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


The bus stopped.

Skrimp, Wally, Dag, and I lived in the same building. As much as that meant something hundreds of floors apart, it meant our ride was shared every day home. Even if in silence, at best texting feet apart. I cherished our quality time.

The bus had pulled under a massive overhang of concrete, stopping at the curb there. My eyes swept the yellowed depths of the opening hall to the building, glancing back at the grey street behind and its traffic. Back, peering through pillars to the revolving bars which prohibited the way into the building itself.  A small throng of the homeless off to the right watched our blacked out ride.

Up and at em.

Stagnant water at my feet, inches deep, broke under my rainboots as I hopped down from the bus.

The others pushed out behind and around me in a quickly dissipating crowd. People I had nothing but the slightest familiarity with. No better than Phillip.

We all walked to put some space between ourselves and the curb. I stopped then where I was to tap out my last coffin nail.

Dag and Skrimp kept going on but Wally paused by me. Continue reading