CHAPTER 1 – The stars just happen to be aligned
Laughter rang through his ears, a soft echo slightly growing louder, and then softer. The laugh was unmistakable, but there was no one around the deserted street he was on.
Newspapers drifted like tumbleweed down the street, and the street lights swayed lightly in the strong wind. His hair was whipped onto his face, and no matter which way he turned, the wind seemed to be blowing in all directions.
The howling wind overpowered the sound of the fresh laughter where everything was normally quiet. There were no cars, no buses, no planes, no people around. The city seemed empty, except for a small white dove that perched itself on the lamppost next to where he stood. It cooed lightly, and then flew away, a white speck amongst the grey buildings.
Blake tossed his bed sheets off of himself as a cold sweat broke through on his creased brow. Rubbing both his thumbs on his temples, he took in a deep breath and sat up in his bed. The shirt he had fallen asleep in was all creased, and his boxers were pulled up almost too high. Trying to un-crease his shirt and readjust his boxers, he glanced over at the clock placed on his wall. It was only four in the morning, but a slight, and almost ridiculous, bout of relief came over him as he realized he had slept longer than he had within the past week.
Picking up the glass of water on his ebony night table, he took a soothing mouthful, and swallowed it slowly. His vision seemed to clear, and his clear blue eyes became more apparent as his pupils began to un-dilate. The sun hadn’t yet come out of hiding, and Blake’s room was still dark, but he could see as clear as though it was the brightest part of day.
Reluctantly getting out of his warm bed, he picked out a fresh set of clothing from his dresser and took a second look at the clock. Not even half an hour had passed, but it was better than no time passing at all. Blake walked down the hall and ran a hand through the tangled mess of hair he had. Turning to the right into his bathroom, where he then dropped his clothing onto the cheap marble counter.
Pulling back the shower curtain and turning on the water to its coldest, he waited a few seconds before getting undressed and stepping into the bath tub and pulling the curtain closed. The cold water sent shivers down his spine, and goose bumps rose over his arms and legs. As the water dripped off his body and down the drain, Blake started to feel more refreshed and not so tired. The cold water wasn’t so much what woke him up, but the feeling of the water spitting onto his pale skin seemed to rejuvenate him. His light brown hair stood up in odd places as it got wet from the water.
Turning off the water, the cold air heated up quickly and he no longer felt cold. Wrapping a towel around his waist, he walked over to the skin and slathered on some shaving cream onto his face and opened the cupboard in which he kept his razor. After giving himself a clean shave, he messed up his hair so that it stood up in random places and so that it fell just below his ear lobes.
He slipped on his boxers and a pair of jeans that had a dark cerulean wash to them, and then adjusted the belt and fastened the silver buckle in the shape of a ‘G’ for the name of the brand. The shirt Blake then put on was a pale blue shirt with “Working Class Hero” printed in a black, grunge-like writing on the front and “John Lennon” written in smaller, neater writing at the base of his neck on the back. He put on a silver-link wrist watch with a black face and bronze numbers and hands. Convincing himself he looked fine and didn’t seem as though he’d only had three hours of sleep, he went back into his room to get rid of his dirty clothing, and then went through a door in the room leading to an office-like area.
Shuffling around his desk for some spare pieces of paper, something caught him by the corner of the eye. A black string with a silver bead on it was sitting on his computer’s keyboard. Wondering if it wasn’t his ex-girlfriend’s, he shoved it into his pocket with an odd feeling of distaste and blunt hatred. It had been almost a month they’d been separated and he still found trinkets of hers bringing back unfortunate memories.
After looking around some more and deciding that it was useless to find some scrap paper he went back into his room where one of the solitary windows of his apartment was. Pulling back the white curtains, the sun blinded him fully, and his pupils slimmed down to almost the size of one of the darker spots in his eyes. Rubbing his eyes furiously, he blinked a few times, turning himself away from the light. It took him a few minutes to stop seeing reflections of the light every time he blinked or shifted his gaze to different places.
It was five-thirty by the time Blake had finished doing everything he needed to do, and the world seemed to be slowly awakening. People were leaving their apartments and there were a few more hundred cars sped down the street below. He lived on the fourth floor of the Celeste Apartments. There were approximately five apartment buildings on the same street, and Celeste was one of the cleaner ones with more space in the rooms.
Stuffing his cell-phone into his pocket and his fake leather wallet into the other, Blake took a quick breakfast before heading out the door to get onto the city bus for an hour-long bus ride. The distance to the places he went was one of the few prices to pay about living in a nice neighborhood away from the mobs. The other misfortunes about it were the traffic and living away from most of his other friends. But he was fortunate to be living there anyway because as a minor, he wasn’t able to live in most places.
The city bus’ engine roared from beside him as he just made it to the bus stop in time. The door’s swung open, and the driver didn’t even glance at him, almost obviously still in an early morning trance where the brain didn’t function as well as it normally would have. Taking a seat near the back, he leaned his head against the shaking window beside him. The bus took off again with a jolt, almost as though the driver forgot to hold down the clutch, minus the nerve wracking crunch-like sound it made.
Blake began to drift off into an unconscious state of what was going on around him, despite the fact he was still awake. The bus could have filled up with people to the point that they were packed in worse than sardine’s in a tin can, but he paid no notice. He couldn’t see anything or hear anything except the soft palpitations of his heart. He fumbled with the necklace in his jeans for a moment. The bead on the necklace was cold, the type of cold that would make your fingers stick to any metal in the dead of winter.
He shuddered violently from the cold, and hit his head hard against the dirty plexiglass windows of the bus. With a moan, he shook his head and tried to shake off the slight bit of dizziness that came over him during his unconscious state. Looking out the window, old pieces of newspaper were being blown about and trampled on amongst the crowds of people scurrying down the sidewalks trying not to be late for their under-paid jobs that they kept for the sake of having one.
“Terminus!” the bus driver yelled, kicking the forty or so people off the bus.
People pushed their way through to the doors on the bus, every so often getting Charlie-horsed from a briefcase but used to it from making the trip to their office by bus daily.
Blake waited for most of the people to get off before making his way to the automatic doors a little further than halfway down the bus.
Blake followed the mass crowd of hundreds of people into the metro station. It was nearly seven o’clock by then, and he rushed up the stairs instead of trying to get on the escalator to go catch his train. Sliding his bus transfer into the slot at the turnstile, but it kept returning it to him. Clenching his teeth in frustration, he went to the booth instead and gave it to the woman working the cash who let him straight through.
Running down another set of stairs and turning around a few corners, he finally made it to the platform where the metro train was supposed to be arriving in less than two minutes. Making his way to where one of the train’s doors was going to be, he accidentally bumped into somebody.
“Sorry,” Blake said. The person looked up at him, exaggerated anger set on his face.
“You think you can spend all day just walking into people, punk?” the person said.
“Look, I said I was sorry, it was obviously an accident,” Blake replied calmly.
“An accident?” the man replied, giving Blake a slight shove. “I’ll show you accident.”
By then a few people had turned their attention to the two to see what was going on, and as Blake turned his head to the side to look around, he felt another shove, only harder this time and right in the gut, winding him. He stumbled over the edge, and landed in between the two railway tracks, right on his wrist. His vision was blinded by a flash of white as pain seared through his wrist and coursed its way up to his elbow. Writhing in pain and in shock, he was unaware of what was going on. People started to gather closely to the edge of where the tracks were, and looked down at Blake. Silent whispers began to echo through the tunnel, but where suddenly vanquished by the sound of the metro train.
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