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Title: Balance Author:Zane Smith

'You must come with us.'

His lips don't move, and his eyes are hidden behind his dark glasses, but I know he is talking to me. I weigh the choices in my mind. The greater good, the lesser evil. The greater evil. It's all about balance.

He speaks again, the man in the black suit, 'You must come with us.'
I consider running, but even behind the glasses, I can see that he also is weighing choices. I am useful to them alive, but there is a point where the risk of my staying alive outweighs my usefulness. Balance.

For the first time, I feel the cool weight in my hand. I need not look down to know that it is the knife. The blade. Always the blade. Do I wield it, or does it wield me? I do not remember pulling it from my pocket, nor can I recall how it got there in the first place. Reflected in the dark glasses of my pursuer, I see the glint of its two edges. Two. The man in the black suit takes a step towards me. The balance shifts. I run.

My legs no longer tire. They pound their incessant tattoo against the pavement. Dodging the black suits, fleeing across the chewing-gum constellations suspended in the concrete aether. Keeping the Lovecraftian beat. The beat of my heart.

Ah, but my heart does tire. My memories blur, but I remember one who I once ran with. Ran from. At first she was the colour in my monotone world. For a while, I even forgot that I was running.
The world outside was a blur of motion, but to a detatched observer, uncaring of its fate, it was nothing but white noise. Images merge and flip, like some child of Escher, but in my mind I see her walking into the room. She has dyed her hair black.
She dons a pair of dark glasses, and mouths the words, 'You must come with us.'

I grab something from the table, and flee. Out the window, down the fire escape, and down the alley. I run.

Down the stairs, up the street, across the bridge. I run. I run, but the horizon never gets any closer. The chewing gum constellations are foreign to me here, but the pounding of my feet, the pounding of my heart, is still familiar. I duck and weave through the forest of people, standing tall and silent. Are they motionless, or am I?

Up the stairs, across the street, onto the bridge. I stop. The man in the black suit blocks my path.

'You must come with us.'

I take a step forward, and the balance shifts. More men, more suits, step from behind the trees and rise out of the shadows. They are behind me now, too. Once again, I feel the cool weight in my hand. The blade. It screams at me, begging to be used. On them? On me? It doesn't matter. It is my move.

The balance shifts.
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