Logan turned his head back to the path ahead of him and burst into a run for the intersection’s right turn, the corner of which was occupied by an Electronics Salon with a big poster for the new Galaxy Wars III game in its window. Just as he came up on it, so close that he could read the smaller lettering of the tagline (“SEIZE YOUR DESTINY!“), he heard a bang that could only have come from a gun, the window shattering, screams as pieces of broken glass flew, felt some of the pieces hitting him. Then that broken window wasn’t ahead of him anymore because, bits of glass crunching under his soles, he rounded the corner while he heard another bang, another scream, the kind of scream that people only made when—
He still didn’t look back, only ahead as he continued down that corridor, and into the Abernathy & Hitch, and then across it toward the glass doors at the other end letting out into the street, nearly colliding with a shop attendant and making a security guard with a crackling walkie-talkie take a step in his direction yelling before he was out through those doors.
Blinking in the direct sunlight, the hubbub of the mall replaced by the din of the street in his ears, he turned right along the pavement and kept running, weaving his way around people coming in and going out and just passing by. At the corner he turned right again to get on the building’s north side, which faced the block with the subway station for which he was headed. (He wished now that he’d just gone back out the food court’s north exit, saved himself the long way around. Given how badly things were going, how much worse could it have been?)
Continuing his run along that side of the mall he crossed the same entrance he’d used to enter it a half hour earlier, the one that led into the building through the Hadley’s, just as a man stumbling out of its doors like he’d been thrown out collided with Logan and knocked him to the sidewalk. Logan started to get up as the man clutched at his shirt, and he found himself looking into Lloyd’s eyes, the sunglasses he’d been wearing smashed on the sidewalk next to him, blood seeping out of his gasping mouth, though that was nothing next to the blood all over his shirt and getting all over Logan as the last light went out of Lloyd’s eyes.
The sight froze Logan to the spot for a long moment during which nothing existed but Lloyd, dead, right outside the door of a Hadley’s while that same Cheryl Holt song he’d heard a half hour earlier leaked out of the shop into the street.
The crash of a bullet through the glass in the automatic doors out of which Lloyd had exited snapped Logan to his feet again. Before he knew it he was running, as the man who’d shot Lloyd came out through the doors of the Hadley, and the man who’d shot at Logan as he passed by that Electronics Salon came around the street corner behind him. Even with those men coming to kill him, even knowing he couldn’t do anything for Lloyd, he didn’t want to just leave him there, but even as the sight he’d just seen held his thoughts back there his body didn’t stop, didn’t stop, didn’t stop out into the street as the midday traffic hurtled up and down it, passing between the cars as tires screeched and horns honked and people cursed, and above all those other noises a gunshot sounded and glass shattered and a car alarm blared.
Didn’t stop on the other side of all that, on the block with the entrance to the subway station, which he followed to the entrance. Logan kept running to and through the entrance just as he had run across that traffic-filled street, kept running down the stairs past that entrance as he thought of all the times he’d found himself stuck waiting on a subway platform when he was in a hurry—
But he didn’t dare turn back in the direction of the bullets. Instead he cleared the steps and passed the turnstile and got onto the platform where there were people waiting, but not nearly enough of them to lose the men behind him in a crowd. Still, there was a row of roof pillars along each side of the platform.
So, east or west? All he wanted was the first train out. But even straining his ears for the roar and clatter of a train coming up or down one of the tracks running through the station he had no clue which direction it would be going in, both tracks equally silent.
West, he decided because he had to pick something, and slipped behind a pillar there from which he was unable to see the stairs leading down to the station, which he hoped meant that someone coming down those stairs would not be able to see him. Then he thought about what he would do if he had to stand his ground. The stun gun wasn’t going to be of much use, so he returned it to his pocket and slipped a hand into his jacket, where he had his own gun. He didn’t want to use it, least of all in a place like this, but he’d already been shot at repeatedly, there was nowhere for him to run, and the people after him were reckless enough to shoot a bystander just coming out of that electronics shop, senseless enough to shoot Lloyd on the spot after he displeased them.
And he heard the sound of running feet now, more than one pair of them.
Logan decided to bet on their not seeing him, and didn’t intend to help them by looking back from behind the pillar, letting them see his face and saving them the brief trouble involved in finding him. Instead he listened to the sound of their tread as he clasped that gun under his jacket—and then lost track of those footsteps as that roar and clatter he’d been waiting for finally came along. At first he felt a twinge of relief, but then he realized that it was the eastbound train pulling in, the one on the other side of the platform.
He had to cross over to it, ride that train out. But not yet, he thought, not yet, forcing himself to remain in place, willing that train to hurry up and get there, the men who’d come after him to not find him just that few seconds longer. It was irrational, superstitious, but he did it all the same as the sound got louder, as finally he sensed the train shooting past along the other side of that platform, heard the automatic doors hiss open, the sound of people getting on, the sound of people getting off.
How long would those doors remain open? He didn’t know, so he just guessed, letting one second pass, and then another, and then another until he was sure he couldn’t wait any longer and bolted out from behind that pillar and across that platform, toward those doors as they started to close while he caught a Man in Black out the corner of his eye. For an instant he was sure that he wasn’t going to make it, but then he felt himself lunging forward, too far forward to keep his balance, felt himself losing his footing, and then he found himself falling forward to the floor of the car through those doors sliding back away from him as people looked on, felt the metal scrape against his knees and then against his elbows as he turned his body upright on that floor just in time to see the MIB who’d shot at him outside the Electronics Salon running for those same doors before they snapped shut again.
Logan’s pursuer managed to put his torso between those doors before they met, making them slide back and away from him. Logan reflexively kicked out at him and caught him in the stomach and sent him reeling backward and the doors slid shut again, while the other man accompanying him caught up to the train just in time to slap his palms against those closed doors.
The train, totally indifferent to his attack, started to move, move, and the second Man in Black moved with it, reaching a hand into his jacket again, and looking increasingly awkward as the accelerating vehicle forced him (and his buddy, back on his feet again and just behind him) to speed up to keep up. And then there was nothing but the darkness of the tunnel visible through the windows on either side of the car.