And now here she was, in an alley illuminated by a single yellow bulb, looking down at Danny's body. She thought back a few hours.
After their strained goodbyes, she'd wandered around for an hour or two. But then, standing on a corner, uncertain of which way to go next, she'd heard a police siren approaching. She'd started to run back the way she'd come, turning into the first alley she saw, and she'd nearly tripped over Danny's body. How had she ended up here? Had she been drawn here for some reason, or was it just stupid coincidence? She didn't know which possibility was more disturbing.
Would it be worse to live in a universe where there was an all-powerful force with nothing better to do with its time than to nudge her around like a chess piece until she was face to face with the dead body of her lover? Or would it be worse to live in a universe where something as jolting as this could happen by blind accident?
Ex-lover, she reminded herself.
The sound of a car approaching from the corner forced her to realize that this was the mental equivalent of nervous chatter. She took a final look at Danny's body, trying to file away as many details as she could with one glance, then she turned and ducked behind a sagging dumpster as the car approached. She was afraid they would see Danny's body and come to investigate, but the car kept driving by.
She turned and looked at Danny again. He was not very tall, probably only two or three inches taller than she was, and slender. His brown hair was shaved close around the sides, with a shock of longer hair in front which he always brushed out of his eyes.
Boyish, that was the total effect, and always had been, even before his mod haircut. Somehow unformed, not quite completed, and now he wasn't going to get that chance. She had a fleeting thought that it would have been better if she'd been killed and he had survived. At least she'd made it all the way to adulthood.
There was no way to tell what had killed him, and she thought that maybe she should turn him over to see what she could learn. She didn't make any move to do this, though. She made a face. After all, she hadn't wanted to touch him when he was alive, and death wasn't making him any more attractive.
She turned and walked slowly to the street. The sky was dark now, and she knew that thinking of a place to sleep was no longer a topic for idle speculation. It was an immediate necessity.
For once, Carly thought about shelter without a feeling that it was only her own stubbornness which was making this a problem. When she'd first arrived in town, a month before, she'd met Danny in a bar the first night and had gone home with him. He'd fallen hard, and she could have stayed in his apartment until that had worn off, but it was the intensity of his feelings which had forced her to move out, even though it had meant living on the streets. But there had been times, usually several each day, when she'd thought how easy it would have been to give in, to move back into Danny's apartment.
She hesitated in the entrance to the alley, suddenly thinking that she should go back to Danny's body and take his keys. Then she could stay in his apartment. The idea made her queasy, so she thought about it until she realized what was wrong with it.
The body would be found. The lack of keys would be noted. The apartment would be checked out. And the girl staying there would be arrested. Oh, well.
She thought of her friend Joan. Joan had an apartment, and usually made it clear that it was too small for two (unless the second was one of her lovers, of course), but Carly had an awful thought. Joan was, for all her sleeping around, quite a romantic, and Carly thought that she could manipulate grief over Danny's death into a place to sleep for at least one night. Not a pleasant idea, but it was better than any of the alternatives.
Plus, she thought happily, Joan had the duffel bag which held the few items of clothing that Carly didn't have on, the few things she'd taken when she'd moved out of Danny's apartment. She flexed her toes. Clean socks would be nice. She started out, again trying to look like she had someplace definite to go.
She walked with great determination, not noticing the tall figure which appeared out of the doorway nearest the alley and followed her.
Carly was only half a block from the alley when she heard the helicopter. She looked up and suddenly a strong arm grabbed her around her stomach from behind and swung her into an alley.
"Get out of the street, you fool!" the man hissed. "They're using–"
That was a far as he got before the heel of her army boot connected with his knee. He cursed and she squirmed out of his arms. But his hand managed to keep hold of a piece of her pea jacket and swung her around in a circle as she tried to get away.
She gave one final yank on her jacket, broke free and ran through the open doorway of a tenament building. The man ran after her and grabbed her coat again. She fell to the floor in the dusty hallway and the man fell on top of her.
"Get off me!" she yelled, squirming around helplessly. Between the tangle of coats and the size of the man, who seemed to cover her like a mattress, she was pinned.
The man started to say something, but then a soft voice from another part of the dark hallway said, "Do you think you two could try to make a little more noise? Uncle Mike might not have heard you yet, clear over there in City Hall." There was a rustling and then a shuffling sound. "You'd better come with me," the voice said. "If they find you, they'll find me. Come on."