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© Marble 2022
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Let me tell you a story

…it was Thursday night, the skies were black. Deep black. The wind howled, its cries amplified by the towering skyscrapers that stood like giants in the Manhattan financial district. The streetlight dimply poured in through the half-shut blinds. I leaned back and lit up my last cigarette. I had a gut feeling that was getting stronger by the minute. Something bad was going to happen tonight. 

I know better than to ignore these signs. But my tummy is growling, and my nicotine is stronger than my will. I knew that once I smoked this final cigarette, I would have to brave the storm and face the danger that awaited me outside. Perhaps if snuck through the dingy alley that bordered the courtyard behind the building, I could make it to the 7-eleven without being noticed. 

It was time. I grabbed my raincoat that my grandfather left me, popped the collar against the New York cold and put on my dark grey hat to further mask my face. Only to learn my attempt had failed when the glistening surface of the elevator caught a glimpse of my appearance. One that has been splashed on the cover of one too many financial magazines. 

I cut through the lobby. Usually, Dan was there, twirling his lucky pen whilst looking at the security screens. He was absent tonight. As I stepped outside, the wind cut into me like a knife. New York winters weren’t to be underestimated. As I hasted towards the alley, I started to doubt my decision. But it’s too late now. I have to keep going. My pace quickens, and my heart races. 

The graffiti-ridden alley is lit by only a single street light, giving a spotlight to an abandoned shopping cart and an array of used needles on the ground. A place no living soul should call home. Yet the make-shift tents and second-hand sleeping bags indicate that I am far from alone. I need to get out of here. Now. As the end of the alley inches closer, all the hairs on the back of my neck start to stand up. Like a death row inmate readying himself for the final injection, I know exactly what is about to happen. I am so sorry.

 

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