Breeeep. A single, short sound. For a moment, stillness remains dominate, and then the pile of cloth erupts into motion. Standing and swearing quietly, but there is no real feeling to the words. They come out more like a ritual prayer than an expression of anger. On the one edge, she is thoroughly annoyed that a single short sound can launch her to full alertness. And on the other edge, she is thankful for such a survival skill.
A glance over to the source of the noise, and it stares back with a glaring red 4:30. Rubbing her head in a minor state of confusion, trying to riddle out why she got up this early, she walks to the sink to clean up a bit. With nothing immediately demanding her attention, her body slips from full alert to the more recognizable half-ness that the morning draws onto most people. This time she does curse with feeling. Firstly because this place has no real bath or shower. Secondly because she recalled why she got up so early.
After stuffing what was hers into the bag she carried it in, she vacates the ancient styled inn. With all there was to say against the place, it was without question dry, cheep, quiet, and question-less. As long as the room was mostly if not completely in the same state as you left it. No one was really sure what the place was made of, but the walls could dampen most any sound a human could make. Few other creatures had voices that could cut through, but they were rare enough these days.
Eating one of the granola bars left in her bag, she darts for the nearest transit way entrance. No places selling food here would open before six. And she was not all that sure she wanted to deal with the required one or two people to order something. Which was ok since she needed to keep moving anyways, with the first train coming by just before five. Need to be on the train and out of this town before most got up and before some even went to bed. Maybe if this train had a dinner car she could get some real food.
Thirty years ago, someone had this idea of setting up large funds to fuel transportation and started to push that idea. Then twenty years later, with an nice chunk initial investment from the government, and getting the whole system excluded from taxation, it started. In the remaining ten years until today, the system expanded in near explosion like progress. All you needed to ride was a valid form of identification that showed your citizenship.
As seemly complex as the identity cards looked, a real enough looking card was easy to find. Additionally, they didn't actually check to see if there were matching records to the cards when you boarded. Put those two together and one could easily disappear onto the transit system for years if need be.
She stumbles onto the train. A moment of confusion before she remembers that her name is currently Mary. A smile and nod to the guy checking ids, hoping that the earliness of the morning will mask that mistake. Then she hurries in and finds a seat. Casually looking at this id card, she wonders why she grabbed it instead of one of the others. She had been using this id a lot lately. Lost in her inspection of her id, some over sized passenger sits next to her, overflowing into her seat. A moment and she is up, making excuses about the rest room, and sitting again two rows behind. Swearing again, quietly, since there were plenty of other open seats for that person to have taken. Another glance over the other passengers show that they are still sleeping or at least faking it well.
She tries to sleep, but the train and other passengers combined give enough activity that she cannot. Misfortune on her part, since she has to go and find quiet places to sleep. The ideal being to sleep on the trains, only needing to leave them for the short moments of switching when needed. Her need to seek out other places to sleep increases her chance of getting caught. But she has lived this way for two years now. And she wonders if maybe they have stopped looking for her.
She was not always able to jump to alertness like she does now. It was a skill that came to her that first day when she needed to start running. So she figures, that when she can sleep through that single, short alarm she can stop running. She has no other way of knowing if she is still being followed. And she will not admit to the idea that maybe, she has forgotten how else to live.
Finding herself looking at the oversized passenger yet again, she decides that now is a good time to find the dinner car. As long as it gets her out of this one. She is without any clues to why that person is making her uneasy, but they are. And she knows that while it is said that they never grab someone on the trains, they will follow until you get off. Not that she has ever seen this, or knows anyone that has seen it. But rumors usually have some truth to them.
Three cars back, she does find the dinner car, though empty and closed. A sign proclaims its activation at six, and a clock reads a quarter to. Somehow the sounds of someone prepping the tiny kitchen behind the closed wall relax her. So she claims one of the cramped empty tables and waits. Her mind takes the sounds and a few trace smells, and rebuilds the memory of a morning eons ago when she had helped her father make pancakes. Savoring what few moments of peace she can, she literally hits the ceiling when the memory is shattered by the wall to the tiny kitchen rolling up.
Annoyed for letting her guard down, and at the enjoyment the man behind the counter is showing from startling her, she bites down the desire to snap an insult. Instead she just orders a short stack of pancakes. By the time she gets her food, there is a line behind her. Comforted that she doesn't recognize any of those in line, she reclaims the table. Sitting to eat, she digs out the train guide, and starts to plan which train she will hide on next.
She can switch trains just after noon. The food on her plate loses its taste as she ponders how much longer she will need to keep running. She doesn't exactly know what is chasing her, just that she cannot get caught. And as long as it is chasing, she must run. That is all.