two

the tiniest sound makes her turn.  For a second he looks truly scared and Luce poises herself to run but he steps back an inch, looks away to the street and experience tells her he’s here on business.  Fly has melded into shadow, always one step ahead.  Luce spins on her heel and heads to the water tank.  Under her coat the bread is cooling, it’s yeasty scent filling the chilled air.

she pulls herself  ivy-clear through the heavy window frame.  A starling that was perched on the door frame alights in fright, flurrying to the sky-light in fear and knocking against the glass.

Luce freezes, listens to the blood echo in her ears, listens to the air shifting.  Acrid burnt-paper scents filter behind the old coat cupboard that blocks most of the doorway leading to the stairs.  She hears everynight sounds outside, the beep of a phone, a door banging.  She feels magic.  Luce silently glides forward –

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luce

is warm enough, for now.  Matai from La Buca lets her sit and smoke on the bins by the hot air vent.  Sometimes he gives her breadsticks, olives, two meatballs in a saucer. Tonight it was just bread. She could probably exchange sex for a roof over her head, but Luce has learned the hard way. 
Now it’s just her and Fly. They even sleep away from the others now, preferring the low ceilinged loft to the echoing rooms downstairs.  Fly can easily jump from the water tank to the sash window.  She has to share all her food, but the company, the protection is priceless, and he keeps her memories safe in the dark.  She has a full pouch of baccy and even a dry pack of Rizlas today, also Matai left the door open a little too long after dumping a load of tins in the bin, and old habits die hard.  The warm stolen loaf bulges under her coat, infact even the prospect of another night on the old club floor can’t stop her whistling. Fly smiles back at her, tail sweeping through the goose grass.  They can sit in the dark while she smokes and picks the velcro seed-beads from his tail-hair.  They can gorge on bread. 
As they get closer to the building, she notices a smashed ground-floor window.  A reedy smoke froil wisps from the pitch black opening. 

Luce tenses. 

It’s been a long time since he was in these parts and her sharp mind starts racing.