Naomi was smart, very smart. She kept it hidden deep inside, letting people be distracted by the shine of her appearance. She was beautiful, her dark black skin flawless, her body ripe, lush. The clothes she wore showed her figure, and as much skin as the weather would possibly allow. Dark brown liquid eyes framed by impossibly long lashes, she would look at a man with those large eyes half lidded and he would be wrapped around her finger in an instant.
As a child she had let her intelligence shine through, but a couple of beatings by classmates cured her of that. They didn’t need to know who she was inside, she would be out of there as soon as she could be. She worked hard in school, mostly to make sure her grades weren’t too good – good enough to get into college once she had the money saved up, but not good enough to stand out, to stand above the crowd.
Her obsession with navigation probably started with her need to run away, to get out of that shitty housing project and build something greater with her life. She started with the stars. When she was eight she had a week at a camp, a charity deal for underprivileged children. On the first night she looked up at the sky and saw the dome of stars. She was transfixed by them. One of their councilors taught them to recognize the north star and to use it to find direction, told them if they could do that they would never be truly lost. From that moment she was transfixed. At fifteen she bought a telescope, a cheap thing. She earned the money working at the local Caribbean restaurant after school. She hid the purchase from everyone.
Tunnels were the other thing, any kind of hidden escape route. Some way to make it out of there without being seen, without allowing herself to be trapped. Moving among her peers was easier when she knew she could escape at a moments notice.
At eighteen she moved out on her own, left her brother to his drugs, her mother to her drudgery and hopelessness. Got a cheap apartment with a room mate, preparing for college in the fall. The area was full of steam tunnels, leftovers from an earlier version of the city. She spent her days that summer between partying and working, but found time to make sure she had the tunnels mapped out. Her sharp mind allowed her to keep the map entirely in her head, no need for paper copies, they would only give her away, let her be trapped.