me up. He curses at me. He sounds irish and for a second I wonder if he’s drunk. He struggles with me, skhaking me and my eyes divert off the road to remind me that the edge of the building might crash into me if I’m not careful, knocking me onto the pavement where I might hurt somebody.


Dragging me, he shouts, “who are you?” Of course, I’m wearing the balaclava. It seemed weird that he hadn’t noticed me and I flashed with inspiration for his answer.


“Your hunter,” I tell him, seeing the fear as he realizes what he thinks is going on. I try to use that againsthim and I yank hard on the custom long ranged automatic between us, prying it clean from one of his hands. I point the nozzle in the way, not wanting to waste time trying to get him to shoot himself with such along gun.


He spits at me, but there’s nothing for him to hit. Still, he boots me away and the gun drops to the wall besides us. Now he’s on top of me and we fall ack down, the floor graciously taking the wind out of my lungs for me.I hear my glasses break and one of my eyes goes numb. For the first time that day things don’t seem coherent. Memories of a battlefield come to me, far to many games played, a swimming pool I should have visited more often.


Then I struggling, my arms gping mental without the aid of my brain, looking for an escape,a release. He’s got me. H can’t of got me. I should have him. I can still hear Jack Bauer in the background. I wonder if he  mind if I pick it up.


My arms are still going and I’m trying to look out my right eye to see my balaclava’s got in the way. He’s turning my face into a meatbag and I can’t stop him. His brute strength is more than any jujutsu class I ever went to.


I am going to die.


And I’m not even going to get to see it.


And then it stops.


I find myself waiting n silence. Everything seems to have stopped speaking and left the microphone near the speakers. The little light I gcan get ut of my eyes tells me nothing but blue skies are above me. Ripping it off and feeling something pierce into my cheek, I sit up to find a half hunched hunter leaning over the wall as the circuit boards fall out of my camera, the lens definitely shattered.


“Fuckin’ hell,” he moans, holding tightly to his forehead n case it fell off. Too busy getting up to care, I watched him as I get my breath back, looking desperately for my knife and seeing it by his feet. For some reason I reach for it and he reactsm seeig me out the corner of his eye. He steps forwards instead f backwardsa and I react too, my arms comig up to defend me and pushing him away.


I stretch for my knife and feel success as I grasp it, bring it upto find noone there, a deep scream filling my ears as I fall back down in exhaustion. It takes me a few seconds to grasp what’s happened and I have to appear over the edge to confirm he isn’t some sort of ninja, the mass crowd down there telling me everything.


I lean back, to let myself breath, knowing I could only afford a minute.. I looked o my knife, and then t his sniper rifle, his briefcase and a duffle bag I hadn’t noticed before and then I looked to the real hero of the day, my (insert price here) overly expensive, one time use only vidigital video camera.


Then I stare at the sky, seeing the birds finally return


It really was a beautiful day.


Notes to add: the hunter is there because it’s the tram she got off. Mention that casually previously)


All the birds are with lust)


Have her play her phone at an earlier point, probably talking with dad