The door wouldn’t open. Sam pulled at the handle and kicked until she felt it through her steeltoes. It held tight.
She slumped against it, head tilted back. She could see faint lights dancing in the window above. A wind sent her deeper into her parka.
“Open the door, you fuck!”
She blew hot air into her hands and got to her feet. She stomped into the Chinese restaurant next door, narrowly avoiding a trio of loose kids.
“Hi Mrs. Huang.”
“The key’s on the desk.” Mrs. Huang spat, hauling plates out of the kitchen.
Sam snatched the key and slipped through the swinging door.
“You can’t keep doing this,” came a deep voice from behind a stack of boxes, the clack of his knife through vegetables. “Ma’s going to kill you.”
“It’s not a choice, Gan. Keep her off my back.” Sam replied.
“Hey, you warm enough?” He poked his scruffy face between the boxes as Sam unlocked the back door.
“Goodbye, Gan!” She rolled her eyes when he couldn’t see.
Up on the restaurant roof, Sam hefted a plank and walked it over to the edge. It slammed down on the sill of the old fire station, wobbling in the breeze.
She got down on all fours to edge over the gap, facing straight ahead with one eye shut. She felt the rough ends of the plank rub against her fingers as she slid forward.
Two thirds of the way across she raised one hand and wrapped it around the brick, then the other, and dragged her way up onto the sill. She flicked her pocket knife open and slid it between the windows. The latch gave a click.
Sam clicked the lock closed behind her. The open living room was only a few degrees warmer than outside, completely dark bar a few beams that slipped from beneath the heavy wooden door across the way. She heard muffled gunfire too.
She unclenched her fists and let out a sigh before stomping across the room. A thousand obscenities bubbled up behind her teeth as she gripped the handle. This door was locked too.
Sam screamed. “Elias Woley Redd! You open this door right now or I swear I’ll-”
“Or you’ll what? Kill me?”
A blue head stuck through the solid wood of the door, sparkling with silver electricity. Elias yawned and phased back into his room. A faint click came from the lock.
Sam shouldered in, one finger raised. “If I EVER have to wait out in the cold again - did you order fucking pizza?”
Elias hovered at the foot of his bed, one hand merged with an XBox controller while the other flowed into the powerpoint. “Pepperoni, you can have some if you want.”
“You can’t even eat.”
“Force of habit I guess. Suit yourself if you don’t want pizza.”
Sam ran a hand through her hair and made a growling sound. “Lock the door again and I’ll pour salt around your bed.”
“Salt doesn’t do anything, nimrod.”
“Well then I’ll get a priest! Just stop fucking with me or - or-”
Elias looked up from his game and blinked. “You can leave any time. I won’t tell anyone.”
Sam lowered her shoulders. She leant in, her face close to Elias’, so that her hair stood on end. “Take my keys, steal my credit card, drain my phone battery, and lock that fucking door. I swore on my mother’s goddamn grave, you dead fuck. I am winning this bet.”
Elias sighed. “Well, there’s a second controller. If you can’t beat ‘em.”
Sam snatched up the controller. “Try, try again.”