The Runners

Winya dropped her bags on the floor. The metal floor rung out as the heavy bags slammed into the floor. Winya winced.

Rugs, then, Winya thought, looking around her tiny apartment. The apartments on Esl-5 were small, expected really given the relative infancy of the nation. The habitable parts of the planet were only two fifteen mile cubes, sustained by the power generators at the centre of the city.

It might be small, but it was hers. Under a new name, with a false Bio-ID, it was all hers. And best of all, no one from the Runners knew she was here, and they wouldn’t be able to find her on their scans either.

She was free of them.

Finally, Winya thought, smiling to herself. She walked across the sparse room, making a note of the items she wanted to buy from the market when she saw something glisten on the bedside table.

She paused, hand going to her gun instantly. It looked like a coin.

No, you don’t get this, Winya thought, pulling out her gun and pointing it into the bedroom. Her training kicked in immediately, checking the room for anyone who could be hiding.

But it was empty.

Winya edged her way around the end of the metal bed, peering at the bedside table. It was a gold coin, rare these days, almost the size of her thumb. On it was a picture of a woman, the Goddess Unrha, governor of Space and time.

It was also the symbol of the Runners.

“Shit,” Winya spat at the coin. She reached out carefully, flicking it over with the corner of her sleeve. On the reverse it had a simple number pressed into the gold, 27.

Her sister’s number. They wanted her to take a hit out on her own sister? The President of the United Regions?

Winya growled at the coin. There would be someone watching her, right now. Someone who would have known about her name change, her attempted escape from the Runner’s claws.

Find them, and she could follow the trail back to their leaders, the shadowy Seven who selected the hits for the Runners.

If running and hiding didn’t do the trick, then perhaps killing the Seven would be a suitable alternative.

This flash fiction was first posted in 2020

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