Standing there, Zachary knew there was only one place left he could go.
They had warned him that the pharmacies would be closing soon, and as much as he tried to avoid their help, he knew he needed them now.
Zachary quickly ducked into a desolate alley, his steps echoing off the silent walls. There wasn't much time. There was even less hope.
The events of his last run-in with the Greybloods battered the edges of his mind.
Even now he could smell the bloods' subtle, urinous odour ... and it was getting stronger.
But he had to move on from it, he had to try and put the images of that ruined city behind him. Zachary steadied his scattered thoughts and focused on the journey ahead. As in the past, he knew he would need to rely on his wits. He knew the Greybloods would expect a trade, but the only barter item he had was the radio, and he hadn't had time to make a decision there. If he didn't trade it, this would be the second time he had stolen from the Greybloods and, hopefully, this time he'd get out unscathed. Trading the radio would mean turning his back on the strange, mysterious echo of Lilly's voice. Was it really her?
What choice did he have. He could never--would never--abandon the radio if there was even the slightest chance it really was her. But how could he trick the thugs into giving him something for nothing? He chanced upon an old fedora in the mud, and inspiration struck. The fedora was what the Greybloods used as a code - an identification code. At least that's what he was told by old Jack Hammer. Jack never steered him wrong. He did precisely what Jack told him to do. Grabbing the fedora, he moved it fifty paces south. Zachary knew that if he could remember the sequence of moves correctly, the Greybloods might believe him to be one of their own.