Wallpaper is peeling around them, red bricks with shotty mortar stand like fire behind the long flower patterned blue that had been found in the dumpster behind her favorite crafts store.
The white sheets had been saved for this day to hide the wretched sight of that stained, shredded, stinking mattress. And they had served their purpose, now touched by new colors and scents from the previous night.
Gracing the upturned pillows with their first use in over a month were the two pale figures sitting beside one another. This had been the third night, and had been colder than the last. Though they still didn't have a blanket, or a heater.
One of them found a slight warmth in the pleasure of warm smoke reaching down her throat. She inhaled, and as she did, pulled closer to the skinny man beside.
A faded green danced across the void eyes and stared at her with a longing. A longing to give her something more. More than twenty dollars a day, more than the cheap appartment, more to the love they shared.
"You look tired." She smiled weakly, tapping away the butt on an aluminum tray.
'Yeah' he thought,'I'm tired, tired of all this.'
"Things on my mind, love." He replied reaching one arm around to hold her.Her eyes lit up as his embrace came, and she tossed the ciggarette aside. They held together for a time, before she pulled away and nuzzled against his scarred shoulder.
"I remember each sunrise. Every one since I came here." He said, glancing out the broken window to the display of morning paints that turned the sky a brilliant orange.Her black eyebrow raised as he continued.
"The factory smoke gives it this odd tint. And depending who's pumping out what that day, that orb turns any number of colors. Scarlet, purple,bright green, even blue once. I never get tired of guessing what's next.
"Today's is the same that I had the day we met, and the day I came here. Maybe good things are on their way," he paused, and his eyes seemed to dilate,"or maybe John Desbrey has caught a spec of sentiment."
"Sentiment isn't bad. It's romantic." She replied softly.
He chuckled silently, closing his eyes again, reopening to hers. 'where do I go from here?'
And as his hand touched the silk of her skin, his head was flooded with answers. One more day of work, and he would wrench them from this rotting city. And alothough for months he had thought that, this time, when he got in, took the scraps of cash, he would be free.
And although he was forever a slave to this world, he could at least, choose where he would be chained.