The night was the time when a back-alley part of the city came to life. Neon lights, dim music, and black-clad men on the streets, all of it belonged to a subculture of Sectoria. Bums near the trash cans, they only look nonthreatening, but they play a role. They observe what was left of the skyscrapers, they monitor over the shadows passing the lamp posts, they inform the men who pay them to sit on the rain, shivering in the cold and sleep on the sidewalk.
A car waits in the corner, lights out, engine shut down, only the red glow of the cigarette comes and goes in the front seat. Two men in mid-twenties wait for the signal. The driver has a sport’s cap and a hood on, the second rubbed his fingers in the cut off gloves, corrects his woolen cap. Silence, they don’t talk, just smoke and screen the surroundings.
A club door opens and the wave of music amplifies until it closes. It all comes to normal.
“You wanna?”, the companion showed a small bag with white powder to the driver, but the driver shook his head and blew smoke.
The plastic rustled, he snuffed the content and twitched his head.
“Oh, that hit the spot.”, the man grunts.
“Breaker’s gonna kick your ass for getting hooked up.”, the driver added through a smirk, but his friend made no sense of it.
“Yeah, if he ever comes.”, a remark made them both giggle.
“He always comes, you know that.”, the driver shook the ash out of the window still laughing.
“I’m not sure about that, dude. I can’t say I ever saw him.”, the second one said for the sake of conversation.
“Well, he is good at hiding. There is a story about that.”, the driver replied putting on a joyful smile and looked at his friend. “Wanna hear it?”, he asked and the other guy leaned forward to inspect the streets.
“Why the hell not. We got time.”, a slight nod set the driver talking.
“In 2030, Sectoria went into the war with the world. At that time, the situation wasn’t great already, but things went worse for all of us. You only need to look at the city and realize what happened twenty years ago. The bombing, the poverty, the all-out food deprivation. People waited in line for a drop of water. And the crime rate jumped like a motherfucker. Thugs like us were disposed of rather quickly by the armed forces. Like it wasn’t enough the enemy was killing us, we started killing each other.”, the driver giggled, it was a defensive mechanism, not a genuine laugh. “Breaker was five years old when the Capitol turned inside out. It was chaos. He lost his brother, you know. People say his bro was eight at the time. Landmine, boom, gone. So it was only him, from the whole family. His father was K.I.A. in the first run. Nobody knows which front. His mother gave in to prostitution to feed them, some asshole got high like a kite and went berserk in the club. It was brutal. Breaker doesn’t like the drugs for a reason. And the mob ran the city. The government shifted its concern to survive the war, collect taxes, send more troops to the fight. I mean, the small businesses were left out in the open.”
“Damn, that’s some fucked up shit.”, his partner said and snuffed some more.
“Yup, real shit.”, the driver confirmed with a nod and threw his gaze over the dashboard.
“So, what happened next?”
“He grew up. He was five, not good attention span in a kid. He forgot his name, so he invented another. Back then, there were lots of kids in the street, like abandoned dogs, running in the streets, no parent to set them straight. Madness.”, the driver blew smoke, while his companion tried to imagine the situation. “And these kids man, they grew tough, real tough. Constant fights, always covered in dirt, no respect, and manners. They were wild things. The trick was, nobody cared about them, they weren’t in the system. Think about it, their whole life spent under the radar. Undocumented citizens, a phantom generation. They surely grew up with a temper. You let water on the stove unattended, the whole shit’s gonna spill someday. And it spilled ten years ago when these little bums got strong enough to hold guns. Now, you see what they do now.”, the driver pointed his cigarette on the key locations guarded by homeless men and people in black.
“Hey, there he is.”, companion locked his eyes on a man who came out from the club and pulled the driver’s jacket.
An engine started purring. Their target slowly advanced to the corner, greeted the thug who stood there and proceeded to cross the street. Without lights on, the car went in motion, following the guy in a light black jacket. They drove carefully near the sidewalk, ready to hit the brakes and hold still to avoid suspicion. The target of theirs was in the mood to whistle, totter in a curve and disturb the casuals going home from work.
He broke the beer bottle at the middle of the street and steered left into the dark. The car paused to see him completely merge with the shadow as he went downhill to relieve himself. The car proceeded forward on its way.
Whistling and drunken howling at the stars, the man gave his best not to fall backward and piss over his expensive attire. He laughed, residents yelled at him from the windows to shut up but stopped when he fired a shot in the air. Soon, he depleted the magazine and grunted because pissing took too long. He grabbed the wall and breathed in the chilly night’s air. His eyes fell to see the ruins, abstract looking steel construction where walls used to be. For a moment, he pitied the past events, the war and the powerless regime to stop the crime organizations. These were their streets, their city they left to rot. Happiness was never guaranteed.
Speeding car descended at him and in a flash of the headlight before the impact, the vehicle crashed in him. The velocity and the metal bumper broke both of his legs and made him fall on the hood, vociferously screaming.
The driver got out pretty easily, while his friend not wearing the seat-belt kissed the dashboard and complained about the broken nose. Man on the hood pulled the trigger, the barrel was visible, he had no ammo in that thing.
“What the fuck! What the fuck! Aaa! You dumb fuck!”, the pain was so great, alcohol couldn’t numb it fast enough. “Who are you?! What the fuck you want?”, drunken stutter was amusing for the driver who slowly aimed his weapon to the target’s temple.
“Did you think Breaker would let you do what you want in his territory? You were hustling lots of dope in these parts. You ignoring of the rules won’t be tolerated anymore.”, the driver said, headlight insufficiently illuminated the left side of his face so the mark couldn’t see him completely.
“What the fuck?! Go fuck yourself, buddy. You ain’t my parent. Who the fuck are you to order me what to do?! Huh?!”, the man growled at the driver, but he didn’t react.
“I am nobody. I don’t have a name, just like you. I am a phantom.” the driver said and brought his face closer to the light revealing his features at the horrified dealer.
“You?”, it was the last thing said before the bang.
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