The city was growing, throwing tendrils up and down the coast until every ocean view would be within its sphere, but for all that William Fitzgerald knew every street and storefront. He stroked his knowledge of the hidden ways of the city like a cat, and drew sparks to flash in his muddy, unfocused eyes.
He left the squalid tenement where he had found a desperate woman for her abusive, manipulative husband with five hundred dollars in his pocket, and began picking his way through the refuse and effluvia back to the wider, cleaner ways of the commercial center. The woman’s friends, though unwilling to beard the husband, followed his small, sideways figure with vengeance in their hearts. He hunched his shoulders and scuttled between the smeared and sticky buildings. The way opened before him and closed after, and between two dumpsters he disappeared from the slums.
His righteous pursuers pawed at the walls and kicked the trashcans. He watched them from two stories up, and fleered at them. Two blocks over the woman was shrieking mindlessly. Her howls were cut off. The noise and the silence were wine to him, and below her friends cursed ineffectually and turned away.