On The Move

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The big city police building loomed over smaller corporations. The clouds that day were thick and heavy in the sky. On the screen showed a petite framed woman who had been carrying a grocery bag. The man at the computers typed away, revealing the identity of the girl by zooming in on the footage. "Chief, I think that's our girl. The man in a white button up and oval shaped glasses, pointed to the screen. A much older man walked up to it. His hair white as snow. One scar across his lower lip. He narrowed his eyes at the rectangular frame. "What's the status on her whereabouts?" he inquired.

The younger, more scraggly man spoke up. "It appears she's nearby sir. What should we do?" The chief pulled out a carton of cigarettes from his pocket. "Find that little psycho bastard and take the girl back to the institution. We won't let them escape this time. He flicked the carton, causing a single cigarette to pop up. He pinched it, pulling it out of the box and placing it in his mouth. The younger man sitting at the computer whirled around in his chair. "But sir! I thought we wanted him alive? Weren't we supposed to recruit him for.... the special operation?" The chief grinned at this notion. "Hmmm... You raise a good point, rookie." They both looked at each other, satisfaction very visible on their faces.

The two policemen contacted their cohorts, letting them in on their plan to find Rachel Gardner and Isaac Foster and take them into custody. While using Zack for a different purpose. They all agreed, beginning their next course of action. Waiting for The girl to present herself again. They sent one of their subordinates undercover, in an attempt to track Ms. Gardner's whereabouts. Much to their displeasure, she was nowhere to be found. The undercover cop reported back to HQ, preparing to get chewed out by the Chief executive officer. "How could you lose her, already?! What are you some kinda rookie? And you call yourself a spy..." the old man drilled holes into the much younger officer.

He gritted his teeth, trying to pull back the verbal punches. He collected himself, speaking in a much calmer tone. "Don't let it happen again. The next time I send you out there, you better not come back empty handed, or there will be HELL to pay. Understand?" The younger officer picked up whatever little bits of his dignity were left, and walked out of the office. Reflecting on what he could do better next time around.

Ray walked through the door to greet Zack, who had been occupied with one of the books she gave him. It was pleasant to see him so motivated. She hadn't seen him so driven to succeed since they plowed through the rubble back when the facility was just minutes away from total collapse. She quietly walked into the kitchen, attempting not to make too much noise putting away the groceries. Once she stored the last can of soup, she pulled out the ingredients needed to prepare dinner. Ray had grown up to be a pretty decent cook.

She had always known how, since her mother and father would spend nearly every hour of the day fighting over money or alcohol. Which often left her responsible to remember when to feed herself. Despite being under the age of thirteen, she had made breakfast, lunch, and dinner for all three of them. Over the years, cooking had slowly grown into a passion of Rachel's. Constantly trying new recipes, and going to Zack to taste test them like her own personal guinea pig. Though, he didn't mind. He had also grown to enjoy her cooking and due to his blunt personality, she knew she could count on him to be brutally honest. Which helped her to excell at this new found love of hers.

Once she had finished, she set the makeshift table they found in an alley way. They didn't have much, but they made do with what they could. Ray would get the groceries from the local market and got money for the food by doing lots of back breaking labor. She would find newspapers that were left behind or laying in puddles and look for any job that might help her pay for the necessary accommodations. She felt exhausted, working very early mornings. Having to plow snow from driveways, or cater at local diners. There were times she'd sneak leftovers to take home to Zack, up until she got caught by a manager. Luckily, she had become a master at covering her tracks.

Zack ladled the new concoction. Making sure to blow on it and avoid mistakes of the past and mishandling hot food. He took a bite hesitantly, then took a few more. "It's pretty good. What is this stuff anyways?" Ray washed her hands in the sink. "Beef stew. It's a new recipe I found from one of my cookbooks." She looked over to him intently. "So, you like it, then?" A small smile curved on her lips. "Ray, I've said it once, I'll say it again- she cut him off before he could finish. "I know, I know, you hate liars." She sighed, a smile still visible. He laughed a bit. "You know me too well." She laughed, sounding more genuine than what he was used to.

The sight and sound of her laughing caused him to freeze. He was a deer in the headlights. The pitter patter in his chest grew more rapid. Until he could barely utter a single word. He fought it off again, regaining his usual tone somewhat. "Uh....but... Yeah. This is probably your best meal yet." Ray was very happy to hear these words. She had found something worth being proud of. Something she did herself. Something to call her own. Her cooking.

Zack would never admit it but he was very proud of Ray and how hard she worked to provide for the both of them. He felt somewhat guilty having her be the one to do most of the work. He felt the very least he could do was write her a letter. Zack was no good with verbalizing his feelings, so he thought the best way to convey them would be through paper. He had never done it before but recognized that there's a first time for everything. He wanted to learn so he could properly thank her, to the very best of his abilities. For her, he wanted to become a respectable man who could express himself in a constructive and positive manner.

Zack would bother her every once in a while to vaguely tell her that he wanted to learn how to read and write. Which was more along the lines of "Hey, can you uh, tell me what these words mean?" Naturally, she didn't argue, and proceeded to give him a run down of how certain words work and what they mean. He absorbed as much knowledge as someone with his intellect could. With each lesson, he grew all the more eager to learn. It wasn't really all that fun just to learn. Getting to spend time with her was a reward in itself. He had never been truly happy until now. Part of him wished things could've gone on like that forever. Of course, he would never openly admit such sappy things. Let alone express such emotions.

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