Adam Hunter was a man on the run, and he knew he had to get to a district where he could fade into the background. A district where no one cared about his past, about his criminal record. It felt as if he had been running his whole life. At age 12 he got caught stealing food from the mart to feed him and his mom, and it wasn’t the first time he’d done it nor the last. Being the head of his house was inevitable after his father left, and his mother’s failed suicide attempt which made her non-responsive. She couldn’t feed herself, dress or bathe herself. At the meager age of seven, Adam Hunter had to grow up. He couldn’t work, because the law said he was too young. So without a penny to their name, he took to taking what was needed for the Hunter home.
After his mother died when he was 15, he didn’t know what to do with himself so he just kept doing what he was good at. Where he went wrong with his life was when he decided he wanted more. He’d always been poor, and he decided it was high time he had more than his share. He partnered with some fellow thieves on a drug scheme, hoping to make some quick cash off of some drug dealers. When the scheme went south shots were fired, two of his partners were killed, and he alone was left standing. He had killed three men himself in the shootout, and he had authorities from The Order hot on his trail, not to mention an angry gang leader who wanted his money back.
His only hope was to get to District 37, disappear off the radar and wait to be forgotten. He’d start his life over after that, make a new name for himself, maybe even go clean. At least, as clean as any one can go in District 37. It was the seediest district in America, and no one, not even The Order, went in looking for trouble. It was where all fugitives went for rest. And anyone coming in waving a badge never made it out alive.
Adam Hunter climbed onto the monorail on Level 52, and looked for an empty car. He passed through each car, his head hung low, not making eye contact with anyone. He wore the collar on his coat up, masking half his face. The rain outside had drenched him from head-to-toe, and he dripped all over the cars as he walked through them one-by-one. It would be a two-hour ride to District 37, and he was hoping avoid any trouble. He entered the last car, and saw one person slumped on the bench. It was a woman wearing a short, leather jacket that only came half down her torso, but her shirt underneath came halfway down her calves. She wore a fedora down on her face, and appeared to be sleeping beneath it. She had high boots, that came up to her knee, with tight black pants under them and the tunic-style shirt. He looked her over a bit more, she appeared to be a harmless, and rather good-looking brunette, with her hair barely reaching the base of her neck. But her preferred to err on the safe side still, and made his way to the end of the car and sat opposite her.
The monorail was moving at an alarming pace, as it always does, and he slowly began to appreciate the rhythm of the rails. He too slumped in his seat, laying the large duffel bag of cash behind his feet and under the bench. He crossed his arms to warm up in his wet clothes, and watched the woman for a while. Eventually, the rhythm became too much and he began to doze off. He shook himself awake, and sat up a little. But it was no use, because minutes later he’d be shaking himself awake again. The adrenaline from the gunfight and pursuit was wearing off, and his body was demanding some relaxation.
He woke startled by a loud clanging of the rails, and sat up. He looked down at his watch, it had been an hour. He’d been asleep for 45 minutes, and he cursed himself for being so clumsy. He looked up and was surprised to see a rather large man sitting across from him. The man was staring back at him with a grin. He looked more an animal than man; with a healthy helping of hair on both his head and face. The burly man leaned forward and stood up, propping himself against a pole. He opened his coat with his right hand and revealed a little gun in his left. He was hiding it from the view of the sleeping woman and anyone else on in the other cars.
“I’ll be taking that bag now, Adam Hunter.” He said in a gruff voice that made him shiver.
All that could be heard was the monorail, the rhythm of its run, the grinding and scraping of metal. Hunter wasn’t sure what to do, but he didn’t have a gun and he surely couldn’t take him in a fist fight. It was hopeless.
Myrna was watching the passenger who had got on the car not five minutes ago from beneath the rim of her fedora. She couldn’t see a weapon, but she was sure from the look on the fugitive’s face that he was looking down the barrel of a gun. The man had muttered something to Hunter, but she couldn’t make it out. And now they were just waiting in silence.
She had been gripping the handle of a her pistol under the jacket for the past thirty minutes, planning to make her move. She had been waiting to make sure Hunter was completely asleep before confronting him. And just as she was certain to make her move, they had stopped and picked up this new passenger. She knew he was trouble from the moment he got on, because he sat down across from Hunter intentionally and smiled queerly at him. There was also the tale-tell sign of the tattoo on his neck. She couldn’t see all of it, but recognized what she saw to be the trademark of the Jade, the ruthless gang Hunter and his pals and unwittingly double-crossed.
She slid the pistol out of its shoulder holster, and timed the cocking to the rhythm of the monorail. She waited just a moment to make sure that it had gone unnoticed, and then rose to her feet and aimed the gun right at the Jade’s head and fired one shot. It ricocheted off the pole and into his ear. The Jade fell to the floor, and was dead instantly. The ringing of the pole continued on for a moment.
She quickly turned her aim to Hunter, who was staring at her in shock now.
“I’m here to collect you.” She told him.
His eyes shrank, and his head looked down. He sighed a little and spoke to no one. “I’ve been running my whole life. I have no desire to go to prison.” He choked a bit in the back of his throat, “But I’m tired.” He looked up to her, his eyes were filled with tears. “I will run no more.”
Myrna knew the type all-too-well; he was no fighter, and prison would eat him alive. The biggest mistake a crook can make is to convince himself he’s stronger than the penal system. Those who aren’t, but convince themselves they are never come out. They go in, and they break by the end of the second day if they’re lucky. But Adam Hunter had double-crossed the Jades and wouldn’t last one day. It’s a harsh system for harsh people, the Adam Hunters of this world need not apply for residency. Still, she knew, there was a way out.
“The bounty is dead or alive. It’s your call.”
He looked at her for a moment, then gently nodded.
“Close your eyes, Mr. Hunter.” He closed his eyes. “Now, picture someone you love. Someone you can’t be without. Someone dead. Someone you haven’t seen in years. They’re smiling. They’re smiling at you.”
Adam Hunter could see his mother, as she was in her youth, before the disease. She was beautiful, and her long, blond hair blew softly across her face. She was smiling at him. She spoke his name, but he couldn’t hear it because he couldn’t remember what she sounded like. It had been so long. But he could tell by the movement of her lips that she was beckoning him. She called to him again, smiling, and extended her soft hands to him with the palms open. He placed his hands within hers and could feel the warmth of her touch. He wanted to tell her he loved her, that he missed her and had thought of her every day, but before he could say anything he heard a loud crash and felt a sharp pain on his left temple.
His mother disappeared and he saw Myrna standing over him with her gun in hand. She lowered it and watched him. Suddenly he recalled her voice and he could hear her singing to him. He closed his eyes and let the warmth overtake him.
Myrna stood over Adam Hunter for a moment, thinking back over her life. Especially her childhood. Her mother, her father. The love, the hatred. Everything was gray she thought to herself. Everything. She had just forfeited an extra three hundred credits to give the man what he wanted. A moment’s peace.
The monorail stopped to pick up more passengers, and she grabbed Adam Hunter under his armpits and drug him off into the cover of the monorail stop, and propped him up on the bench. She sat next to him, holding him up and dialed a twelve-digit number on the stop’s panel and waited. A video appeared and she informed the deputy on the other end she was waiting with Adam Hunter’s corpse in District 18. She sent him the coordinates to their exact location, and also informed him there was a dead Jade riding the monorail and gave the ID of the monorail and the car number they could find the body on.
“What a mess, Myrna.” The deputy responded. “Do you always have to be so bloody brutal?”
“Only when the occasion calls for it.” Myrna responded. “Now hurry it up; I’m wet, cold and this guy is bleeding on me.”