Story of a terrible city
|The cold metal case began to warm to my hand. Ironic. You'd think with the frigid pellets of condensed water haphazardly descending from the firmament, and the biting chill of a tumultuous gust would prevent my body heat from enveloping the damn thing. But such was the case of this curious venture and such was my fate, like a sense of luck. Oh please be a lady tonight. The tip of my thumbs nail rubbed across the gelid metallic lid. My hand reached into the folds of the weathered duster that adorned my shoulders. The tips of my fingers fondled about the inside right, breast pocket until a sharp, angled corner pressed softly into the skin of my index finger. The "corner" adjoined uncomfortably against the dermis, irritating the grooves and texture of my finger print.
The startling wail of a siren, followed by fluttering pattern of red and blue hues against the brick walls of the decaying alleyway jolted me back to my senses. Shit. Already? So much for a quick break. My hand allowed the box of cigarettes to slip from my finger tips and fall back into their original resting place. I retracted that arm and promptly pushed the hand into its corresponding pocket, nesting it from the cold, then again, with the other. Off in the distance, I could hear cries and shouts of hookers attempting to run from the clutches of the squealing pigs that scurried after them. A typical night in this shit hole. With a solemn yield of my head, I hid my eyes from the hazy shroud of light that crackled from the near by street lamps.
"Get back 'ere bitch!" The sound of a hurried, panting voice rang in my ears immediately accompanied by the sound of heels slapping against the pavement. No doubt, those dissolute pigs were looking for something other than justice.
The ringing in my ears died out as I passed an open bar. Needless to even fathom that solace would find me. Loud, booming country music rang from the mandibles of pub whose doors were slightly ajar, a rather rough looking bald man standing in the pathway with his arms crossed menacingly about his chest. I saw my breath rise from my lips and I became aware that I was scoffing. Like his job was so goddamned important.
As I ventured onward, the grating scent of fresh urine enthralled my nostrils and felt as it was incinerating the lining of skin. I glared in the direction of the gaseous poison to behold an older man crouching behind a dumpster, scarcely illuminated by the more than inadequate street lamp. I had to question as to whether or not I stepped in a puddle of piss, or if it was the urchin's odor, traversing the distance and encircling him in an aura. Regardless, I had to force myself not to gag. Needless to say, I had to pass that living corpse in order to cross into the next street.
My feet thudded against the asphalt, splashing against the puddles that had now formed in the road. It was no longer raining, but the merciless cold was ever present. I stepped into the alleyway, so scarcely illuminated that shadows became so robust, they seemed to be devils dancing amongst the night, mocking those who dare traverse amongst them. Or maybe I am just crazy. It felt as if the walk way was barely roomy enough for three or four decent sized adults to walk side by side. On my right side, stretched a grate fence, quarantining the land of a run down "mom and pop's store"; it wasn't like the fence even deterred gangs from tagging the walls. On my other side, was a wall of brick and mortar, presumably some run down tenement infested with some manner of rabble.
"Where da fuck you think you goin' asshole!" My vision blacked for a moment as a searing pain inflamed my skull. As my mind granulated, as did my sight fading in and out steadily. My body caved, stumbling into the mesh of metal that comprised the entirety of the fence. It formed to my body, and I slid to one knee, my opposite leg trembling as it attempted to keep me upright. My arm fumbled foreword, feeling the darkness before me, my vision phasing in and out at a dizzying rate. A concussion, no doubt. A second blow struck behind my knee, the pain traveling down my calf. My body buckled over, my hand catching my body – the arm straightened and became rigid. Though I kept myself up, I could feel a myriad of rocks, glass, and dirt sediment dug into the palm of my hand, the skin tearing away. A warm and wet ooze dripped from my nose and onto my knuckles, probably caused some internal injury of sorts. My vision gradually began to steady and I found myself staring downward at the pavement. I began to slowly tilt my head upward..
"Ay, looky here, this li'l bitch still tryin' ta move." This one's voice was much higher than the other man's, I could tell at least this much. Judging by the attitude, this was the guy that hit me. "Hurry up and waste thu bitch - grab his fucking cash and let's bail." This time, it was the other one, I think. Maybe their voices were just melting into one, or there really was only one other person here.
My lips began to move before my mind sanctioned them, my breathing had begun to mirror a pant and my voice cracked and gurgled a dry, "Fuck...you.." I felt a thick grip entwine itself through my hair, yanking me upward. Whichever this was, they were indeed quite large. My mind felt numb, and my only action was that of my hand reaching into the coat pocket. Curious. I had forgotten, that I kept a pocket knife on me, in the off chance I had been harmed. The blow to my head had left me so frazzled, that I had not thought of allowing myself a means of protection against my assailant. I lifted the blade from the pocket as I was raised to sit upon my knees. A blow landed onto my face, and I felt my cheek shake as a fist planted itself against my cheek bone. My body was flung back, and I twisted my body in order to catch myself on my forearms, skinning the elbows of the coat out. An ingenious plan. The scant amount of time allowed me to conceal my action of producing the blade.
"Stay da fuck down!" A bludgeon slammed into my ribs, it had to be one of their feet, it covered far too much surface area to be a fist. I heaved, a dry cough as I gasped for air - they knocked the air out of me. But, I remained upright. When the second, obligatory swing followed through, so did my arm, my body rose upward and my arm followed through in a stabbing motion. I forced my aching body to whirl toward him, the blade tucked in the corresponding side's hand and planted it into something soft, presumably the man's skin. As I pulled outward, my strength failed me and I yanked up and down to pull it out. No responses, maybe the bastard was stunned by my sudden action and could not find an adequate method of retaliation. I heard a yelp of pain and then the sound of something crashing nearby as the blade finally pulled clean. I fell foreword, all the while clutching the knife in my hand. By my guess, the man staggered before crashing into the fence just before me, indicating he had moved upward toward my head.
I felt a hand grip my neck, and instinctively, I clenched a fist and swung downward at the guy's gut. I could now detect the outlines of those before me, a large shadow laying prone upon the ground, gripping its leg. It was stuttering something incoherently, but I paid it no mind. Instead, my grip about the knife became more pronounced and I thrust it upward into the shadow's jaw. It gurgled and sputtered in surprise as it fell backward, hitting its head on the pavement with a rude, horrifying crack. Instead of joining the body, my body braced itself to stand. With a shuffle, my foot slid across the asphalt. The dim light of the alleyway, reflected the other man cowering and covering his hands on a rather serious wound in his upper thigh. On closer inspection, he was rather young, probably in the range of fifteen to sixteen years old. His skin was of a mahogany, and his eyes of a darker brown. His eyes. They were so terrified. His body was trembling, and I could not tell if it was fear or his body shutting down. In looking at the amount of blood pooling onto the pavement, I must have torn open the femoral artery. And as for the other man, I couldn't even bring myself to turn and look upon the corpse. No more than a minute since his injury and he had no strength to even speak. His eyes just stared into mine, as if pleading for mercy, but there was nothing I could do.
"Luck be a lady."
As I watched the boy's eyelids flutter before closing, I turned my head. It had begun to rain again, and this time quite heavily. Each and every precipitate felt like bullets showering my body. I wrapped my right arm securely around the battered waist. Laboriously, I shuffled from the entrapment into what would have been a bustling traffic jam in the late afternoon hours. My blood had dried and caked to my face, further demoralizing my appearance. Anyone who looked upon me now, would view me as a deranged junky or worse. The murderer I had become.
This night, I emerged from a town littered with cretins, vermin, drug abusers, and whores. Each building looked as if a resident mold had grown into the structures and rotted it from the inside out. The unrelenting winter that had taken root mirrored the true nature of the metropolis, a face of cruelty and brutality with no intention for remorse, no unrequited love for any one individual; no mercy. Even the steady downpour would be unable to wash away the indomitable terror it invokes upon its inhabitants. The bigoted pigs, the struggling whore looking for a fix, and even the man who is just down on his luck; the fear could swallow anyone whole. That's when the madness sets in. No one person is safe from being driven to invoke circumstances of chaos. Funny. A stinging sensation had begun to fester behind my eyes.. and soon a hot droplet of rain rolled down my cheeks. A tear shed for the innocence lost forever, and a tear shed for the fear of answering to what I've done.