If the shit hits the fan, the inmates will be the first to go. People are only worried with the wealthy and their own safety.
Sol slowed his escape when he reached one of the neighbors with less attention. The slum looked like completely empty, but whispers could be heard all around him. He could feel eyes watching him carefully, which was a bit unsettling, but he brushed it off quickly remembering this was probably the best place for him to be right now. The door to a shop opened slowly a few yards ahead, and Sol paused suddenly. A rough looking Pikey stepped out holding a piece of piping and held up his hand, signaling Sol to stop.
"Dat's far enough dere, sonny" The man mumbled. "Whatcha doin over round these parts? Ain't you be in the city wif under the watchful eye of Old Bill?" He questioned.
Sol forced a smile and advanced slowly.
"I'm in a bit of a jam. Can't go back into crowded areas." Sol said, pointing back over his shoulder. "What happened here? Why is everybody indoors?" He asked, feeling a bit more comfortable when the man lowered his weapon.
The Pikey pointed at a destroyed shop.
"Infection been spreadin quick through these parts, ya know? Bill showed up a few days ago, hauled off a bunch of sick in a truck. Hauled off some that weren't sick too" The man informed Sol. "Borough is almost empty now. Guess they wanted to make sure our numbers were down in case that virus got outta hand... Salright though. Leave us alone, we leave them alone" He grumbled.
The Enforcers had given up on saving the locals. Sol had found a dead spot on the grid and this seemed like a perfect place to lay low for a bit.
"My name is Sol" He said extending his hand to the Irishman.
"Boomer" The man answered back, shaking his hand with a smile. "Yeah, you don't seem like much trouble. Whatdya do?" Boomer asked.
Sol laughed to himself a bit remembering how close he had come to being shot.
"Took some pictures of the wrong people. Police are looking for me now, I'm sure" Sol said, adjusting his glasses.
Boomer waved him over to the shop, checking one more time to see if area was clear.
"We can talk in the shop, boyo. Best to be off the streets. A friend of mine tried to leave the borough yesterday and they beat him up good. You could say we're in a quarantine" He laughed.
Sol followed him inside. Had it really gotten this bad in some areas? He imagined The Carriers would have been the most trouble, but it seemed the law was the real issue. The Enforcers weren't the bright bulbs, but they were smart enough to know the virus would spread quickest in locations like this. The inside of the shop was hot, and the only air was provided by a single fan. He took a seat on a stool and looked around.
"You own this laundry, Boomer?" Sol inquired.
Boomer locked the door behind him and head back behind the counter. He flick on a small television set resting next to the register.
"Naw. Belonged to a Paki what got taken with the sick. Moved in here cause I ain't got a place either... Not what you'd call an honest citizen" The man joked.
Sol looked over and noticed the money was missing from the register. The Pikey had broken in and robbed the laundry, then had decided to stay. In most cases, Sol would have run, but times were different now and he too was just another criminal.
"Whatever you gotta do to make it, right?" Sol said pleasantly.
The news report on the television seemed normal, or what normal had become in the recent weeks. A few outbreaks in small lower-class areas and panic in the commonwealth. Solomon rested his head on his hand and watched with Boomer silently. A few shouts in the street caused them to take up arms again, but the situation didn't escalate and they soon were sitting quietly again. After a while, Boomer groaned.
"You hungry boss?" He asked Sol, walking into the back room.
It had been a while since he had eaten a decent meal, so he nodded eagerly.
"So how'd you get away from The Enforcers?" Boomer called from the other room.
Sol proceeded to tell him the whole story, about the attack, about the arrest, about the crash. When he finished, he noticed Boomer thinking to himself.
"Something wrong?" Sol asked.
Boomer shook his head.
"Thomas West, you say? Fuck me" He mumbled to himself.
Sol took a biscuit from the package and nibbled at him.
"So Ole Tom is back on the streets?" Boomer said finally.
Sol nodded and finished the biscuit. Boomer didn't say anything else about Tom West. He didn't say anything after that for a long while. Sol spent some more time watching the reports on the telly. A few hours later, Boomer emerged from the back room with his weapon.
"Ey Sol... Got some business I gotta go take care of. You watch the shop while I'm gone?" The large man asked heading for the door.
Sol could do nothing but agree to stay, and sat quietly as the man named Boomer disappeared into the street. The situation seemed normal at the moment, so Sol would wait here in the safety of the shop. He had to come up with a plan to get out of London, but where on Earth would he run to now? There was nothing he could do but wait alone in the darkened laundry mat.