Prompt: A rainy afternoon.
The water is cold on my skin as I slink down the alley, shivering as the active camouflage blends me into the wall. Raul’s van sits crooked, front rim resting on a cinderblock, the rust around the wheel carriage inching ever upward. It’s a good disguise.
I press close against the wall, squeezing against the van and slipping inside the open door. Raul smiles as I collapse on the floor next to him, letting my camouflage fade.
Scowling, I pull a hazard blanket around myself and shiver.
“Can’t you make this damn thing warmer? Bad enough it looks like a glorified leotard.”
He laughs, the booming sound of his revelry reverberating in the metal cage. I deepen my scowl and sit up, scooting close and holding my hand out. He puts the cable in my hand, his expression softening for a moment. This part always sucks.
I plug the cable in, the electricity jolting through my body as the download starts. The pain intensifies, a hot burn racing through my nervous system, building to a crescendo that almost makes me pass out before vanishing. Raul gently pulls the cable out, leaving me slumped against the desk gasping for breath. He doesn’t say anything, passing me a glass of water, his eyes a mix of concern and pity.
“I signed up for this,” I croak out, taking deep gulps of the water. “Did you get all the data?”
“Yeah. It will take me an hour to index it all, but I think everything we need is here.”
I nod before crawling into the makeshift bed in the back, pulling the blankets close around me, the shivering yet to abate.
“Wake me when it’s ready, eh? I’m wiped.”
“Sure thing. You did good, Ila.”
I give him a thumbs up, eyelids already lazy, the sound of his typing drifting into the background as dreams take me.