The First Day of Kickstarter!
On the first day of Kickstarter, Hart Beat Podcast gave to me...
A Private Eye and a brand new scene!
In this part of Lower, you could almost forget that there was a whole society sitting above you like some kind of parasite. The buildings stretched up into the fog and out of sight, the neon lights around me making the mist dance like an abstract billboard.
I crossed my arms over my chest and leaned against the lamppost, the people moving by me no more than blurred faces and vague forms. In a situation like this, they were background noise, a blanket of normalcy that would make what I was looking for all the more obvious.
A man slunk from a doorway and dipped down an alley, head hunched, moving faster than the current of shadows around him. I pushed off the lamppost, shoved my hands in my pockets and followed.
I could all but feel the eyes of the place on me as I stepped around the corner and stopped where the smooth concrete sidewalk collided with brick. The bricks were once decoration, an abandoned attempt at building a new tourist district. Now they just seemed like the broken teeth of a madman, crooked and sharp. With only the neon lights at my back, the place put me on edge. From the story my client had told me, this is the place where innocence came to rot. From the smell wafting to me, it wasn’t the only thing that did.
I stepped down the alley, my oxford shoes making a soft clacking on the cracked and uneven brickwork. The air moved down the alley at a slow pace, like the hot, moist breath of a leering man. I rolled my shoulders and cracked my neck, peering over my shoulder at the piercing, colored light that entered from the mouth of the alley, then turned my face back to the darkness.
The broken light was almost exactly where my client had said it would be—about half way in, where the throat of the alley closed tight. I stopped and looked up at the shattered bulb, then turned my head to scan the metal door to my left. It was unremarkable except for the word bitch painted across it in a shaky, dripping scrawl.
“If walls could talk, I guess.” I snorted, turning sharply on my heel and striding deeper into the rancid guts of the Tiered City.
If you were standing at the mouth, you’d notice the breath of the alley spat out the scent of Lower, tinted with a faint whiff of gun oil and tobacco. And if you were standing that close, I would have told you to leave. You wouldn’t want to see what came next.