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The balls of her feet burned as she zig zagged through the crowd, pushing her way forwards forcefully. Grunts and gasps of dissatisfied individuals she failed to avoid went past her unnoticed the same as their faces. Sea of heads that bobbed and dipped occupied her field of vision. More and more people flowed out of buildings onto the streets. It almost felt like fate was against her. It just had to happen in a busy Monday afternoon of all times.
“Stop!” A loud voice boomed through the avenue.Those words were directed towards her and she knew it all too well.
Catherine stole a backward glance at her pursuers. They stood out like a sore thumb with those navy blue uniforms and peaked hats. The crowd willingly parted, allowing the two men to run faster. In her opinion it wasn’t fair as some people even tried to stop her instead of letting her run freely, obstructing her way to freedom.
It wasn’t her lucky day. Everything went so well, until cops spotted her with a hand in man’s pouch. From there things went downhill.
The young woman bent forwards, slipping under an arm that darted out from the crowd right in front of her in a lousy attempt to stop her from escaping. Thank the God for her quickness and sharp wit. Catherine didn’t even drop her speed iota, forcing her legs to go faster with every nimble stride. Her mind did quick analysis of her surroundings, directing her body and forcing it into obeyence.
Her grip on the knapsack that mindlessly dangled over her left shoulder never loosened. From time to time she adjusted it, doing it more out of a habit than anything else. After all the content of this bag ensured that she’ll have something to eat for the rest of the week, maybe longer if she’ll have enough willpower to keep away from McDonalds.
She squeezed past people who thronged around the entrance of metro, rudely shoving them out of her way without even looking apologistic. Her breath came in small spurts as she sprinted down the stone steps, swiftly jumping over the metallic rod of gateway and into the underground corridors that were covered in dirty, white tiles.
Her feet slipped outwards as she took a sharp turn, but she didn’t let it stop her. Regaining the speed, she darted forwards with even greater abandon.
“I said freeze!” One of police officers yelled, his voice reverberating through the subway loudly. They were hot on her heels.
Catherines heart drummed against her rib cage rapidly as if it was about to leap out of her mouth. Her eyes frantically searched for a way out only to find none.
Crap, crap, crap!
Suddenly her eyes landed on a passel of people boarding a train. Quickly she changed the direction of her run. The metallic door of the train begun to close, but she didn’t halt. Everything seemed to happen in slow emotion as she slipped through the narrow gap right into the train and it’s door shut close right in front of the two policemen.
It took her a moment to register what had happened. She had escaped. Only barely, but still...
“Haha...” Catherine let out a genuine laugh, drawing even more attention to herself. Nearly all eyes were on her, most of them holding a suspicious, judgmental look that she couldn’t care less about. The young woman looked at the two men, grinning from ear to ear mockingly.
Maybe I shouldn’t....Nah, I definitely should.
She raised her middle finger for them to see. The shocked, angered expressions amused her to no end. Oh, it never gets old.
The train begun to move and soon enough the platform with two police officers disappeared from sight. Catherine slumped down in one of free seats besides an old, grumpy looking man that was reading a magazine, being too observed in an article to notice the world around him. In any other time she would’ve emptied his pockets, but too many watchful eyes were fixed on her now.
She sighed, letting herself relax a little. Her breathing was still unsteady from all the running and droplets of sweat covered her flushed cheeks. Her fingers were starting to cramp up from the vice-like grip she had on her bag that now lied on her lap. First bite of winter was getting her good, cold air came as quite a shock to her throat and lungs and she already caught herself coughing more often.
As the train became more crowded she decided that it was about the time to get out. Also there was this stench of urine that made her want to burry her face in her hoodie, just to prevent the odor from making her sick.
Catherine pulled the grey hood over her head, tucking loose strands of her nut brown hair back. This time she didn’t push past the people, going along with the pace set by the crowd around her. She shivered as another gelid breeze blew past her, chilling her to bone. A hoodie and a leather jacket she wore didn’t block the cold, making her quiver like a leaf in late Autumn. Winter was a harsh time for someone like her, so she relished every warm day that came around.
Her eyes landed on a signboard that said ‘Pawnshop’ with big, bold letters. She paused, stopping in front of the shop window where tons of unredeemed, and most likely stolen, items were displayed.
Catherine hesitated before entering the pawnshop. A bell chimed as she sauntered into the shop which could be mistaken for lorn if it wasn’t for loud snoring that came from behind the counter. The young woman walked over the dirty floor which was covered in some tawdry carpet. She peeked over the counter, only to see a man in his mid fifties, sprawled in a chair. His head was thrown back and mouth hanged open. It was a surprise he hadn’t swallowed a fly, because the place teemed with those.
She cleared her head to get the bold man’s attention. Nothing.
Still no response.
The man sprung up in his chair, nearly tipping it over. His eyes darted from one side of the room to another until he finally spotted the young woman standing in front of him.
“What!?” He bawled, enraged that someone woke him up from the slumber. There was a visible pause as his eyes roamed over her figure shamelessly. His expression lit up and attitude changed in blink of an eye. “I mean, how can I help you, young lady?”
Catherine ignored his overly sweet tone, pulling out a watch from her bag. It looked flashy with cold glinting in the light. Maybe it was expensive, maybe some cheap crap, but it looked impressive enough to get her some money.
“I would like to sell this.” She put the watch on the counter. The potbellied man stood up from the chair, putting on his glasses and taking the item in his portly hand. He examined it with a look of an expert before setting it down with a huff.
“I can give you 50 dollars. No more.”
“What! It’s worth at least hundred dollars!” Catherine bargained, motioning towards the watch with her hand as if trying to present it as more valuable.
“No can do, sweetpie. It’s the highest price I can offer you, take it or leave.” The man said harshly, looking at her almost evilly. “Though, maybe I can give you more if you...give something back.” He said with a nasty laugh, his eyes trailing up and down her body. That alone made her face twist in revulsion.
“To hell with that!” She snapped, pushing the watch closer to the man. “I’ll take those 50 dollars.”
The man scoffed, losing interest in her after the rejection. He took the watch and pushed crumpled 50 dollar bill towards her. Catherine took the money and left the pawnshop apace. She stomped down the street, her eyebrows furrowed in a deep frown. “Disgusting pig....” She murmured under her breath, feeling herself grow more annoyed by every passing second.
She was so busy with her own thoughts that she didn’t even notice the upcoming disaster.
Catherine’s head snapped up at a sharp sound of tires screeching. Her whole form froze and mind went on a standstill as she watched how a sleek, black car advanced towards her in full speed.