K. A. Williams
I had just got home from work and was about to shut the door when I noticed a police hover car chasing three people that were running in my direction.
“Over here!” The man pushed the woman and child ahead of him into the safety of my building. I used the remote to close the blast shield door before I turned.
“Thank you,” the man said. “We are very grateful.”
I looked at their ragged clothing and tired expressions. “This will only stop the police temporarily. Follow me.”
We ran down the long white corridor and turned left before the sound of the exploding blast shield door reached us.
“They must really want you three.” I herded them swiftly past the red hallway to the blue hallway where I placed my palm on the number thirty. A section of the wall opened. “Stay here. I’ll go open the door to the lower levels and they’ll think you’ve hidden down below.”
I could hear their boot heels echoing down the corridors as I opened the lower level door. The police closed in and I hid myself around the corridor in the green hallway until they had disappeared below.
When I returned to my residence and placed my palm on the number thirty, the wall opened to reveal the three fugitives. “The police are inspecting the five lower levels now. That should keep them busy. Want to tell me why the government is after you?”
The man hesitated before answering. “It’s the child. They want her.”
I looked at the small curly-haired girl with disbelief. “Whatever for?”
“In what way?”
The woman and man exchanged glances. He nodded. “She can see into the future,” the woman said.
“She can? And the government wants to make use of her gift?”
“No, they want to kill her.”
“Oh.” I was shocked.
The child locked her blue-green eyes on mine and said, “Your life is over.”
I was stunned. The woman pulled her from me as if afraid I might hurt her. “She’s not always right. We’ll go now. We don’t wish to bring harm to anyone.”
“Nonsense.” I forced a smile. “Stay. The police might make another search of this area when they’re done down below. It isn’t safe to leave just yet.”
“Thank you. My name is Arthur and this is my wife Diana and our child Suzanna.”
I handed them foil-sealed food packets and poured them water from my receptacle before rearranging the pieces of my blue sectional sofa into a bed big enough for the three of them.
While I was relaxing in my blue chair an hour later, someone knocked on my wall. I looked out the hidden peephole at the two men in the black uniforms of the disposal workers but I knew that these men were not here for my garbage.
I opened the wall and let them and their container inside. “We were surprised to get your call,” one renegade said. “We thought the government had eliminated the child already.”
“They were trying. I’ve got a friend with the underground movement. He’s been begging me to join and gave me your number weeks ago. I was afraid to go against the government until I saw police chasing an innocent child.”
“A child with psychic abilities that our scientists think can help us win this war.”
I grew uneasy thinking about what she had told me earlier. “Are her predictions always right?”
The second renegade said, “I’ve heard about ninety percent of the time.”
“Well, they’re all yours. I hope she can help the underground movement. Maybe I’ll join later.”
They woke up the family gently and lifted them into the huge container.
The first renegade turned to me. “I’m afraid you don’t have a choice now. They’ll eventually question everyone in this building to find out who helped these people.”
I hadn’t thought of that.
“There’s room for one more, you better come with us. Your life here is over.”
First published in The Sixth Sense Anthology in 1999.