Chen groggily sat up in bed, crawling to the hatch at the foot of his coffin box. He slid out legs first to lessen the drop. He was in nothing but boxer shorts as he fell. The hallway his bed let out onto was obnoxiously cramped. Not just by foot traffic, either, but by chatting loiterers and all those who couldn’t even afford a pod.

He pushed his way through.

On both sides, walls of sleeping pods stacked four high rose up to meet the roof. They were marked occupied, mostly. Sleepers in their movies.

He could hear heavy foot traffic coming through the ceiling. Cars going over. They were tucked just below the ground, here. Moisture penetrated the concrete floors, the air hot and humid. He had to try not to slip.

With one more turn, he came to the open doors for the shower rooms. Steam filled the room. A naked man went walking by but he paid him no attention as he approached and opened his locker.

Chen made sure no one noticed the gun tucked into the bundle of clothes he withdrew. He caught his own eyes in the mirror of the locker. Dark and tired.

He headed out. There was somewhere he needed to be. Continue reading