Date: 3/1/2017

By Liello

I used to live on the surface, in the city like all the other normal people. Everything changed when my parents died I was sent to live with an uncle, my parents trusted him but they dont see the way he looks at me, the way he always seems to be a little to close, touching me when ever he gets the chance. I couldn't stay there, so I ran. I fled to the district near the docks first, there's lots of homeless kids there I should be able to blend in. If I stay in the wealthier areas I'll be noticed, he'll find me. I meet another girl , Charlie, at the docks she's about the same age as me, she helps me adjust to life on the streets, shows me the way down under the city if the guards come to clear us out. For a while it's ok and I start to think I'll be alright here, when I come of age I can come forward and get my inheritance, then maybe I can use some of it to help the people here. Charlie shows me the aquarium, ita ooen to the public and they dont mind the homelss kids visiting so long as we go early before the crowds arrive. Then one day I see him, my uncle, surrounded in a swath of guards, they're looking for me. Across the street our eyes meet and it's to late to hide. I run, behind me I hear a shouting as they dash after me. At first I think I'll be able to get away, I can dash through the crowd while they'll have to push their way through it. But i forgot the people here are just as afraid as me, they all have their own secrets to hide, soon the streets are empty and they're on my tail. I dash round a corner and I see hope, a gang, they're dangerous, Charlie said to stay away from them but there is a reason theyre the only ones still out on the streets. I sprint in their direction calling for help as the guards and my uncle pour in to the street behind me. The gang looks up from their cards, instantly they rise, weapons in hand, they make way for me as I hurdle through their ranks, forming up behind me to meet with the guards, any excuse for a fight is good enough for them. I dart into a doorway as the fighting begins, I dont wait to see the outcome, there's only one way to go now. Down. Down in to the underside, they say the city is as deep as it is tall. It's strange down here, lit by mechanical lights but they're dim and many are broken, no one knows who built the underside, in the richer districts they keep them well maintained as storage lockers or bunkers in case of hard times but here they've mostly fallen in to disrepair. It's eerily quiet, all the noises of the city are lost, replaced by the soft hum of machinery and the occasional hiss of steam being let off. I wander for hours, drifting down corridors and through empty rooms before I come across a man, old but not ancient. He can see I'm lost and frightened, he offers me food and a safe place to sleep for a bit if I'll help him with something. I dont know if I can trust him but I cant wander forever he seens nice enough, he takes me to a deep bunker near by and pushes the door shut behind us, the latch is loose he explains and needs repairing he gives me a box with some screws and tools and I notice for the first time that his hands are wrapped in bandages. He notices my staring and simply smiles. 'I'll get some snacks while you fix that young miss.' I take some time to investigate the latch, I've never fixed anything before, we had servants for that when I was at home. But I can see how it works and like the old man said It only needed a couple of screws replacing. When I finished I made my way down in to the bunker. I found the old man at an ancient looking table setting out some bread and cheese. We came to an agreement that day, I could stay here in his home, he would feed me and I would have a place to sleep, in return I would run errands for him, help with things he could no longer do because of his hands, 'but always keep that latch locked' he would say. He didnt ask what trouble I was in although it must have been obvious I was running from something. For a while it was perfect, I felt safe again, for a while... One day the old man was out, he left occasionally to see friends or attend to buisness of some kind. I was pottering around the bunker, the place had been a mess when I arrived but slowly I'd moved through it cleaning everything and repairing what I could. I heard voices in the halls outside, familiar voices. My heart froze in my chest and for a moment I just stood, paralysed, how had he found me? I burst in to a run, had I locked the door? I sprinted round the corner, there it was the latch... unlocked. No! I skidded to a hault as the door opened and a face appeared, the face I hated, the man I feared most. He smiled and I ran, down, down into the bunker. Behind me I could here my uncle persuing, I pulled over a table as I ran knocking it in to his path. I had to get down. At the lowest level there was a hatch, It was an old maintenance tunnel for the pipes that ran between the bunkers. They were narrow, to small for most adults, but I could fit. If I could only reach it....