Kriever didn’t like public trans, and insisted on driving his old Sting Ray everywhere. He glanced over to the passenger seat, where she sat with his coat still over her shoulders. “Which way, doll?” he asked. The rain had eased up, for now...
“I didn't like the way you treated Sam just now,” she said when he reached her table. “Sam was begging for it.” She was wearing something much too short, but Kriever was too busy to be impressed. “Put on a coat and take me uptown, doll,” he said.
The asthmatic death rattle of the air-scrubber was a comfortable sound, a beacon home in the crushing waves of the street. It had guided him home every night now for eight years to the same drafty building and the same putrid stairs, and the same motherless little girl at the top who made it all worthwhile. Clara was eleven and all that came with it. Her father would give his life to save hers.
We pushed our way through the shattered city. All around us were the signs of a race without hope, an entire nation devoid of both love and life. "Is this what they saw at Pompeii?" I wondered. Men and women both, dead before they died.