The air is cold and thin as if to mirror the rain pouring down onto the stone rooftops of Dimonda Town. It’s a quite odd day much unlike the one before when I had managed to get by selling these damn gems without worrying about slipping on any wet stone should the situation escalate, and none could tell what law enforcement might due nowadays as the Bloody Battle isn’t over just yet. With a slight hop in my step the basket full of merchandise sways slightly under the weight of the heavy fake jewels it contains. Today I wear only the ripped clothing of a poor farmer just outside Hiber City.
As I come down the alley (a scene which would resemble our far cousin Earth’s 1902 London) I can’t help but get the feeling I am followed by some stranger hiding amongst the shadows of night. Once out of the alley I make a sharp left, running up the steps of the tavern in a hurry. Inside there is a thick fog built of cigarettes, cheap beer, and the loud noise of a television turned to the news on the war even though there isn’t a soul in sight. “What the hell Maximus?” Harold asks from behind the bar counter. I shiver a little as I approach the bar counter and have a seat facing him. “You nearly scared me to death!”
"I smile sorry about that Harold. Just in a bit of a rush is all."
He grins, passing me a cold Yahol inside a small shot glass. I toss five Fuosals (coin currency) onto the counter before guzzling it all down. “Give me seventeen more. I could use a nice sleep.”
"Just don’t pass in here, they’re been all over my tail about letting people do that even since this war began. Says it ‘Interferes with their investigation since I haven’t replaced them cameras yet.’ Can you believe the nerve of the Kin? Comin up in here telling me how to run MY business."
I shake my head. “I won’t be passing out in here, just getting a good drink.” He chuckles as he slides down two more Yahols (a liquid resembling piss and tastes just like, but gets the job done). Just then the door swings open to a figure all dressed up in fancy city clothes. He slams down ten Fuosals, requesting a whole Lindour bottle. I raise an eyebrow. Ordering Lindour in that quantity is very unusual even for someone from the war influenced city he bared characteristics of. The stranger looks at me and smiles a pearly white smile. He is tall (at least two feet above me with arms as big as my face) , his skin a dark form of tan as though it’s never seen night. Dark brown hair and eyes fully blacked out he actually caught me off guard, but with all the artificial remedies and operations today it isn’t that unusual.
"How’s it going?" he asks rather friendly with that same kind grin.
"Hanging in there. And yourself?" I reply with a quick chug of Yahol. He just shrugs and takes a sip of the tall bottle filled to the brim with Lindour. "Seen men die from drinking that much all at once."
He chuckles. “Well certainly you’ve never seen someone like me take it on.” I raise an eyebrow but just continue downing the two Yahols Harold slides my way. Outside the rain only seems to get worse, given the time to mature while the night wears thin.
"Almost time for me to close up boys… Better head out now, can’t have any Kin knocking on my door this time of night." I nod and drink the last Yahol before lighting an evening cigarette for the long walk to another alley where I can hide out for tonight. Harold is right. It’s now nine and the curfew for Dimonda town has been set to ten ever since that air strike last week.
"Aren’t you a little young to be smoking?" the newcomer asks as he comes to stand beside me, umbrella blocking the rain from soaking either of us.
"Aren’t you a little old to be staying around these parts an hour before curfew?"
He laughs. “I’m only twenty three actually.” I nod, blowing some smoke into the air. “How’s about I give you a ride home? My car’s only around the corner.”
"Thanks, but I really shouldn’t. My… Sister… She’s probably worried sick about me", I lie.
He must be able to tell because he grins as though he does. “Well your sister will be even more worried if you show up late.”
"Fine", I growl, throwing my cigarette into the stream leading to the drain pipe. He smiles and away we go.
"Right there", he finally says after a half hour walk. He is gesturing to a rather high classed sports car which actually make me freeze in my tracks for a second. "Well you coming?" I only nod and hop into the passenger’s side, the door sliding downward at my side simultaneous to his.
"So, you must be quite the worker for a car like this."
He smiles. “Or be a Hibernaut…”
My face is struck with awe. “One of the Hibernauts? The military family?!” He nods.
"I-I have to go", I say as I try to open the locked door.
"But I’m driving you home aren’t I?"
I sigh. “There is no home for me… not anymore…” I look at him ashamedly, expecting him to freak and call me in (as orphans are not allowed to be anywhere but the orphan houses until this war ends for their own safety), but instead get a slight peck on the cheek. My cheeks turn bright red. “B-B…But”
"But?" he frowns.
"Aren’t you going to report me? Orphans are illegal outside the orphan houses."
"Well it’s a good thing neither of us are orphans then huh?" he replies with a chuckle. My shoulders relax into the black leather (what would be considered "fake" on that wasteland known as Earth). "Im Grimm by the way."
I can’t help but chuckle. “Grimm the Reaper huh?”
He grins. “It would appear so.”