Sonora pulled out of the parking lot and circled around to the front of the building. She searched this road for a police officer without success.

She pulled up alongside the sidewalk and tried to flag down a pedestrian, but he either ignored her or didn't see her.

Sonora sighed, and seeing an empty spot along the sidewalk pulled in. She pulled out her cellphone and dialed but all she got was a circuits are busy message. At a loss on what to do, she jumped out of the car and ran up and down the block checking out the side streets but still didn't see anyone in authority.

Sonora huffed and looked around. She stook directly in front of the pawn shop. She'd been in here a couple of times before, the guy in here was nice. Maybe he would let her use his phone.

She gingerly pushed the door open. "Hello?"

"Hey! Cool, a customer. It's been a slow day." The disembodied voice became a Hawaiian-shirt clad man. He swept back his long bangs from his face.

Sonora looked him over, he looked perfectly healthy. "Have you been--coughing?"

"What?" He backed away. "No, man. You?"

Sonora shook her head. "No, but I was just down the road, and there was a sick woman. She had her boy with her. He looked fine. I told her that I would get them help. Have you seen any police pass by here?"

"Sure, but not for a while. Wanna call?." He walked to the phone and held it out to her.

Sonora dialed 911 and waited. She pulled her lip between her teeth as the line clicked a few times, then let it go when it started to ring.  After several chimes, someone answered the phone. Sonora reported all she could, including that the woman needed medical attention.

"We have a unit close to your location," the 911 operator said. "It will take a few minutes. Please stay at your location."

"Me? But I'm just reporting this. She isn't here. She and her son are at the parking lot behind the accounting firm, and I need to look--"

"I understand that ma'am, but the officer could have further questions. Could you stay at your location?"

Sonora frowned. Her parents were probably waiting for her, but what choice did she have? "Um, okay. Just a few minutes?"

"Yes, a few minutes." 

After a couple more instructions, the operator needed to move to the next call. Sonora handed the phone back to the young man. When she did her arm passed through a blacklight he had on the counter.

He gasped. "You're one of them!"

Puzzled, Sonora frowned. "What?"

"Atlantian, you're one." His voice was an awed whisper.

Sonora shook her head and at a loss, she said, "No, just... a bit, I guess. How do you know?"

He reached out to grab her arm, and she hurried a few steps back.

"I'm not going to hurt you. Grandma always hinted we had some too, but look." He stuck his arm under the light. "Nothing." 

Sonora looked from his arm to his face. "What are you talking about?"

He backed away from the counter and leaned against the wall behind it. "I'm Rick, by the way. Now put your arm under the light."

Sonora gave Rick the once-over, but with his laid-back attitude, he seemed harmless. She went to the counter and laid her arm below the blacklight.

A faint pattern of colorful lines lay just below the top layer of skin. Why had she never noticed this before? "What is this?" she whispered.

Rick raised an eyebrow. "You didn't know?"

Sonora shook her head.

"I don't know exactly but it means your one of them. You should see it on a full-blooded one! I had a guy in here-- lit up like fireworks on a dark night." Rick made an explosion sign with his hands. "Pretty impressive."

"An Atlantian was shopping in here?" Sonora looked around, it seemed rather surreal. Do Atlantians come to the surface to shop often?

"Big guy, dark hair. Ian was his name."

Sonora's jaw dropped. "My Ian?"

"Your Ian?"

"I'm well, he's my fiance, I guess."

Rick chuckled. "You guess?"

"No, he is." Sonora giggled. "It's new."


Sonora smiled, then looked to the ground. She needed to warn him about it. "This disease. Have you heard about it?"

"Yes. Nasty. Grandma called right before you stepped in here. She said shut this place down and come home, that we are gonna do some hibernating. That's what I plan on doing. Grandma's not wrong when it comes to these things."

"Sounds like a good plan. There's a cure. It's being taken to the Army base so they should be dispensing it soon."

"Good. I had to bean too in the head on the way over here. Came after me." At Sonora's perplexed look, Rick pulled slingshot out from under the counter.

"A slingshot?"

Rick picked it up, armed it and aimed it down an aisle opposite of Sonora. "You'd be surprised what a deterrent it can be." He let the pellet go. In an instant, an old dvr player across the store exploded into pieces.

"Whoa!" Sonora said making a mental note to pick up a slingshot.

The bell on the door chimed as a police officer strode through it. "We found the mother and son. We have them in an ambulance on their way to the hospital." He looked over Sonora and Rick. "You two feeling alright?"

Both of them nodded their head.

"Has there been any word on a cure yet?" Sonora asked.

The officer shook his head. "I haven't heard of a cure yet. You two should head home. No sense in risking anything being out here."

Rick saluted the officer. "Yes, sir. It's what I intend on doing. Happy to do it too, I could use a little downtime."

Sonora stifled a chuckle. Just how exhausting was the pawn trade? She turned her gaze to the officer who seemed to have the same question on his mind. "I'm going home too, officer." A new home away from all this mess, far below sea level.

The officer left, and Sonora wasn't far behind. At the door, she turned back to Rick thinking of the work Nick would be doing. "If your grandma says you're part Atlantian then you probably are, and it might just be what saves you through this outbreak. I hope to see you when this is all over."

Rick frowned, then gave her an exaggerated nod with a huge grin. "Same to you!"

Sonora drove across the street to the accounting firm's parking lot. As she pulled into the lot, the ambulance with the mother and son pulled out. The little boy's face pressed against a small side window. Sonora waved to him, and he returned the wave. Relieved that they would get the help they needed, she hoped that things would get better for him even if there was little they could do for his mother.

Sonora drove the car through the parking lot. Now, what about her parents?

A/N: Thank you so much for reading! :)

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