Footsteps echo in the stairwell beyond the front door. ‘They’re here,’ she says and bundles him out ahead of her onto the fire escape.
In the courtyard behind the building floats a sleek hovacar eighteen inches above the ground, its doors retracted, the driver standing on the river bank, face to the sun, nodding along to the music in his earphones.
Evie feels the warmth of the downdraft as they run through the melted snow. They climb in and the doors automatically close. Daniels, now recovered from earlier, glances over the instrumentation and touches the wheel. The motors accelerate and the vehicle bucks, the rear rapidly rising, tilting the front towards the ground, throwing them against the control panel.
The driver, abruptly aware of the theft in progress, casts away his cigarette and dashes towards them.
‘Anchor?’ Daniels mutters frantically. He scans around himself, then lowers a lever by his seat and the front of the vehicle, freed from gravity, ascends sharply, levelling as the compass acquires control.
Men appear at the window with handguns. Green and orange beams glance sizzling off the armoured bodywork.
As the car accelerates upwards, the force pins her to her seat. The buildings rapidly shrink until her view of the ground is of the giddy prospect of the tops of the cylindrical gasometers and the dark waterway cutting an emerald wound through the white snow.
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