She had only minutes to save him once he came out of that diner.
Before they'd grab him for whatever they had planned.
But they wouldn't do it with witnesses.
And so she waited, without looking like a stalker or worse.
The diner was not all that safe. Just another trap to catch unwary souls. But he was safer inside - for now. More witnesses in there than out here.
Of course, she was prepared for any outcome, like being rushed, or captured with him, or some attempt to take him by force.
And they weren't prepared to get any response from an ''innocent-looking'' female. She hoped.
So - make that only seconds to rescue him, once his foot crossed that doorway.
She was waiting.
And time slowed ever more while she did.
When I left that diner for the final time, I didn't expect to find a black-haired angel in white waiting for me.
''Hello, John.'' She stepped next to me and slipped her hand inside my elbow, prompting me to keep moving forward as I was already. By habit and instinct, I pulled my forearm into an angle and put my free hand on hers to secure it. My usual long pace matched her shorter one, although the pace didn't falter.
This was a gal who was used to walking. You wouldn't know it by her look - long straight and glossy black hair. And wearing a tailored white outfit with shorts that exposed her long legs in front, long ''tails'' hanging down behind them - and now tending to stream behind us.
More a runway outfit than anything suitable for gritty S'Louee sidewalks.
Within a couple of steps, we'd turned to the south and toward the overpass. The bus stop sat behind us with its bolted down bench. The early morning S'Louee haze diffused the sunlight and filled my nose with acid car and bus exhaust from the passing traffic.
''My name is Sybil, and there are people after us - no, don't look - just keep looking at me and nodding. I know part of what you were doing in there, and you'll have time to tell me the rest.'' Her free hand went into a side pocket of her shorts.
One of my eyebrows went up. ''How do you…''
''…know your name and what you've been doing? That is a bit of a longer explanation, but hold onto that question. We've got those visitors slowing down behind us. Just keep us walking straight at this pace.''
I could see out of my peripheral vision that some dark car had slowed and was pulling just ahead of us. At about a car-length, it stopped. Two car doors on our side opened. And people started coming out of them.
Sybil pulled my elbow hard so that I went behind her. In her right hand, she now pointed a small silvery handgun at them. It looked more like a water pistol or derringer. But two quiet pops emitted flashes that knocked the people right back inside. Two more pops and the doors slammed shut, the car rocking with that force...