Chapter 1Mature

The slums of Chicago lived up to their stereotypes. Plain and simple. After the police station bombing two years ago in 2023, crime rates have skyrocketed. Why those terrorists wanted to bomb a dumb police station in downtown Chicago was beyond me, but all I know is that ever since then, the force has had hard times recruiting new officers. I guess the bombing had done more emotional damage than everyone thought. No one would register, so in turn, all the poor bastards out there did everything they could to get their hands on a few valuables and get some quick cash. The slums were hit the hardest. Shootings, rape, theft, it was all there, and that was only the tip of the iceberg. I knew that being only twenty years old with no live parents made living tough in this cruel city. My parents gave me a handgun to carry around with me whenever I was out, but I knew that since I was going to the movies, bringing a gun would not have been a great idea. 

As I emerged from the theater and into the pouring rain, I could only sigh in disappointment. The big action movie of the summer was, again, a huge letdown. I quietly flipped my sweatshirt hood over my head, stuffed my hands into my jeans pockets, and made my five block long walk home to my apartment. My wavy dark brown bangs swung over my right eye from underneath my hood; they were already damp from the storm. I brushed them away with the back of my hand. 

As I passed the brick wall of the theater, I stopped short right next the poster of the motion picture that I had just walked out of. Through the reflection of the glass container that held the poster, I could see my radiant blue eyes glowing in the artificial street lamp light. The moon never came out at night anymore; the smog produced from the factory district of north Chicago produced thick black clouds that even blocked out the sun on some days.

I only shook my head and continued down the sidewalk; brushing past all the couples, businessmen, and other civilians returning home after a long, hard day at work. The movie theater was just across the street from the above ground train tracks that ran along the thirty foot high steel foundations. This subway system ran all throughout Chicago, and was the ideal style of transportation for anyone that lived in the slums; the other options were walking or driving. I didn't have a car and I only walked to my job that was only about ten blocks from my apartment, so I never had to take the train. I still hated it though; the tracks ran just past my apartment, and I lived on the third floor, so I was about as close to them as I could get. Every time a train buzzes by my place, I feel like my whole home's going to crumble and collapse on top of me, killing me and whoever lives below. Sleep has always been a problem with the hourly earthquakes that the rusty train causes, but I manage...somehow. 

My job is simple; I'm just a teller for a small bank in the poorest parts of Chicago. I figured that business would've boomed because of all the muggings that occur these days. I thought that people would want to keep their money safe, but it was the exact opposite, surprisingly. No one puts money in the bank anymore. I'm honestly just thankful that we haven't been robbed by a psychopath with an itchy trigger finger yet. It's going to happen, but not to me because I was recently laid off about a few months ago. Probably because I was drinking on the job, but hey, the world's a shitty place and that's the only way I make my life easier. Terrible habit, I know, but you'd do the same thing if you were in my position. Right? 

Rent had been getting harder and harder to pay ever since I lost my job. I barely made it by just last month by scrounging whatever free change I could find in my home, using the last of my final paycheck, and sad to say, some pick-pocketing was involved. Of course I had to things I wasn't proud of to get by, but I felt like they were necessary. 

Now that rent date was only two weeks away, I knew that I'd loose my place. So, what was I doing to solve the problem. Absolutely fucking nothing; blowing all my cash on drinking and pointless movie trips was what I was doing. I figured that I might as well keep to my dark ways and do what I do best: join the crime crowd and get by in the world to buy more booze. It was a simple way of life, and it was almost in my grasp. 

But my whole mindset changed as I walked past that dark alleyway and heard the female screams of terror echoing from the shadows beyond.

The End

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