Outside it was pouring. The gutters where filling up and flooding the streets with rippling puddles. What expanded there was an inch deep, citywide, lake. Outside was turned into a maze from which people fled, hazy with mist and filled with stark, shiny reflections that shuddered at the sight of color. Esther wandered.
She spread her arms and looked up. Silver streaks fell between the tall buildings, water was everywhere. It soaked her sneakers and fell on her shoulders, soaking the black to a new sheen of darkness; eager and new. Her hair dripped and as she shivered, she suddenly felt like she could breathe again for the first time in ages.
A little blood dripped from her nose but she didn’t notice. The rain washed it away in seconds.
Somewhere else, about an hour earlier. A group of men came in from the highway riding motorcycles. They entered the city from the other side of the river, from the road that winded along the sea and bled into the land. They had the side where the shops, the schools and the restaurants bloomed. But their homes stood further away from that living center. They lived in what could not be called a “respectable neighborhood.” Still, rent was next to nothing and they had what they had to themselves.
A collection of up to twenty bikers entered those grey, derelict blocks that most people shunned. Here where the gutters and the railway bridged. This was where the homeless found themselves flocking, like grey, non provoking pigeons. Those on the street when the bikers came by turned away. Not out of real fear, but more out of some kind of strange respect. Sleepy hookers went back inside and even a tailless dog went to tear at garbage bags somewhere else.
Everyone moved but the drifter in the dirty green raincoat. He carried his net with empty cans and shouted at the cloud. As the gleaming vehicles came by he stopped his shambling walk. His yellowing beard, the reddened nose and grey eyes turned towards the gang. ‘Wanderers!’ he yelled, shaking his fist at them, ‘Hellish daemons from the fields around the fire!’ They drove by, slowly; the rumbling from their engines seemed to shake the buildings. One of them slowly raised his hand and gave him a friendly wave. The drifter shook his head with little jerks and shambled on.
The leader who rode in front turned his black helmeted head to look at the biker who had waved. Then he steered his pack into a right turn and they accelerated again. They drove like they had done this a thousand times. Every individual adjusted to the movement of the group. They where a pack.
Underneath the leather and the concealed weapons they wore suits, comfortable sweaters and glasses with their concealed weapons. They had computers and drank coffee. Most of them had quite normal day jobs. They got paid and had to listen to ranting from costumers like normal people. They had families. But together they always were the pack.
They came along a tattoo parlor with bike repair shop. Smoothly some of the riders disconnected and went to the parking spaces around the back. As the housing blocks stared to thin out again, they could see their destination. Here the smog was further away and to the left in the distance, mountains and woods could be guessed at. There was a big, meshed wire gate, to keep the guard dogs in. The wooden fence was to keep people away from the dogs that where not for guarding. Because that’s what the bikers did; they bred expensive dogs.
As a fine rain began to drizzle the bikers dismounted on a wide asphalt space in front of a big mansion like house. It was a whitewashed, square thing with a large porch and a grey roof. Once, it had been a grand thing with a big garden, now it was sad with a more purposed look to it. More housed stood with it around the yard. Inside the fence was a total of five family homes. Outside the fence was a little neighborhood, like a second wall of defense. Those houses looked newer, with green grass and shiny rooftops. Sometimes there where community barbeques, now there was a meeting.
‘Shit!’ Alexis cursed and pressed his hand tight across his lower left arm. He’d heard the motorcycles and cut too deep. ‘Fuck!’ he winched. After a few moments of wiggling with his legs tangled and his arms pressed tightly between his thighs, he dared to take a peek. He had cut too deep. Already his arm and hand where a bloody mess. Downstairs there were voices and he heard chairs being dragged around. One of his father’s tea parties was beginning. He had to get out of here. Now. He would not be able to stand their laughter.
Panicky he looked around and grabbed a black shawl from the bedpost. His attic bedroom was spacious but a little dark. The rugged wood dominated the ceiling, the shape of the roof. There was one window, but he’d covered it with a black sheet. The only light came from the little lamp over his desk.
While wrapping his arm tightly he looked into the standing mirror that stood between his desk and double closet. He sighed. Why did he have to look so sad? Sad and hurt. He combed his dark brown hair over the side of his face a little. He would look so good in his new, dark rimmed glasses. But not here, he didn’t dare put it on where his dad might see.
A girl had opened the door. Dark hair and a pretty face. It made her annoyingly confident.
‘Fuck off, Sam.’ He growled.
‘It’s Samantha!’ she shrieked. A thing that could always reliably piss her off.
‘Your birth certificate says Sammie,’ he teased her while pulling his sweater down over his arm.
‘Oh yeah, well yours say permanent failure!’
He turned around to look at her then. Only fourteen. Short shorts and a white tank top. Her hair shiny and styled with a curling iron, her cheeks dotted with silver glitter. Pink lip-gloss and fake eyelashes. She blinked in an attempt to look sexy, arm on her hip. A little lamb all dolled up.
‘Don’t let dad see you’re wearing make-up.’
She made an annoying gesture with her hand and showed him his palm. ‘Destania and I want to practice magic.’
‘Destania?’ he smirked. ‘You mean Joy from next door?’
She shrugged, ‘we didn’t think it was witchy enough.’
She entered the room and closed the door. Alexis sighed, ‘and what did I tell you about entering my room? Knock!’
‘Didn’t you hear me come up the stairs?’, she grinned mischievously, ‘I sneaked!’
Then she saw the razorblade on his desk. He wanted to dart towards it and swipe it in a drawer. But that would make it worse. She looked worried, then tried to hide it. ‘Are you cutting again?’ he asked with an unaffected sigh. These things were a part of this world now. So mature of her.
‘No,’ he scoffed, ‘just cutting up the table. I was bored.’
She shrugged. Luckily he did cut the table as well. The ancient leather was riddled with scratches.
Actually that was kinda sad.
‘Checking yourself out again?’, she smirked. He noticed that he was still standing in front of the mirror. ‘Just go,’ he waved her away and enjoyed the irritation that cause on her face. She was more like their father than he was. Strong and confident. There was even a little muscle, hidden away in the puppy fat that had not disappeared completely. They were half sister and brother. Her mother was somewhere downstairs, probably cooking. But unlike him, Samantha didn’t have a spark of the supernatural about her.
That’s why she tried so hard.
And she wasn’t leaving. ‘What do you want?’ he sighed exasperatedly. His arm was stinging and he felt a little dizzy. Was his sleeve soaking up blood or was that just a feeling? Luckily he was wearing black.
‘I want the Ouija board but I can’t find it,’ she complained.
‘That’s because your mother hid it.’
‘Yeah, but do you know where she hid it?’
‘Make your own board, Google it and stuff.’
‘We did, but it has to be more special than that!’
‘Whatever, I’m going out for a jog.’
‘A jog!’ she laughed, ‘you! You won’t make out of the yard!’
‘And you won’t be talking to any ghosts.’
‘Fuck you!’ she said softly.
She crossed her arm with a childish pout. ‘I get to say what you get to say.’
‘Yeah, but can you pull it of? I don’t think so, Sammie.’
‘I’ll tell mom I saw your razor again and she’ll tell dad.’
He stopped, doorknob in hand. The light from his desk casting his shadow in the door, on the dented wood. ‘You would do that?’
‘N-no,’ she said, suddenly sounding small. ‘I wouldn’t.’
‘Then have fun, it’s on the closet where the washing machine is.’
She hugged him in a quick dart of affection, then he was opening the door and she bounded down the stairs. You dress like a whore, he wanted to yell after her.
It was sad he didn’t love her anymore.
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