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IV. A New Day

The next morning he awoke again, and the fear of the white creature had lulled in his sleep. As he cleaned and dressed himself, he noticed in the mirror that his skin seemed healthier than it had before. Was it possible? Did he actually have smooth tanned skin?

He looked over at the chinchilla. It seemed to be asleep, swollen from whatever he must have fed it last night. It looked peaceful.

Maybe it was silly to have ever been afraid of it. He needed to go back out today, back into the abandoned world of entertainment's lost past. Maybe today he would find something that would allow him to eat? It was worth a try. He felt hopeful.

Getting dressed he found everything seemed to fit a bit better, and without consciously making the decision he pulled out a large backpack that he didn't even know he had and gently placed the chinchilla into it, along with an old shirt for it to sit on.

“There you go, Mary,” he said and zipped up the bag most of the way shut.

Mary? Had he given the thing a name? Hmm.. guess he had.

Mary was an odd name for a chinchilla, but then again he had grown up with a dog named Pig and what fucking sense did that make. Shrugging, he threw on the bag and walked out of his new door to the hallway.

There were slightly less crackheads out this morning, he thought to himself, as he quickly strode through the familiar dank and depressing halls of his home. He emerged into the street and took in the Mad-Maxian dystopia that had become his city.

At one point, this place had been called the Silicon Peach; a hub for international businesses, the names of which were known the world over, no matter where you went.

Now the peach was rotten; he thought to himself as he took an overgrown two lane road deeper into the concrete jungle.

As he crossed by long abandoned neighborhoods and houses, he imagined the tidy families who used to live in them; putting on fresh coats of paint and taking pride in their yards and the promise of their very own American automobile.

What a fucking joke.

Henry Ford had been championed as a genius in the American industrial revolution by bringing affordable cars to the average American family. As well as being credited with creating the assembly line; the bane of poor underpaid and underfed workers the entire world over.

Now these abandoned homes were each blessed with half a dozen rusting hulks of once mobile vehicles; just a rotten testament to the continuing dilapidation of the world around him.

“Should have gone the public transit route,” he said out loud, “ like Europe,” he added, thinking that addition was important for some reason.

He heard a quiet “Europe” mumbled in his head.

He was about to say something to Mary directly when he saw a few guys that he didn't want to mess with. Looking around, he searched for an alternate egress that said “Hey, I don't want to fuck with you.”

As his eyes nervously darted from path to path, he accepted this was an encounter he would not be able to avoid, as the predators had made sure their prey had no easy way out.

The next thought that came hurtling out of his conscious mind was, “Where am I?”

The thought seemed to shriek at him as he looked down to see himself naked and filthy; the dim afternoon light being filtered through dust and a single tear in the garbage bag shade of a long broken window.

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