There was strange movement in Argos. Men in long, dark brown, Colombo-style trench coats prowled the aisles, apparently looking for someone or something. They moved as one, as if they were all parts of one body, working under the command of a single brain. I wondered if they were military, and wondered why they would be. War was quite unheard of these days - people with odd ideas were simply taken away and neutralised.
"I wonder what they're doing here", I asked.
Alizé looked at me and gave me a sad smile. That should have set the alarm bells clanging, but it didn't. I asked her what exactly we were waiting for.
"I like you", she said suddenly, the sadness in her voice more pronounced than it had been in her smile. I wondered what had gotten into her to make her say that to someone she met less than an hour ago.
This train of thought made me unaware of how quiet it gradually became. I only noticed when one of the trench coats was right beside me. I looked up and was horribly discomfited by his stare. His eyes were bright pink, like lingerie on Girls of the Playboy Mansion. I was still trying to register that when I heard him say "that's him" to another.
He was referring to me of course, and I was instantly terrified. It was then I realized they'd been waiting for me, for us, and had lulled us into a false sense of security by appearing to take no interest in our movement (or lack of it) whatsoever. Alizé! I suddenly thought. I must keep her safe! The thought rushed through me in bullet time. It was an instant, but in that instant I took in every facet of her beauty I'd seen in the past hour or so that I'd spent with her, every expression I'd seen on her face. and I remembered her saying she liked me.
"Let's get out of here", I whispered, and held her hand, looking for a direction to run.
Trench coats were all around us now, not doing anything yet, but making sure there'd be no way we'd escape. Or... Yes, I saw a gap where one trench coat should have been, and saw him further off, talking to a child - or at least standing near one. The boy seemed lost, and over my fear I thought he must be a nice man to take time out from whatever it was they were going to do to me just so he could do whatever he was doing for the kid. Then I realised how ridiculous that thought was and concentrated on the gap again.
If I can get us through there then make a sharp turn towards the door and run for it, I thought, would we make it? I had no idea, but I had to try something to keep Alizé safe.
I started out through the gap. I'd only gone a couple of paces when I felt Alizé's hand leave my grasp. It came up to my shoulder, pulling me back. I turned, and saw the sad smile once more. Realization struck in the instant a million stars lit up in my head.