North to Nara
“It’s you,” he murmurs, studying my face. “I thought it was you—on the trolley, when you looked at me.”
A wave of panic begins to drown me. He must think I’m stalking him—that I’m strange, maybe even dangerous. I bite my lip and struggle for words. Then, I decide to claim innocence. It’s my only defense at this point.
“I don’t understand,” I say. “What do you mean?”
He says my name, and I can only gape in disbelief. It’s not just me knowing his identity after all—somehow, Micah Ward also knows mine. He grasps my arm, gently but firmly, and he pulls me aside, out of the view of passersby and into a quiet corner behind a founder’s statue. I follow him willingly, without question—I’d follow him just about anywhere, I find myself thinking.
“You know who I am, don’t you?” he asks. “And I recognize you from your pain. I saw you—just in an abstract—but I saw you when you transferred your sadness about what happened to Levi at the Center.”
I squirm uncomfortably. He knows everything. He knows how I feel about him—that I admire him and am attracted to him. I’ve heard before that abstract images sometimes transfer, along with the feelings, while Suffering. They’re said to be like reflections of our self-image, buried in our thoughts. But I never expected the scenes to be clear enough that my Sufferer might recognize me.
“Yes, it’s me—I’m one of your Sieves,” I admit. “You don’t have to worry about the anonymity laws, though—I’m on my way to tell Isla that I broke the rules and need to be reassigned again.”
But Micah’s eyes flash with sudden urgency and desperation. “No, please don’t tell Isla—not yet, at least.”
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