Olivia reached the Clark and Lake station only to realize that it was on lockdown. She went to the top of the stairs and peeked out, finding troopers stationed on the street corner. Olivia had worried about the possibility of too many eyeballs being present for her to get to her destination on the street, and already had a backup plan in mind.
She continued up the next set of stairs to the upper platform of the Clark and Lake station. Olivia was in the loop, which meant the elevated track, or “El”, was right above her. She snuck to the top of an empty building she had always seen bustling with people and climbed down onto the tracks. She could see in between the railroad ties to the pavement below, but the height didn’t bother her. She was also able to spot the troopers placed at nearly every street corner, adding yet another obstacle in Olivia’s way.
Olivia crouched as low as she could while still being capable of maneuvering along the tracks, and did her best to stay silent. She took quick glances at the troopers that could detect her and only moved when they were facing a different direction. At times, with so many personnel, she was practically crawling to stay hidden. The toughest part of the journey came where the “El” rounds the corner at Lake Street onto Wabash Avenue. At that point, she had gotten extremely close to the tomb, she was caught in between the river and the park; all major sites of interest were within a few blocks of the intersection she was hovering over. Every time Olivia peeked her head up she saw more bodies stationed in every direction; she couldn’t just wait for them to be looking elsewhere, she was stuck in place.
Carefully, Olivia rolled to her back, positioning herself in between the railroad ties so that they acted as a remarkably uncomfortable hammock. She looked at the sky.
It suddenly dawned on Olivia: it was always cloudy when the tomb was active, but it never rained. She watched the overcast sky and wondered if anyone else had noticed. There were many great minds studying the situation, but Olivia supposed that they would not be the first ones to figure out why. It would be a conspiracy nut on the Internet. They had a way of seeing the most subtle and nuanced pieces of any puzzle, and would find a way to fit them together. Every disaster had a multi-level plan behind it. Every conflict, change in policy, or change in gas price had a money trail leading to a world leader. And if there wasn’t, well, then the answer was aliens.
It was windy, Olivia realized, as she came out of her little daydream. Her body was beginning to cool down and she was getting chilly. She rolled back over to have a look and see if there was any change in her dilemma. There wasn’t. The troopers were still placed in a grid watching every inch of the streets. Olivia exhaled in frustration, her head dipping in between the railroad ties. She let it hang there while she wished for a miracle. That was when she saw one of the troopers sprint away from his post, crossing the street directly beneath her.
There was shouting in the distance, on the other side of the block where Olivia couldn’t see. It was a familiar bark that she identified right away; a military man was giving orders. Suddenly, another trooper ran underneath her, and then another. Olivia lifted her head enough to get a glimpse of every guard leaving their post and rushing East toward Michigan Avenue.
Something was going on, Olivia had her opening.
She continued on, rounding the corner with much less attentiveness; no one was going to spot her, and if they did, they didn’t have time to stop and investigate. Once the commotion was behind her, Olivia was upright, trotting down the track at a hurried pace.
“Just a few more blocks.” She whispered to herself. “This nightmare will be over.”
She finally arrived at the cross street of Congress Parkway, which ran into the park and stopped directly in front of Buckingham Fountain or, the site’s more popular attraction, the tomb. Olivia didn’t have the patience to go to the nearest train stop and run down the stairs; she held herself over the edge, near one of the massive pillars that support the “El” and shinnied down. Once she was low enough to the ground, Olivia kicked away from the steel and landed on the pavement.
She was practically home free. Only one block and the skyscrapers halt, like a forest opening up to a prairie. Olivia looked up the gradual incline of the road; she could see the top of the fountain’s waters hanging in the air… and the upper half of the structure known as the tomb.
Olivia broke into a sprint, but, just as fast as her first step, pulled up at the sound of a voice.
“Hey! Stop right there!”
Olivia turned around and met the eyes of a familiar face; the officer who turned her away at the bridge.
“Oh no.” She groaned.
“I knew you were trouble.” He growled, as he placed his hand on his gun once again.
“How in the hell did you find me?”
He approached Olivia. “Oh, I wasn’t looking. I got orders to report to my rally point. The flood is starting again.”
“Of all the lucky bastards…”
He pulled his radio from his chest up close to his mouth. “I’m gonna have to make an arrest, here. I’ve got a female trespasser making threats.”
Olivia rolled her eyes. The dispatch responded.
“Is it absolutely necessary? We need all personnel at the levee.”
“Damnit, dispatch, I wouldn’t bother if I didn’t have to! Now get me a 10-29.”
The dispatch was irritated. “Fine, get me a name, please.”
The officer patted at Olivia’s pockets. “Can I see an I.D., ma’am?”
“No you can’t. When the military detained me yesterday, I didn’t have time to grab it.”
“Yeah, right. What’s your name?”
“I need a 10-29 on Olivia Reid… wait…” Confusion rolled over his face, he looked at Olivia.
“Hang on, officer.” Dispatch replied. Silence hung in the air, the two of them were still.
Major Dellucci had been doing his best to direct traffic. When the sirens went off this time, everyone wanted to get a jump on preparing for whatever was to come. Dellucci’s job was to monitor the water levels and relay any changes. City officials and relief organizations were gathering materials to rebuild the dam and levee, and had several options on standby should they need to call an audible. When he got word that the water was indeed rising, Dellucci set the plan into action ordering all units to target areas of the shoreline. Everyone in the war room watched and waited to see what kind of curveball might be thrown their way this time; that was when the call came in.
“Major? I’ve got a local police dispatch on the line.” Shouted a desk trooper, fielding transmissions.
“I can’t deal with them right now. Hand it off to someone else.”
“Sir, it’s a possible location of a high-priority target.”
“Don’t give me that jargon right now. What are you talking about?”
“Olivia Reid, sir.”
Hearing the name gave him pause, and he lunged toward the desk and grabbed a headset.
The officer and Olivia stood staring at each other, waiting to hear the squelch of the radio, when Olivia picked up the sound of something headed their way.
An engine, maybe multiple, and footsteps.
She looked down one street then another; she couldn’t place where it was coming from, it was seemingly everywhere. Then, troopers rounded the corners of buildings. Transport trucks pulled up to a grinding halt and let out more. They were running along the sidewalks, dozens of them surrounding her. Olivia didn’t know what to make of it, and neither did the cop.
That was when the radios, not just the cop’s, but every trooper who had one called out.
“Olivia, this is Major Dellucci.” Echoed up through the tall buildings.