the festering stink of the place is something that could be inadequately described as "rank". to be specific, it smelled like there had been a mass orgy followed by an outbreak of the plague. i resist the urge to pull a face and hold my nose, biting down on the inside of my lip instead. half-dead junkies line the abandoned subway platform, some moaning and twitching, some just staring into their own personal hell. a dog yips and snaps at my feet, but skitters away before i can kick it. some crackhead starts screaming at me about government programs and assassination plots. a tiny woman with scraggly hair cries in a corner, clutching a ragged teddy bear.
i keep my head at the appropriate angle and keep going. compassion is for the weak, and i have business to take care of. as if to remind me, my holster brushes against my back, its weight reassuring. still, i want to get out of here as quickly as possible, and not just because of the stench. every vacant face, every disgusting grin, every twitch, every cough. she could be somewhere in there. any one of them.
no, no. i shake my head. keep going. finish it. leave. that's it.
as i reach the bathrooms, i realize the odor of the platform seems to have been spawned by this festering gateway to hell. my eyes begin to water and the half cheeseburger i had earlier threatens to expel itself. no matter. one step. now another, and another, and oh god, i swear my skin is being singed away as i come further into this den of filth. i pass stalls that look like they haven't been cleaned since the kennedy administratioin. shit, piss, leftover crack pipes, someone's prom night mistake, it all mixes together to create the worst smell i have ever experienced.
and in the midst of this kingdom sits the grand poohbah himself. my target. despite the starvation raging outside his doors, this...this animal looks quite well-fed. he should, he feeds on the misery and pain of others. i note with surprise that he looks somewhat more human than most of his species. for others, this would pose a bit of a problem, used to dealing with the most hideous of creatures. not something that looks...almost human.
no matter. that's why i'm the best in the business.
he's distracted, feeding off a filthy young man with too many piercing and too little common sense. he laughs, boisterous, the laugh of a tycoon in a money pit. in the space of a cough, no more than a breath, my pistol's out and fired. a bit of smoke, a loud pop and mid-laugh, he sputters, green sputum erupting from his mouth. i got him, right in his neck, straight through the heart. he turns, beady eyes wide with disbelief. i keep calm, not a shrug, not a smile, not a word of apology. with a crackling grunt, he slumps over. the boy was dead long before, no use trying to help.
still, i can't get out of there fast enough. boots thumping against linoleum, i hightail it out of there, past the stalls, past the junkies, up the stairs, and into the cool rain of an april afternoon. i suck in the fresh air and pull out my phone. one button and i'm connected to the real world, to what little concrete i have.