Catching Smoke: Ch. 14

catching smoke cover

Emmalee has no idea where she’s going.

She saw a chance for escape, and she took it. The windows had bars on them, but thankfully, she managed to escape by simply walking out the front door. The concierge hadn’t even looked up when she walked past. 

Which worries her. It shouldn’t be so easy for her to escape. Did she really escape? Or is this part of their plan? They seemed to be a step ahead of her. She wouldn’t put it past them if they were only pretending to let her escape.

But maybe they weren’t. Maybe they are distracted now. Maybe this is her only chance.

Her only chance at what, though? What is she escaping from? She has no idea. She’s confused and lost as much mentally as physically.

And this isn’t good. 

Navigating foreign countries isn’t the problem, though. She does that in her sleep, and often. It’s just…she usually has a plan first. She can count on one hand the times she has infiltrated a foreign world unprepared and none of those times worked out very well for her. She suspects it was only luck that managed to keep her alive. Luck and very quick thinking.

But her mind isn’t working very quickly tonight. She’s exhausted, and hungry. She can’t remember the last time she ate, and she doesn’t even want to think about the last time she had a good night’s sleep. All she wants is to collapse somewhere safe and wake up fully rested to a glorious feast without any effort.

But instead she’s stuck walking on the beach, avoiding the lights on the shoreline, occasionally swerving to dodge an oncoming wave. There aren’t any people on the beach at this hour, which baffles Emmalee. The moonlight on the water is so beautiful, and the stars have never looked brighter…

Exhaustion tends to bring out the idealism in Emmalee. It’s the only time her brain isn’t wrapped in a layer of fear. She’s finally able to let go and notice the beauty in the world, though not by choice. If she had a choice, she’d been making a plan right now. 

Eventually, she stops walking and takes a seat on the sand, mesmerized by the openness of the water, the sound of the waves, the glitter of stars in the sky. What’s so dangerous about this? Why don’t I just stay here? She thinks.

She’s too tired to think of anything rational.

So she lays her head back on the sand and falls asleep.

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