HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 93

Sometime before dawn she staggered across the room and threw open the window. The cool night air washed over her, soothing her troubled mind. And as she looked out over the city, a motorcycle parked below suddenly tore off down the street.

Without thinking, she leapt out the window in her pajamas and flew after the bike. She closed the distance quickly and reached out for the bag slung over the rider’s shoulder. She’d just managed to hook a finger under the strap when the bike suddenly hung a left and passed right through the wall of a coffee shop.

Frederica stopped herself before she slammed into the wall. She rocketed upward, cresting the building and skimming over the roof. The bike didn’t come out the other side. Frederica listened but she couldn’t hear the roar of the engine anywhere nearby. She screamed obscenities to the sky and touched down on the roof.

It wasn’t until she was back under gravity’s sway that she realized she was holding the thief’s bag. Inside, she found a digital camera and a zoom lens. It was an older model, but the same brand Frederica used for photojournalism class. She turned it on and hit the playback button.

She scrolled through photos after photo. Herself in the window of Griffith’s apartment. Griffith outside the movie theater. Magh and Tommy, together in his car, driving off on some date. Nila and a group of her classmates on campus.

Further back were photos of strangers involved in various infidelities and fetishes, standard sleazy private eye fare. But nothing that hinted at Virginia’s identity.

Frederica’s phone buzzed. A text this time.

“Guess we’re both thieves now.”

Frederica didn’t reply. She reared back to throw the camera off the roof, but changed her mind. She wasn’t going to win this by getting angry. She had to play it smart, so she went back to Griffith’s place and got some actual sleep.


Frederica left in the morning wearing Darren’s face. She didn’t see any sign of the motorcycle, but Virginia could have been anyone, so she changed faces frequently on her way to campus. By the time she reached her first class, she was exhausted.