But, without further ado:
I hold my breath, and resist the urge to peak over the railing for one more look at the lithe forms scampering beneath the bridge in valley of abandoned car corpses. The sun glares down menacingly. Sweat trickles down the back of my neck. I’m dying for a drink of water from the canteen, but I’m afraid they might hear any movement. It’s probably an irrational fear. Despite all the things people say about them, no one has superpowers in real life, right?
Yet the same urge that brought me to the ground keeps me from even twitching toward my knapsack. I lay perfectly still for minutes that feel like hours.
Just as I decide they can’t still be in the vicinity, a deep shadow falls over me.
I can see pink canvass sneakers just beyond my nose. A broken hologram on the sides flash an incomplete ad, insisting “Fun!” and “Often!” in English and Arabic. Instead of laces, the shoes are pulled tight with a mish-mash of colored pipe cleaners and tinseled wire. It looks like the owner looted a day care’s art supply shelf. “Are you dead?” a curious female voice asks in Arabic.
I’m not sure what the best response is, though a lie seems pointless since I’m breathing like a racehorse. “Not yet, Insha’allah,” I say.
That makes her laugh. I’m so grateful not to hear any others join in her mirth that I hazard a glance upward. She looks no more than ten, which brings a sigh to my parched lips. I don’t know much about Gorgons, but I’ve heard they mature crazy-fast. Plus, underneath a Cub’s ball cap, this girl has curls as dark as mine with eyes to match. She’s wearing a black coat that’s far too big and a tee-shirt with another haywire holo – this one shows a cartoon pony that stutters along instead of galloping gracefully. Her legs are covered in tattered, threadbare red and white striped tights.
She drops tailor-fashion onto the sidewalk in that boneless way of the very young. “Why are you laying on the ground then? Are you sick?”
“I was hiding,” I say. “From the Gorgons.”
She shakes her head like I’ve done something incredibly stupid. “They’re nice. You’ll see.”
I’d been about to correct her when the impact of her last sentence hits. “Um, ‘I’ll see’?”
That’s when I notice the silver eyes watching from just below the railings. She was the decoy to draw out the stupid human.
I’m the sitting duck.