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The city never slept. It never lulled or hushed or wept. The city remained constant, like a seething pit of refuse filled with rats. And that’s why he’d been called. He could see the city for what it was, could look past the soft veneer of hope some might see symbolized in the form of those three floating balloons slipping past the edge of the bridge.

Take the woman walking toward him for instance. Her suit proclaimed she was educated. Her carefully coiffed hair was like a walking billboard of control. But underneath it all, she was nothing more than a whore’s daughter with a whore’s appetite. She invited men and women to her apartment and took them to heights they never knew with more docile partners. She was passionate fire and sexual brimstone.

But no threat.

Or that boy vandalizing the pedestrian concrete guard with his skateboard. He appeared to be nothing more than a vagabond whose only dream was to poach off of others, but he excelled in math and science and used skateboarding as his vice to alleviate the overwhelming chaos his alcoholic mother inflicted upon him.

Again. No threat.

The woman hustling her daughter along drew his attention. The girl had her head bowed over her phone, ignoring the wind whipping in her face. She had to catch them all, and that’s all she could concentrate on. It was far better than to listen to her mother berate her over the color of her shirt.

The mother, Evelyn, however, was a much different character, and exactly what he was looking for. Calm. Cool. In control. Her eyes shifted around the crowd of people, finding the best, most expedient route through the din.

Calculated. Hard to read.