Celeste walked along careful to remain aware of her surroundings while looking as though she didn’t notice. As she approached the McDonald’s there were more stores so more foot traffic. She noted that this area was quite busy and a good place to blend in.
As she entered McDonald’s there was a young man with a broom chatting with friends, presumably he’d been sent to sweep the lobby and gotten distracted. Celeste noted the dining area was quite full and there were a lot of customers waiting for their orders. A busy place to easily disappear!
She noticed an empty seat near where many were charging their devices and sat down. She needed a few contacts in the homeless community and this would be a good start. Into the void in conversation she introduced herself using ‘Cathy’ instead of her real name. By virtue of persistence she was able to learn a bit about the surrounding area. There was a second soup kitchen so she could alternate and keep a lower profile.
As she sat chatting with a man who called himself ‘Bob’ she asked about the community and what secrets it holds. She was told that the mayor likes to portray a shimmer that has never existed. Once this was a place where a great burgundy wine was produced. . . what became of the vineyards and winery is steeped so deep in secrecy it is a huge risk to even remember it happened. And then her new ‘friend’ chuckled in a sickening way. Celeste asked about the myriad of bridges and how so many seem original. Bob told her a bit about a foot bridge in a park that had a tunnel under it. It was in a neighboring town but he’d heard there were similar bridges in the area. He also mentioned there were some people who lived underground which intrigued her.
Soon the manager came out and shooed away all the homeless as well as anyone else he thought had been sitting more than 1/2 hour. Celeste decided to hurry back to the bridge but first to buy a small flashlight. She went into the grocery across the street, bought a cheap flashlight then wandered back towards the bridge.
It did appear, from above, to be a typical bridge. She wandered half way across and leaned on the railing gazing into the water. As her eyes adjusted to seeing by moonlight she began to notice Nintendo-like lights playing gently under the water. Quietly she stood gazing entranced by what seemed to be an underwater world. Some of the lights even appeared to be a small grove of trees . . but how could that be??
Celeste crossed the street and stood once again gazing into the water. A passing man with his possessions hung hobo style on a stick asked if she was planning to jump and grinned at her oddly. She said no she was simply enjoying the water! Celeste went back to gazing at the water waiting for her eyes to adjust. What would she see? Should she climb down the bank tonight and risk climbing into dark waters? Come back in the morning when she’ll be more easily spotted by passing cops?