After the nightmares had ended and taken the rest with them, Sue moved into a tiny garrett on the north side of the bay. She tended bar at a hole in the wall down the street, coming home at three or four in the morning smelling like stale smoke and spilled beer, and laid in bed listening to her neighbor have noisy sex. He was a motorcyclist, always covered in oil; when he took a shower there was a smudgy black mark afterwards, up to the level of his waist.
Sue didn’t need much sleep. She learned the night skyline through hour after hour of patient study, sitting in front of her single window, listening to the trains go by below and looking at the lights across the bay. One red light burned high above the others. She could never find it when the sun rose, but every night it was there, bright as rubies.
She left the apartment to buy food, and to work. Other than the landlords — who were twins and shared the ground-level apartment — she spoke to no one.