It all happened at once. Sanguine running towards me, her expression terrified. The girl looking up and screaming. I look to the sky and almost faint. It's a deletion bomb. The bomb that deletes everything it blows up, then all that is deleted is sent to the digital junkyard, which is where we were before we came back to the blue city. The hovercraft that belong to the rebels and protect I and Sanguine shoot down transportation beams. I don't want to leave Decency to the deletion bomb, but I have no choice. We quickly vanish and reappear in the craft. I start screaming, begging to be let back down to save the people of Decency from the bomb, but it's to no avail. I know by the distant "Bleep!" that I'm too late.
That sound will forever haunt me, that "Bleep" sound. I want to run towards the former site of Decency, although I know I'm not going to enjoy what I saw. But still, tearing my eyes away from the grey emptiness wasn't an option. I pressed a button on the wall of the teleporter, now allowed to do this, and was transported with Sanguine down to the ex-town. It was like someone had taken a spoon and scooped away the land, leaving nothing but the pixellated edges behind. The street now dropped into nothing but a hollow pit.
"Moveljay..." Sanguine whispers, her voice crackling through my earphones though she stands by my side. The intercom must be her only true comfort, now that Decency is gone...and the residents.
The thought suddenly comes to me as we stand and stare, hitting me like a falling icicle would. "The other residents...Sanguine...they're gone..."
The words stick like treacle, impossible to spit out cleanly. They're gone...the survivors...the old hands...gone in a bleep.
"From there, you mean."
The voice comes to us from nowhere, forcing me and Sanguine to turn in shock, not knowing where it came from. "Who said that?" Sanguine demanded, and the voice replies with a dark, eerie giggle. "I'm warning you!" She yells, as the speaker laughed again.
"I take it you've never heard of me before, but don't worry..." the speaker says, "I prefer to keep a low profile anyway."
This time, the voice comes from right behind us, as we both turn as one to see the figure standing there, on the edge of what was. "What the..." I say, taking in everything about her.
She's short and doll-like, coming up to about five foot three, but as she wears heels in black silk with red gems on the toes, I'd put her at really being about five foot exactly. She wears a plain black trouser suit with a red collared shirt beneath, and a brooch in the shape of a silver star twinkled on her lapel, matching the silver stars hanging from her earlobes, and twinkling like the diamond watch around her skinny wrist. Her hair is dark brown, curled and parted at the side in a way that could have come directly from the nineteen-twenties, in the era of Old Hollywood glittering silverly on screen, adorned with a sprig of holly, the red berries matching her shirt. Her skin is deathly pale, almost white, and her lips are painted a deep scarlet, contrasting with the bright green glimmer of her eyes. Yet the only thing that seems truly strange about her was the rose in her hair, above the holly garnish. It is deep purple, the petals turning a poisonous green at the tips, and looked too detailed to be fake, yet too alien in saturation to be real,
"You're..." Sanguine began, but I was too shocked to speak. Rumours were rife about her, and whether she was still around, but clearly she had gotten away in time.
"Ah, so you do know of me." She replies, smiling to reveal a line of silver braces on her teeth, that are oddly sharp-looking and pointed. "Commandress Holly of the Red City, pleased to meet you both. I take it you got away alright, and the evacuation worked." She purrs, playing with the scarlet tips of her black painted fingernails.
Evacuation? "You knew this was coming?" I exclaimed, too shocked to say anything else.
"Of course. The vast majority of us did. The Admins...well, short-notice or not, I can sense when they plan to make a change. They do their planning at a time beneficial to a nyctophile like me."
Nyctophile? That explained how deathly pale she was, if she rarely went out during the day. "Wait...the Admins planned this? How...how did you find out?" Sanguine gasped, clearly in shock.
Holly smiled softly, her sharp teeth making another appearance. "I'm only one of many that can tell you all you need to know about the former glory of its place...and all its sneaky little hiding spots. You ever need a place to hide and observe undetected, then well, I'm your woman. So...shall I introduce you to our allies?" She purred softly, beginning to pace. Her heels made an unusual-sounding clicking on the asphalt road, and her socks were a bright white beneath her trouser legs.
She must have taken our nods as a yes, as she began leading us down a grimy alleyway, through the back streets of the Blue City. "I apologise for the state of our front garden..." she began, groping along a wall and slotting her fingers into a gap, pulling out a loose brick and pulling at something inside the wall, "yet I think you'll find the interior to your liking."
As she spoke, three stone slabs began sliding back, revealing a hidden set of steps. Familiar looking blue logos of the old Movellas were on the stone stairs, that seemed to glow as we made our way down, even when the slabs slid back into position.
"Welcome to our hideaway." She grinned, as an envelope of warm light opened in front of us.