I woke up in an alleyway, alone and afraid. It wasn’t the first time and wouldn’t be the last. I found myself slumped against the side wall, in the shadows where no one could see me. Not wanting to risk drawing attention to my state; not that anyone was around to care. It was still dark, sometime around 3 am, you could tell by the silence and weight of the air. An emptiness hung in the air that makes you feel uneasy no matter how familiar it has become.
Dragging yourself off the ground isn’t as hard as it sounds, as it takes the same effort that put you there, the only difference being once you’re up; you have to do something with yourself. In this case the only idea I could muster was to approach the light and step out from the darkness of the alley. I leaned on the corner of the building, peering out from my shadows down the street. As far as the eyes could see there was nothing; only empty streets, each roughly identical to the next, illuminated by the glow of the overhead lights. I chose to look at the ground rather than into the void, as the hunger pains grew I knew they would only last momentarily before this body would start to ignore it. My hands search my pockets, only feeling loose fabric between worn fingers, no real surprise. I couldn’t recall the last time anything resided there.
A draft flowed down the street from the north, slightly warm. If you breathe in deep enough you can smell the lingering scent of the wood fire that it belonged to. In this labyrinth of a metropolis that kind of fire only has one meaning; idle company. While it’s not ideal, under the circumstances, it is the only way to remain sane here.