Blink

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blink
blɪŋk/
verb
shut and open the eyes quickly.
noun
a momentary gleam of light.

The Peak was high enough that it looked down over the city, with even the tallest skyscrapers now below us - although some were giving it their best shot to outgrow nature. The intense greens of the mountainside rolled away into the greys and neons, all the hundreds of tall, protruding buildings reminding me of those pincushion toys where you could make the shape of your hand. The city abruptly stopped at the sea, but across the bay it started again, erupting out of the water and covering the mainland in white and yellow glowing windows. Flying vehicles filled the skies, lights flashing in the darkness.

Hong Kong was designed to remind me that I was far from home. I'd never been to Zhangao, but from photos I'd seen it was nothing like this, even after discounting the crazy tech.

Music filled the air and, standing on the observation level, looking out at this science fiction vision, I was acutely aware that we were within reach of Locque. Somehow, impossibly, this physical space was shared across the dimensions. Flick a switch and we'd be home, in a shower of blue embers.

Here's something I hadn't really faced up to: Cal had completely abandoned us. Me. You meet an injured guy in your shed, patch him up, join his revolutionary cause, then he dumps you on a different world.

That old story.

Back when he and Holt first disappeared, I expected him to come back. Even at Simons' house, I was waiting for him to reappear. As we were running through the forest, I was listening for the pop-hiss of his dimension jumping. Then we got in the truck, and onto the boat, and I slowly accepted that he wasn't biding his time. And as we floated east, I realised that it would be increasingly difficult for him to find us. Had he really abandoned us, or had we abandoned him? What if he'd returned and had been unable to find us anywhere?

Or, worse, what if he hadn't come back? What would that mean? Had Holt killed him? Or did Cal just not care - were we just useful pawns for him the whole time?

The observation platform was crowded, though not as much as the streets below. It was mostly tourists up here, rather than locals, it seemed, all decked out in cheap masks and costumes.

We were standing by the railing, looking out at the city with our backs to the revellers. Disguising it as an affectionate cuddle, Furey looked inside Marv's jacket at the tunneller. "Almost got a lock," she said quietly, to nobody in particular.

The device was within range of the turbine, which was stationed further along the peak inside an enormous dome of a building, but it had to do some kind of fancy setup before it'd work. Furey had used a bunch of clever words but I hadn't quite followed. To be honest, I'd had a hard enough time remembering the word 'tunneller'. It all sounded a bit rude to me.

As soon as it was locked on, we could hit the switch and get the hell out of here. Since it had activated on the tram about half an hour had passed and I was starting to get antsy. I'd always hated queueing, or waiting for anything, in fact, so this really took the number one spot on my chart of all-time-worst-delays.

"You remember how to work it?" Furey asked, her face casual and relaxed. She was remarkably good at playing a loving girlfriend at a party, given she was stone cold the rest of the time. I kind of admired her ability to totally transform.

"Not a problem," Marv murmured, "I'm just waiting for the green light, then we're gone."

I glanced around, quickly sweeping across the throngs on the observation platform. "You sure they can't track it, or something annoying like that?"

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