Though I was worried about a lot of people, I decided that Hitori would be the first place I should go to. Besides the fact that I left Nuru on her own, again, I really wanted to tell Hitori about everything as well. He had a clarity of thought sometimes that could put my own chaos back in line again. Yes, that was a good idea.
I gave the address to Hitori and we were off, driving through the pouring rain.
Usually the night wasn't fully dark at this time, but the clouds obscured the otherwise brighter sky. The rain blot out any light that might have travelled here from the city (light poisoning they call it) and made the outside world as black as ink. A darkness, interspersed with the windows from houses, the streetlights and of course the other cars in the distance. Though out in the countryside only one car passed us on the other side.
The darkness didn't get any brighter when we neared the city, despite the extra lighting on the side of the street. Now it was more like driving a strip of grey into a world of black. Side streets were like deviations from the safe-zone. A nightmare, and yet...
A strange, deep beauty.
The darkness was all-engulfing. It made all equal. Buildings, no matter how old, ugly or worn, were all the same and no more than vague silhouettes in the rain. The dark sky was like a blanket over your head when you were scared. The rain wasn't bad either, its rhythmic drumming on the car was louder than the engine and when driving through one of the many puddles, the sharp almost shearing sound was like tearing the world a little.
The taxi driver didn't speak, he was probably preoccupied with many thoughts of his own. The few times I glanced at his face, I could see him both concentrated in driving as something ticking away behind his eyes. I would have loved to ask, but part of me knew that this man would prefer to stay to his own thoughts. He liked the rain though, a soft smile did taint the otherwise worried look.
I was just gazing out of the window when I saw something white in the distance, a person standing out in the street. With surprise I focused and realized it was someone I knew.
"Stop the car!" I cried out.
The taxi driver surprised me partly by responding immediately and quite neatly as well. He glanced at the mirrors for only a fragment of a second before deciding he was the only one on the street and could safely brake. He didn't even brake fully, knowing that the wet streets could be quite treacherous, but slowed down as fast as the street allowed. We came to a stop just behind the person I saw.
"Back, a little."
The man understood that I wanted to go to the person standing there, backing up the car next to the curb and waiting for the next instruction. He didn't ask me anything but...
He was gazing as well.
A little girl, eleven at best, standing in the rain in simple white clothes and a backpack on her shoulders. Her hair was stuck to her face by the rain and she did nothing to hide from it. On her face a simple almost innocent expression of light amusement where only the eyes betrayed the deeper conscious behind it.
"Isabel, what are you doing here?" I wanted to phrase this question differently, but the mind of the driver was boggled enough already as far as I was concerned.
She smiled. "Walking in the rain, it's a lovely night, isn't it?"
What should I do? I couldn't invite her in the car, something told me that would be a very stupid thing to do. I decided that the rain was a minor burden to bear compared to all the other options. I paid the driver and got out of the car, apologizing to him for this sudden turn of events. He nodded and drove off. I waited for him to disappear into the black before I turned to Isabel again.
"I'm asking again, why are you here?"
She looked at me and pouted. "You're no fun. I was being a present."
I frowned. "For who?"
"Because there will be a fight and I'm the messenger."
I sighed. Dripping wet already, my clothes stuck to me like they did her. But I didn't care, it wasn't as cold as I expected. "Where?"
"Above that swimming pool."
She giggled. "Midnight of course, else it won't be dramatic."