Bates saw reflections in a pair of lenses. The shooter wasn’t alone after all; he had a lookout with night-vision specs. Bates spun and ran, heedless of his bare feet. Behind him an engine roared to life; no headlights came on.
He tried a door in an alcove; it was firmly locked. A silenced bullet whined off the doorjamb. Why hadn’t the shooter used one before? Because he’d wanted to be heard then? Grit popped under rolling tires; the darkened vehicle was catching up to him.
A gap between buildings was his next chance to save himself. He scrambled over a chicken-wire fence into a slot canyon of weeds and garbage. They wouldn’t be able to shoot into it until they were directly opposite. He used the time to scramble to the alley. The raised end of a fire escape beckoned.
He scavenged half a bedframe, hooked the fire escape with it and swung it down. He went up three stories, stepped into a hall, and entered the first unlocked apartment.
“Who are you?” asked the refrigerator.