La Bodega

March 30, 2012 in RP by Hibiki

The rain had been falling for hours by now, and his clothes were soaked through.  His stroll through the city had been anything but a hospitable experience so far, and he was running low on reserve power.  Most of the street side outlets were burned out, or stuffed with gum and trash.  The bars were self service, and some had power outlets but he wanted privacy, somewhere to collect his thoughts on a day’s worth of walking.

He walked up a ramp, around a corner and into what appeared to be the maintenance entrance of a large apartment complex.  When the former city owners cleared out they left all the corporate housing intact, mostly furnished and no worse for the wear.  Ignored by the battles, or sometimes set up as improptu bases/hospitals/drug dens, they ended up either completely untouched and layered in dust, or gutted and graffiti covered.  The elevator was, as was to be expected, out of service.  The stairs were grimy, thick with scuff marks and or cracked steps leading up.  He climbed with his gloved hands stuff in his pockets, starting to feel the weight of many hours without chemical stimulation.  His addictions were getting stronger, he knew it…but he didn’t care.  As he climbed on in near pitch darkness, his night vision showed him the path.

The landing he picked to explore was the cleanest of them all so far, just far enough above street level that the squatters who knew better had settled up here on safer, more isolated floors.  There were footprints, recent ones too, and the odd fast food container thrown in a corner, but as he walked he kept his eyes on the door panels.  One was, miraculously, dimly lit, and he tapped it a few times to test for life. It buzzed at him angrily.  Taking out his interfacing cable he jacked into the door’s controls, quickly and easily slicing through the decade old locking software like a hot knife through digital butter.  The door opened, and Hibiki stepped inside.

The room was a horseshoe, curved around a small table with a kitchen to his right.  A large bank of windows gave him a rather spectacular view of the city, and he whistled in admiration.  There was furniture still, with cracked and stained  with years of abuse.  Two ashtrays, and several more makeshift ones were stuffed with cigarette butts.  The white residue of cocaine encrusted parts of a small mirror on the couch cushions.  There was a terminal, screen cracked and non functioning.  Fake potted plants dotted the space, and he was immediately taken by the charm of the little space.  He mentally claimed it immediately.  The security could be beefed up with a liberal application of hardware locks, maybe a camera doorbell, and that’s all it would take to make this little flat a little home.

He took off all the soaking clothes and draped them over the backs of a few chairs, and over the kitchen bar.  Drawing the curtains, he tossed the gruesome Oni mask he perpetually wore on the couch and stretched his jaw.  The mask restricted his face’s range of movement, a sensation he’d gotten used to over the thirty or so years he’d been wearing it, but he always instinctively stretched after wearing it for long periods of time.  Subconsciously, he supposed, it felt good to keep up the old habits.  He noticed books now, near where he tossed his mask.  Musty, untouched during the previous occupants stay most likely, but still intact.  Volumes of reference books, a few mystery novels and collected works.  A modest library.  He smiled, the touch of higher thinking amidst the evidence of lower life was actually really nice.

The power worked, even if the room’s main terminal did not, and soon he was laying down on one of the couches, his wrist split open with his auxiliary cable trailing from it to a nearby wall socket.  He had juice, and his body’s internal battery thanks him as it slowly pulled in power from the city.  He rolled a joint while propped up on his elbows, his meager stash beside him.  Web browser open in his vision, he called up his ties on the Silk Road.  Few of them actually lived here in Hangars Liquides, but he needed to start business as soon as possible, and he needed to know what was available.  The few internet contacts he regularly kept were now updated to his arrival in Hangars.  A couple of messages waited in his inbox from regulars in his former home, he answered them all in turn with the news of his departure.  He was systematically peeling away a whole layer of grime to reveal a fresh, new body.  As he worked he smoked, filling the room with the heavy scent of mary jane.

He would hit the streets again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after if he had to…but he swore within the week he would be turning profit.  It was not his nature to sit still, to let himself rot and rust pathetically.  It was his nature to provide, and consume, in that order, and little else.  Hibiki turned on some music, something from his personal storage that lulled what was left of his brain into a light and pleasant sleep, his first in three days.  As his operating system quietly went into standby, Hibiki dreamt he was walking along a path that went on into the horizon, curving over the edge of the earth into nothingness.  In this dream he realized running wouldn’t get him there any faster, if he was going no where, so in this dream he walked.