Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many,
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.

-T.S. Eliot The Waste Land

The town is practically empty. Less then a hundred people in the town proper, working at the gas station and the Days Inn and the McDonalds. A few more in the outlying farms. Right on the I-5, the only people who would ever come through Chevelle ( a pretty name for a shitty little town) are travellers: big families on road trips to San Diego or newlyweds who are on their way to a honeymoon in Big Sur, splurging on the hotel but not the travel. Then there are the drifters. They range from all ages, some black, some white, some clean, some not. But only the locals know about all of this. They practically count the people to keep food on the table. Chevelle isn't a prosperous or a happy place. People joke sometimes about dying just to have something to do in this, a shitty town with a pretty name, in the no-where between Los Angeles and Lake Castaic.

Nothing good could ever happen here.

****
Suzie's terrified. She's pressed face-first against a white tile bathroom wall, the information "Tris, 553 346 7698" proclaiming some other girl's jealousy and hate. The man behind her smells like beef jerky and sweat. He's bigger then her and no matter how much she wriggles, she can't get away. Tears are streaking down her face. She knows what's going to happen. After he's done raping her from behind like this, he'll probably cut her throat and throw her into a ditch or just leave her here in the bathroom of a Shell station, to be found by some fat, Midwestern woman and maybe even her little kid too. 'Hey, just one more person to get fucked up on account of this,' she thinks cynically.

The door slams.

"What the fuck!" Suzie hears a woman yell. She's got a hick accent, but hopefully she's not stupid. "Get out of here bitch, I'm busy!" The fucker shouts at her, trying to sound tough. Suzie just barely sees the dark shape that flies over and is suddenly on top of the him. His grip loosens and she struggles to get away from him. His hand falls, sliding down her body and gripping to the waistband of her blue shorts. She turns her head to see his face. He's a big blonde asshole with spikey hair. He looks like a guy who used to play football at her high school.

He looks like he's dying. His eyes are bulging out and so are all the veins in him and she realizes that whoever it is that saved her is killing him. 'Good!' she thinks visciously. 'I hope it hurts! I hope it hurts like hell!' His face falls flat onto the tiles and his eyes are all bulged out and his tongue is hanging out. The girl is sitting on his back, her bare hands pressed to his neck. She's got this punk hairdo with a big white streak in her hair and a big coat on even though it's May.

Suzie rushes towards her. "Oh my God, thank you, thank you so much, you-" The girl looks at her, angry. "You should get out of here." Suzie looks at her, suddenly noticing that she doesn't have a weapon. That she's just been touching the fucker. And there's no blood. She backs slowly towards the door. She runs to her car and guns it, speeding out to her mother's on the edge of town. 'A mutant,' she thinks frantically. 'A real live, goddamn mutant.'

****

Rogue watches the car speed away. She wishes that she could have let the girl stick around longer. It's hard to disappear, especially when people need so much rescuing.

She can taste the bastard in the bathroom's nastiness in her. She spits and walks toward the Days Inn down the highway. It's getting dark.

****

Suzie stops abruptly on the I-5 causing angry honking. She pulls off at the next exit and then loops back through the dirt roads to the Shell Station. If the girl isn't there, hey, it's a small town.

****
Rogue is lying in the bed she can't afford for more then one night. If she wants to keep going, she'll have to get a job in town tomorrow. She tries to think of what she could do.

There is a flurry of knocks on her door. What if it was Logan? Was he even looking for her?

If he's not looking for you then why are you runnin' girl? that little voice in her head that sounds so much like her Mama whispers, teasing. She shoves the voice to the back of her mind.

She takes a deep breath and opens the door.

The girl from the gas station is standing there, her mascara streaked down her face. "Hey." She says, smiling as brightly as she can. "Do you need a place to stay?"