Streetlife People

I got inspired and wrote these three pages real quick. I think it has promise. Something else to work on.

From a gutted loft in an abandoned business district downtown, she looks out a dusty window on a deserted street. The last rays of the day’s sun sweep across the old buildings across the street, shining down from somewhere behind her view. A small kick in the wind blows some leaves in a circle and some crumpled paper into the gutter. There aren’t a lot of trees down there, but there’s plenty of garbage.

A face from one of the many shattered windows appears in one of the red-brick buildings across from her. It’s a tired face, a hungry face with dark skin and a messy afro on top its head. Far below the face walks a skinny white man in torn up blue jeans and a matching jacket, talking to himself as his feet slap the sidewalk. He sidesteps a nondescript person’s legs, stretching out from its place against the foundation of cracked, white concrete. The person is bundled in a filthy tanned coat with a large hood encompassing the stranger’s entire head.

Priscilla catches her slight reflection in the tarnished glass. She is not a lovely sight to behold. Her eyes appear to be sunken in, surrounded by lines that look like bruises. Her ragged hair stands wildly about her head. She can see the giant scab on her upper lip where D-Ray slugged her yesterday for picking through his stash of H. She touches it and winces, still feeling yesterday’s pain.

D-Ray lies sleeping on the torn white mattress with broken springs on the floor. The ashtray, cigarettes, needles, empty beer cans, and dirty plates sit around it. She could walk over and stab him right now. But, why bother? She’s every bit to blame for her anguish as he is–maybe more-so. She’s the one who keeps coming back. She makes her own destiny. D-Ray couldn’t care less, and he has as much as said so on numerous occasions. Besides, stabbing him would be like cutting her wrists, anyway. D-Ray was well-connected and she would be hunted down and sliced to bits if he was found dead in his flophouse on West 33rd.

Something wet hits one of her bare legs. She wipes her nose first, expecting it to be another one of her gushing nosebleeds. But, her nose is dry. She feels a drip on her leg, again. She looks down and sees that it is a plain, clear water droplet. Another one falls and she feels something wet cascading down her face. That’s when she realizes they are tears. She looks at herself in the window again, seeing the sadness on her face, and says, “Stop crying, bitch.”

As if nature is somehow answering her, the wind picks up again, and a slice of the crispy winter shoots in beneath the broken seals. She shivers and looks across the room. She wishes the candles next to D-Ray were lit. She could light them herself, but she doesn’t want to wake him. He’s always in a mood when he wakes. He’s usually either pissed off or horny, and she didn’t feel like enduring either right now. He was big enough in all respects to hurt her either way.

One more glance at the window–at the ghost that is her face: pale, blotchy, and dying. She’s dying all right, and she knows it–not fast enough, either. Not that she has some sort of disease that she’s aware of; she can just feel the life gradually draining from her. Her essence–soul, spirit, life energy, whatever–is seeping out, slowly, like the air from a nail hole in a tire. Long ago, she got lost somewhere along the way. She took a wrong turn through life, somewhere she does not know, and ended up going down a dark, labyrinthine alley and emerging on the wrong side of town. If there was someone watching her, be it Jesus with his outstretched hand, Horus with his All-seeing Eye, or Lucifer with his light and wisdom, she wished they would come to her and take her hand and lift her from the dregs of this squalor.

She slaps her face and pulls herself up off the battered down footstool by the window. “Come off it, stupid. Quit feeling sorry for yourself.”

Shivering, she crosses the room, her cold bare feet sliding on the dusty hardwood floor, kicking and stomping on a myriad of small, forsaken remnants of a time when the loft was inhabitable to people other than hookers and druggies and losers without a choice. Her arms crossed across her tiny breasts. She wishes she had on pants, now. But, D-ray liked her bottom half to stay naked in case he had a sudden need.

She stops at the mattress and looks down at him. He is lying on his back, his dark, hollow face staring up, and mouth hanging open, loud snores escaping from him. She remembers when he wasn’t a bad guy, before the H took him, and the meth. He was sweet, fun, and funny. He was never too bright, but had the ever-present street-sense that a man with his background develops in order to make it. Now, he was just a sex-crazed burnout taunting the grave as precipitously as she.

“Fucking animal,” she says, then lights two candles and stalks away.

But she has no right to judge and she knows it. Her behavior is every bit as base as his: more thoughtless and violent, even. D-Ray has only killed or hurt others in the course of business or self-defense. She has cut and stabbed and beaten others simply out of rage. Worse yet, she enjoyed it. If he was an animal, she was a beast. And if she was a beast, then there were people out on the streets that were monsters.

She goes back to the window and looks outside where night is falling. The few streetlights that still work begin to flicker on and buzz. People begin to shuffle out of the broken doors and from the blackened alleys. Bad things will happen, soon. They always do. That’s why she and D-Ray stay in the loft when the sun goes down. It’s ugly out there. But, that’s how it is on the streets. That’s the life of Priscilla Hubbard.


6 thoughts on “Streetlife People

  1. There would be quite a few ways you could write a novel based on just that. 🙂 The first thing to come to mind is the decent-into-darkness-saved-by-light generic plot. Well written character already 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading and thank you for the comment. Funny you say that. I thought about changing the name to “Let Her Pale Light In” or “Let a Pale Light In” or something of that nature. I also thought about changing the part where it says, “That’s why Priscilla and D-Ray stayed indoors after the sun went down….” or whatever to something more like, “Priscilla wants to stay in doors, but D-Ray won’t let her. They can’t. D-Ray has to work at night……”

      I think I am working the plot out in my head. But, I don’t know about any saved-by-the-light. My “street” stories don’t always have standard happy endings. I try more for a realistic ending. Sometimes they are happy, sometimes not. Sometimes, things are the way they are. But, who knows? I’m involved with so many other stories, right now, that this one may sit for a while. This was just spur-of-the-moment inspiration.


      • I’d keeps notes on that inspiration if I were you, even if it’s not a WIP. 😉 By saved by the light I was referring to the stories where a family member, or new prospective lover or other voluntary agency attempts to save her. Very feel good stories but you’re right, street stories often don’t have that happy ending. I know off to many drug related deaths/ sadistic murders ect. that have occurred to the individual in question purely because they were vulnerable. Although with the character development you already have she could easily turn murderer herself.

        Liked by 1 person

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