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It’s a day that has chased away the sun’s heat. I am bundled up in my favorite white coat, but my skin is still laden with thousands of bumps. No matter how long I sit on this bench, my own body heat can’t seem to overtake the cold metal I feel through my jeans.
My phone’s battery is draining fast, but I’m intent on playing a game while I wait for Jared to pick me up. I navigate a little square man through a world made of plastic blocks and cast virtually harmless spells to thwart my enemies. I don’t know why it’s so addicting.
As I’m about to defeat the boss of this level, the screen’s image freezes. None of the buttons work to unfreeze it or even take me back to the main screen.
“Stupid phone,” I say aloud so it can hear me.
The screen goes blank and a message appears.
“WALK TO THE CURB,” it says.
“Not another hacker trick, I just got a new…”
The urgency in the text causes me to leap up and walk to the curb. As I do, a section of the building hanging over the bench where I was sitting collapses, crushing the bench beneath it. A man wearing a long coat and glasses runs up to me.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m… I’m fine, I think,” I say, glancing at my phone screen. The game is back up.
“It was me. Your screen.”
“Yes, I’m sorry about that. I just didn’t have time to reach you in person before it happened.”
“How did you know?”
He looks down and shuffles his feet. Clearly, he doesn’t think I’ll believe what he has to say. If it had happened to someone else, he’d probably be right.
“What’s your name?”
“Okay, Hersh. Well, I’m Alexa, and right now, my beliefs are wide open.”
He smirks and takes a deep breath.
“Hey, you ready?”
Jared pulls up in his black GT-R, ready to go.
“Whoa… What happened here?”
Hersh looks at me with sad eyes and opens his mouth to speak, but instead, he closes it and walks away.
“Come on, Alexa, in the car! Let’s go!”
I get the feeling I’ll be seeing Hersh again soon.
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