Looking down, Dido saw she was perched right on the corner of the roof. Another couple feet and she’d have been pulled right off the edge. Across the street, Officer Scipio and Clyde’s partner were looking at her, dumbfounded. Then they recovered and started fighting each other and the crowd in the Steam Pump.
By the time Officer Scipio forced his way out of the bar, the only sign left of his quarry was a few piles of red dust where shingles had fallen and shattered on the street below. From a shadowy alcove next to a chimney, Dido watched Scipio gather evidence. She also watched the parade of brawlers walked out in chains. Clyde’s partner—she’d never caught his name—was one of the arrests, but Clyde himself had somehow managed to escape. Dido just hoped that he found and read her note and delivered it to his boss.
It was getting late, the afternoon sun fading to evening, when the city watch finally finished up. Dido slipped from shadow to shadow. Her feet were whispers atop the noisy shingles. Intent as she was on staying silent, what she didn’t notice was that one of the shadows was moving in time with her across the roofs.
* * *
Dido made her way home across the rooftops. The streets and alleys were narrow, so she could easily jump over them, but the buildings were all four or five stories, or even more. Any wrong step could easily be her last.
After a few minutes of running and jumping, Dido forced herself to slow down. Her heart was thumping from the effort and from the remnants of adrenaline working its way out of her system. When word had gotten out on the street that Sturgeon wanted to make peace with her, she hadn’t anticipated Officer Scipio hearing about it. Dido had liked things a lot better when she was an unknown thief. Her reputation was getting her into trouble.
Not that she’d have much reputation left. A botched job and a meet crashed by the watch. She’d be lucky to get a job stealing coin purses now.
Whether it was the second narrow escape in a couple days or just a gut feeling, Dido paused and looked around. She didn’t see how anyone could’ve followed her, but as she continued on, she used reflections in windows and the occasional glance to look behind her.
It took several minutes to see it. Whoever they were, they were very good. She never caught the person following her out in the open, only glimpsing the last fading of an outline into a shadow.
Unlucky for her tail, Dido was just getting into her neighborhood. She knew the rest of the Docks like the back of her hand, but here she knew each and every nook and cranny. She trended away from her apartment. The last thing she wanted to do was lead someone back to where she lived.
She led the way to a couple high-roofed apartment building that were crammed so close together they formed a little valley five stories up between the two roofs. The valley seemed to end in a brick wall, but it was actually a tight corner in one of the buildings.
Dido waited around the corner, pressed back into a comforting blanket of shadows. Her mouth moved silently as she counted out the seconds. She couldn’t hear anything, but some kind of weird sixth sense was telling her it was time to spring the trap.
Dido pulled the small knife she’d used to cut herself free from the grappling hook out again. Spinning around the corner, she realized a little late that she wasn’t very intimidating with only a tiny dagger in her hand.