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The drizzle may wash away the dirt of the street, but it can’t wash away the dirt from my past. Every time it rains I think this as I flip up my collar and walk along. Puddle after puddle reflects back to me that I am alone but mustn’t have a companion. Each rain streaked window reminds me that I can’t be loved. I hate rainy days. But I need them. I need them to remind me why I can’t live my life like a normal person. Reaching an alley entrance, I wonder if I should sleep here tonight, but then move on because in the morning people will see me. Most will ignore me. A few will try and give me money or help. Some won’t even notice me at all. As soon as I turn my gaze away from the shadows that lather the alley with secrets, I know I’ve made a mistake. Rule number one I’ve learned: never trust a shadow; never turn your back on one.
I take one flying step into a run, then a hand grabs my arm, yanks it and icy cold metal meets my neck, just below the back of my skull. Shivers ripple down my back but not from fear, from the chilled death pressed against my tender flesh that gives kindle to the fire inside me. The little flickering flame instantly goes into a blazing fire. People have said that they can see it in my pupil. I smile now, sly and satisfied. Anyone from my past would have recognized this smile, recognized it and take a couple steps back. My leg curved, hooking my captor’s legs and pulling them out from under him. Jumping, I turn in midair, using the momentum to power my punch. With a cracking sound my captor lays in a crumpled, unconscious heap. I examine my fist, after pulling it away from his now broken nose, and see blood splattered on it, from his nose and my now busted knuckles.
I pick up his gun, looking for the symbol. Right on the barrel there are two bulls, their horns locked. Darrel Bovine’s gang symbol. Sighing I walk down the alley knowing that I was walking into his trap. The Bullocks never learn, or if they do, Darrel doesn’t. Making my way to their headquarters, I wonder what it is this time. Sometimes all they want is me off their territory and other times they are trying to call me in for an array of things. I never know what to expect, but they should. On the outskirts of town I make my way into the alley-like way made up by their buildings. The sentries on the roof all around me level their machine-guns at me but don’t shoot. Reaching the door, the guard their looks me over and puts out his hand. Rolling my eyes, I pull my pistol out of the small of my back and lay the handle in his hand. Nodding he lets me in, and closes the door behind me. As usual I look to see if anything has changed; it hasn’t, and make my way down the dark casino-like halls to Darrel’s office. I don’t even knock, I just walk in. He’s waiting there for me with a stop watch in his hand.
“Well that’s a new record. It took Harlie ten minutes longer than usual. Congratulations.”
“Oh, shut your trap,” I snap, putting my hands on his desk and leaning over it. “What do you want this time?”
“Sit down,” he motions to the chair behind me. I don’t sit down, I just lean against the door frame. It’s all the same. He sends someone to get me, I knock them out, then I come here, he tells me how long it took, I growl at him asking what he wants, he tells me to sit down, I don’t and then we get to what’s bugging him. “I found something that might be of interest to you.”
“Ya? And what might that be?”
“Your government record.” He studies me for a reaction but I don’t give him the satisfaction. I just keep my even glare, but my stomach is twisting and I know what’s going to happen next. “Strangely it goes back over 100 years ago. But you still look like you haven’t hit 25. What’s going on Jack? Got some secrets? Some secrets you would like to tell me?”
“Look even if I did tell you, it wouldn’t be any use to you.”
“You say so? Cause I would love to have my aging process slowed to only aging a year every 50.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“Yes you do and you are going to tell me how it works.”
I look him over long and hard, judging how much he knows. Then I turn to leave, but I’m stopped by the frigid breath of death that floats off the gun he pulls out. The breath whispers in my ear all I need to know, and I walk out the door. He fires and then swears as he finds that he forgot to refill the gun from last time. Smiling to myself I run down the halls and snatch my gun from the guards hand as I burst out the door. Gunfire then fills the area, but not a bullet hits me. Then I disappear into the foggy drizzling mist, with shouts and gunfire echoing behind me.
Now I will leave town and start all over. It’s always the same. Eventually somebody finds out my secret but they never know the story. I hate having to start over but I need it. I need it to remind me why I chose not to be loved. Why I chose to live alone on the streets. It reminds me how by doing this I’m keeping everyone I know and love safe. I remembered all of this as I head out of town, knowing that it was better this way. What I didn’t know was that Kit was hunting me down and soon I will end up once again surrounded by those I know and love. But I will be fighting for their life, as well as my own.