It happens overnight: you lace your shoes, lock your door behind you, and they flood your life like fog. It's impossible to pretend you aren't hearing them whisper, seeing them huddled in packs like wild dogs. They clog corners and crosswalks, pale hands passing joints and cigarettes, sullen dreadlocked ghosts with hangover eyes. Whatever dark places gave them shelter before - bars, basements, used bookstores - become little more than rest stops now. The rumors make them brave, draw them into the daylight where you have to face them.

Soon, they say. Girls with bubblegum lips smirk at you.

It's coming, they say. Their male counterparts pick at scabs and scars.

Soon, they say. And you hate them without meaning to.

But they're right, and when it comes, the children of the street become the survivors.