I look down from up high and they are all so small, so far away, I need to get closer. I climb down the fire escape, silently, quietly, they can’t know I’m watching, she can’t know. I feel her near, not within sight but near. The clouds are everywhere, the fog, misty, it hangs, over everything. I creep through it, the haze, I creep through it as I go down and I feel her near, very near now.
Flakes start to fall, white, heavy, it falls everywhere now, the haze thickens. I am only a little above them all, can see them blurred by the haze; no faces, just bodies, moving, some fast and some slow. So many of them, and the angel, she is there among the bodies, though the faces I can’t see and I must hurry. She’s been out of sight for too long.
I drop to the street in an alley and it’s dark, the light electric not warm, not real. It’s eerie, dangerous, a hazard, trouble. I run low, my head, my eyes out of sight, I keep them down, I watch the feet. They kick up the white, stomp through it, beat it into the concrete underneath, the invisible concrete hidden from sight, below. That’s where I should be, below. I search for a way down, a way under. I dart back into another alley. I know the streets, I know the doorways, the ones that lead to the tunnels. I’ve been there before and I must go there again; there no electric light can reveal me, there amongst the stench, the furry creatures, the waste, I can find her, seek her out.
I kick at the white, the powder. It’s turning to gunk, mixing with the brown, becoming dirty. Contamination, no, no, I can’t stop it. It hurts me to see it, but I can’t stop it. Inevitable. Need to get down, it’s all mixing, worlds combining, things that shouldn’t mix, this will be the end, no, NO, stop it. Quiet now.
I keep kicking at the sludge, the slush. There it is, the doorway to the underworld, not the place they call hell, not that place, no, not yet, not for me, I still have a chance. I know I still have a chance. I drop to my knees and claw at the metal edges, wet, rusting. I claw at the edges until they’re loose. I finally move it, I pull it towards me and I hear a scream as I do so.
No. I look up, glance to the left. A man is running down the alley from the street and he’s screaming. He’s screaming “Get out of the way!”
I crawl into the corner, did he see me? I cower. I don’t want to but I do, dangerous here, a lot of them die, every day, all the time. It’s very dangerous.
“Fuck!” screams the man again. Words that burn my ears and I cry out.
“Stop wailing you mother fucker, what are you?” He shouts. I don’t want them to but they start to flow, out of my control.
The man is still running towards me, down the alley. I cower in the corner by the trash cans. I peer out through my fingers as his feet beat louder through that slush; squelch it goes, splash, NO! A woman follows now, down the alley, it was she that screamed. She shouts now, shrill, it burns. “Stop him! He has my bag!”
The man turns around now and slows, he begins to laugh. Why does he laugh? Darkness, it’s his darkness. He ignores me and approaches the woman who has stopped now. They are close, she is young, but not very young like the angel I’m searching for. She’s seen more, I can tell, I can surely tell.
I stare at her, her face is clear, the haze thinning, the electric beams are strong. I know that expression, I know what she feels, see it often. Her face is wet from the melting flakes on her face but also from herself. They run down her cheeks, hot, salty, I know what it tastes of, I know that.
She turns now and tries to run away but the man lunges at her, she should not have followed him, for he is very dark, but I’ve seen darker, many times. I cower, I claw at my head, my eyes, NO! He laughs, he’s holding her, grabbing her, tearing at her clothes and he laughs. He will hurt her, very badly he will. Her skirt is torn and he has her pinned against the wall. She hits, she hits and she hits. He just laughs, holds her, tears.
“Get out of here you freak! I don’t want you watching, sick pervert!”
I cry out, wail.
“Get out of here you fucking retard!” He’s fierce. He frightens me and the small bumps rise all over my skin.
“Help me,” she cries, “help me…” Her voice softens, she begins to give way.
I turn from them, wailing I turn away. I can’t help her now, no, that’s not how it works, oh no, not how it works at all. I have an angel, it is her I have to guard, no others. I can’t. I wish, oh how I wish, but no I can’t. I have my angel. I have her to watch.
I scurry over to the doorway, the one I just opened to the below. From down there I can seek her out. I must leave here, it is not my place. Something grows and it grows and I feel it in my throat like a sickness, like the time I ate too many strawberries. I don’t want that to happen, I don’t like the burning in my throat. I take one last look at the man and the woman. He has her legs around his middle up against the wall and she’s crying. He’s grunting and laughing and she cries and cries. Her throat must ache, but at least it doesn’t burn. She is not mine to watch, not mine to guard.
I drop down into the under tunnels. It’s wet, the smell is very bad, raw. I am used to it, I have to be. I remember now, the underworld. I must stay here, the haze is too thick, the sky too far, far from the street. The faces were just not visible. I climb down the ladder. The woman still cries, he grunts, then moans. I hear a wet sound, a cutting, a slicing. I know this sound, I have heard it. She must be oozing now, with the red. There is no more crying, no more grunting, the above goes quiet. I wait, I stare up at the doorway and I can see the sky above, many clouds making one cloud, formless. I stare up and I wait. Then it comes, in drips, they fall from the doorway above. They roll over the rusty edges and fall slowly and then hit. They splatter. I can’t see them on the ground, but they are dark. Another drop falls. She is spilt in the slush, that’s why. Her life drips now into the slush, then down here, into the tunnels of the underworld. Bur she was someone else’s angel, not mine. That’s not how it works. I’ve learned this. It hurts but I’ve learned this and what’s learned can’t be changed, no, it cannot ever.