The sun was setting over the city. Shadows from tall buildings hid figures along stark gray sidewalks. Blues and purples washed the walls, looking as though someone had taken a baseball bat to the fleshy underbelly of the city.
A figure lounged against the nearest building, hidden in a blue-black shadow cast by one looming fortress. The collar of her leather jacket was flipped to shield her neck from a nonexistent wind. A cigarette dangled from her slim white hand burning halfheartedly. It sent only tiny wisps up into the murky twilight.
She loved the shadows. Tucked away into a dim corner of the city, her black jacket zippered up high, the only visible thing was the dimly orange cherry of her cigarette. From this hideaway she could watch the gritty world go by and no one would ever know it.
Teenaged boys broke bottles against the curbs, for lack of anything better to do. Across the street a man, grungy and unwashed, his hair carrying layers of grease that shone under the unfriendly light of a nearby street lamp, muttered to himself, twitching every now and again.
She watched this, with no emotion on her face. A man and a woman walked by, screaming at one another, their voices disturbing and discordant, echoing off of the silent buildings.
Life was strange, she mused. Did people even exist when they weren’t directly in front of her? Did things happen if she wasn’t there? In her mind, when those people turned the corner, walking out of her sight, they would no longer be real. Their lives would not matter. It was a strange concept, and yet a familiar one. People would die and despair, and laugh, and none of it would matter. Reality was something only real in her presence.
Flicking the dusty ash from her cigarette she took a drag. Her mouth filled with the bitter, metallic taste and she pulled the cig away, licking the backs of her teeth. She grimaced, and then did it again. There was something both disgusting and alluring about the taste. It repelled and yet drew you in at the same time. It was rather like life, that way.
Two cigarettes later, she pushed off of the wall, another cigarette cradled between her fore and middle fingers. Lifting her red lighter she flicked it and a flame flared in front of her. She held it to the cigarette until it began to burn orange. She studied the flame for a moment, put out the lighter with a flicking back of her finger, tucking it back into some hidden pocket of her jacket.
Her footsteps sounded leaden and final against the cement. Her lips parted and she blew smoke out into the air, tilting her head to watch it drift away, carrying the future and the past, weaving predictions too short lived to be proven against the iron sky.