It was an almost four hour drive to downtown Harlem, and it was late sunset by the time they reached Washington Bridge. The van turned and pulled to a stop on a side street. Elijah drowsily noticed the ceased motion, but supposed they had just stopped at another light.
“We’re here,” Jackson said. He stood up to open the door.
Elijah jerked and opened his eyes. He sat still for a moment while Jackson stepped out the back doors. Elijah felt cramped from the ride, but as a soon as Jackson had spoken he felt a knot in his stomach; that was enough to get a rise out of him.
He followed Jackson out of the van.
Elijah took a look about the street as his feet finally met solid ground again. Dim, brick buildings. They were in the shadows.
“Do you know where you’re going?” Jackson asked. Elijah nodded, still glancing around the street.
“Over the bridge and three blocks past,” he answered.
“And your gun?”
“Got it.” Elijah readjusted his jacket. The unfamiliar holster still felt uncomfortable under it. He looked at Jackson. They had hardly talked on the way, but for some reason Elijah felt at ease with him, more at ease than he had felt for the past few days.
But that was over. Adrian was what had to matter now.
“Good luck then. We’ll wait for your signal,” Jackson held out his hand. Elijah took it, then Jackson climbed back into the van, and Elijah waited till they had pulled out onto the road, and disappeared into the traffic. I hope I see that van again soon, he thought. Not just because he had left his backpack in it, but because he wouldn’t be seeing it again until he saw Adrian again.
He hurried out of the side street and struck out towards the bridge.
It was past rush-hour, but the bridge and roads were still filled with cars, and it made him feel less conspicuous. There was cool breeze too from the river, rippling inky browns and greens, but shot with gold. The sun blinded his left side, where the cars whirred past. So he just looked down at the water, and felt the wind.
Better walk faster. You don’t know how much time Adrian has. Or what’s going on at all.
The sun had sunk farther by the time he crossed the bridge, and when he reached the streets, the light didn’t hit the top of the old buildings at all. Streetlights came on instead.
Three blocks down. You’ll be able to see the building in a little bit.
He kept his eyes up to the skyline and the street names. He stopped to cross at a light. He glanced behind for a moment and was relieved to find no one was following him. Just other evening stragglers.
The stars came out soon, but he couldn’t see them with the lights in the street. Besides, he had his eyes on another thing as he crossed a block over.
The Correlation tower. Sleek and silver. And the windows were dark.
I need a bird’s eye view, he thought. He hurried his pace a little. Go under. You already made that decision.
He glanced up at the sky.
His legs were beginning to lag a little when he reached the last block. Newer complexes replaced the century old buildings. Offices mostly it looked like, with most of the windows dark. But when the tower came clear in sight, he stopped. He back tracked and darted into an alley instead of walking towards it head on.
There was not one sign of sunlight in the sky. And the streets were more than half empty.
He slowed down when he got into the alley. He glanced behind him, once again to make sure he was alone.
He snuck by a dumpster, and wrinkled his nose. He avoided stepping on a wet newspaper. But towards the end of alley he stopped and crouched down. He wiped the sweat off his face.
The letters on the tower were still lit up in green, but the only other light was at entrance. The parking garage next to it was also dark. Everyone’s gone home.
He stood up, looked up and down the road and darted out across it.
He crossed the side walked up to the garage and avoided the entrance. Instead he climbed up onto one of the half-walls, and slipped in over the cement.