Chapter 1 - Same Old, Same Old

I was alone, but it did not bother me. Communication with regular people just dried up my brain. I prefer it this way, to be buried deep in my thoughts than the shallowness of the outside world. It was always the same, people walk, go to work or school, eat meals, get a promotion, earn money and the works. It was a pretty fucked up routine if you ask me. It was like society dictates what happens in everyone's lives and in order to be successful you'd have to be a person with a degree and get employed and eventually get suckled in the cycle. But, it was different for me.

I had quit school when I was 13 then ran away from home after that and got into all sorts of trouble in the streets. I stole, got into fights (which I won every single bit of it), got into drug dealing (I never used, I needed serious cash), and the criminal routine. I got recruited by a gang called Silver Shadows after that because my reputation in the underground got noticed by persons who were so called top dogs there. I'm 16 now but still I've done really nothing to contribute to the traditional way of living. People from the other side see us as heretics, douchebags, idiots and criminals. Perhaps I chose this life in order to escape tradition. My parents couldn't see it my way, so they turned their back on me like I was just a pet dog or something, but i didn't care. I was my own man now, no one can tell me what to do or what to think. For the first time in my life, I was free.

Our gang, the Silver Shadows, was the same with the others present in the city. We looked for fights at night, killed other gangs, ran away from the fucking cops and celebrated with alcohol and whores in our victories. I was going to say that we had principle but who the fuck am I kidding, a gang is a gang and all the stereotypes live up to your name once you're a banger. Society has a good way of branding people with stereotypes whether in race, occupation and beliefs, but whatever enough of this shit.

I took a long drag from the cigarette I was smoking while hanging out in the Silver Shadow gang spot which was the abandoned factory under the main bridge in Callahan city. This was our spot and frankly it was nice and practical due to the presence of boxes in the factory. The warehouse had gone out of business back in the day due to land owner issues. Anyway we were doing our usual thing, playing cards while drinking alcohol, smoking thinking and whatnot. I suddenly notice one guy getting near me, he had short white hair, was dressed in a loose jersey and had a bandage across the bridge of his nose. Do I know this person? Hell yeah I do. He was Samiel, a best bud of mine. He was the one who recruited me in the Silver Shadows and we got into all sorts of trouble together.

"Hey Kidel, you gonna stay there and think all day?" He said to me.

Before I forget, my name's Kidel. It means fire but I don't really care what the hell my name means. I'm 16 and I'm wearing a somewhat fitting black shirt and baggy shorts with shoes that resembled that of a skateboarder's shoes. I had hair that rose up at one side which was blonde in color. I had crimson blood eyes, these eyes are an asset in the gang. The underground remembered me as the Crimson Eyed Demon.

"What's there to do?" I said to him raising an eyebrow

"Well Raziel has some work for us. There'll be a raid at St. Mark's district in the steel factory workings, he wants a surprise attack to cap all of their asses." He replied while taking out his weapon which was a short katana. Samiel took fancy in blades and if he wasn't a banger, he'd probably be in school learning about blade combat.

There were many types of gang combatants present in the city, and yes we do not live up to the stereotypes that we all use guns and shoot the fuck out of each other because guns are for pussies. What good use can a gun be if the person you are fighting is as elusive as fuck. Anyway enough with the gun trash talk, as I was saying there were many types of gang combatants in the city which namely are the, Slingers, the ones who held guns for combat. Usually these guys are at the front lines due to inexperience. Next is the, Melee category which had sub categories such as the, Fistfighters, Blademasters and the Miscals. Fistfighters fight with their hands and was known for their power and speed. I was a Fistfighter myself and I had already killed many Slingers in the countless fights I had. Blademasters used swords, knives, throwing knives and other types of blades. Samiel was one of the elite Blademasters known in the city, no one dares mess with him. Miscals are the people who use unconventional weapons in gang fights such as whips, bow and arrows, iron staffs like the ones in Kungfu movies. They were pretty rare to see in combat but nonetheless they're no match for me. The last type of combatants were the Manipulators. Now these people are bizarre as fuck because they can manipulate one of the five main elements in combat which were, Fire, Water, Earth, Air and Plasma. Our leader Raziel was one of these element Manipulators for he can wield Plasma (The Pure form of Lightning). I've never fought one myself but rumor has it that in every gang present here in Callahan, there was always 2 to 3 Manips present in their roster. Samiel noticed that I was deep in thought again and he smacked me on the head lightly to get my attention.

"Hey Kidel! You even listening to me?!" Samiel had said.

"Yeah yeah. It can wait til tonight all gangs only come out at night." I replied to him while walking away.

I hated being reminded of my work because I already know its details even before Samiel had talked to me. The city looked a little dark now, it was to be expected because it was already 5pm. The raid will be at midnight as usual so I had more time to slack off. I sent a text to Samiel that I'll meet him behind St. Marks district at 11:30 that night. I found myself walking out of our gang spot and toward the main city. The city had not cared about me, hell the city doesn't know me so I'll be safe. I took out a cigarette and lit it with my lighter and took a drag afterwards. The satisfying smoke felt my lungs and heated it up like a cake in an oven and then I blew the smoke out slowly. Upon reaching the main city square I looked at my phone, it was already 6:00. I had been walking for the past hour just to reach the main square.

I took a seat at the bench near the fountain nearby while continuing to smoke my cigarette. There were many people walking back and forth in the main square, it was to be expected because it was the rush hour. Some went to the train stations, some went to get cabs and some brought their own vehicles. It was pretty fucked up if you ask me, getting eaten up by the routine just to survive in the world. I then noticed someone getting nearer to where I was. It was a girl, probably just turned 15 from the looks of it. She wore a school uniform, which was familiar to me because it was indeed a fact that she went to the school that I went in. Her hair was long, raven colored and it reached up to her shoulders. Her eyes were blue as the seas of this world, I had to admit, I got lost when I looked at them. It didn't take a while to realize that she was actually trying to get my attention.

"Hey. Is this seat taken?" She asked me. No emotions we're seen in her face.

"Help yourself." I replied to her as she sat down beside me.

I looked at her as she sat down. She had presence in her personality and from what I can tell, no one can push her around. I was still smoking my cigarette and I was about to finish it and indeed I did. I tossed the butt on the ground, stepped on it and got out my box from my pocket. I took a stick from the box and put it in my mouth. I was about to get my lighter, but then I heard the girl beside me speak.

"Smoking kills you know. It says there right in the label." She told me while pointing at the box I was holding.

"Everyone dies eventually." I replied to her.

"Yeah I know. I just don't want it to be soon." She replied to me.

I saw her face, she smiled at me. That was the first time I saw her smile and yeah, she was pretty. I pretty much got lost after she smiled at me, but after that she went back to looking at something else. She seemed like she was waiting for someone. I observed her more and I saw her take her cell phone out of her bag. She was text messaging someone while waiting. It was probably her boyfriend. I assumed that she had one because a dame like that cannot stay single for long believe me. She kept her phone in her bag and took out another object instead. It was a camera. It was a cross between an SLR camera that professionals use and a Digital Camera. It had a lens and all that stuff. She began taking photos of random objects that she could see. She aspired to be a photographer.

"Nice camera." I blurted out to break the silence between us.

"Yeah. It was a my 15th birthday present. I've always wanted to become a photographer." she replied.

"Oh." I replied to her. She kept her camera in her bag after she had done taking pictures.

"So who're you waiting for?" I asked her again just to pass time.

"My dad. He always picks me up her after school." She said. "I already sent him a text that I just arrived here, he's on his way now." she replied.

"Ahhh. So it was your dad you were texting." I blurted out. Honestly my tongue just slipped when I said that, because that was supposed to stay in my head.

She looked at me and let out a little giggle.

"Why? Who do you think I'm text messaging? A boyfriend?" she asked me.

I was a frank person to be honest. I didn't like to beat around the bush when talking to people especially strangers.

"Well with your looks I kinda deduced that you had one." I said to her.

She again let out a giggle.

"That's absurd. I'm not really the type of many boys in my school or anywhere else." she replied to me.

That is ridiculous. A girl with her looks, single? Wow the world was changing in so much ways that I hadn't noticed. I guess guys prefer the outgoing type now. Women who get drunk and get laid and become irresponsible later in their lives. Those happy go lucky women who really end up as whores in the underground. I've seen many of them and to be honest, it's not a pretty sight.

"Ohh." I replied to her.

She looked at me in the eyes.

"Red" she said.

"What?" I asked her.

"Your eyes. They're red. Like flames." she said to me.

"Yeah. They glow at night if it is really dark." I said to her jokingly.

She laughed a little.

"What's your name?" She asked me.

"Kidel." I said to her coldly.

"That means fire right?" She asked me. I was surprised that she knew.

"How did you know that?" I asked her.

"Mythology Class." She replied to me.

I was silent for a while because I remembered now why my name bugged me. My parents took it from a Mythology book and respelled it. The original spelling was Quidel but they shortened it to make it unique.

"You got a name?" I asked her back.

"Lumina. My name is Lumina." She replied to me.

"Light. To light something, Illuminate. Lumina." I replied to her and she was surprised at what I said. I guess she never expected a street thug like me to know things like that. In truth, I wasn't really a dumb guy. I just hated routines so I then quit school and lived life as a gang banger.

"Fire and Light. Goes hand in hand doesn't it?" Lumina said to me.

"Yeah I guess." I replied to her.

She looked at me and to be honest it bothered me a little. I didn't know what to do about it so I just stood still. She was looking at my face, probably noticing the scars I had from my last fight which was two weeks ago. Then something unusual happened. Without me knowing, she had placed her hand on the corner of my left eye. She was feeling my scar there.

"What are you doing?" I asked her. I just sat still there.

Without a second thought she moved her hand away from my eye. She seemed shy about it but she sure as hell wasn't shy when she was touching my face.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that." Lumina had said.

"It's okay. I guess you weren't used to see scars at a young teen right?" I replied to her.

"Yeah. So young yet so many wounds already." She had said.

I knew that look on her face. It was pity, probably because she thought that I'm a worthless son of a bitch living in the streets, but I didn't care. I didn't need her pity or anyone else's pity. I can carry my own fucking weight in this world. I still saw her looking at me like I was a wreck and to be honest if she wasn't a girl, I would've punched her in the face for looking at me like that. I'm not some fucking wounded dog, I'm a proud wolf. I turned away from her and began minding my own business now. I knew it wasn't a good idea to talk to strangers to begin with.

"I'm sorry." She said to me.

"It's okay." I said to her coldly.

A car now parked right in front of where we are. A person got out of the vehicle. He was tall and was wearing a suit. Probably some corporate guy who worked for a huge corporation. He had jet black hair and wore glasses. He looked like he was at his late 40's. He was probably Lumina's dad.

I looked at Lumina now and she stood up from her seat and made her way towards her dad. Just as I thought that she was already leaving. She turned back at me and went nearer.

"Will I... see you again?" Lumina had asked me.

"Probably. It's a big city after all." I said to her smugly. I saw her smile and went to her dad's car. The car was started and went away, but before it got far I had a look at the plate number of the vehicle.

"MRK3721, She's from St. Marks district?" I told myself.

I took out my phone from my pocket and saw that it was already 9:30pm. Time went by fast while I was talking to Lumina. She was different from the other girls I had met, but she were the same with the people with society that I didn't like. I thought to myself that It'd be best if I didn't see her again.

I sent now a text to Samiel, I told in the message that I was on my way to the roof of the Steel Factory Workings in St. Marks. I took the train in the central train station to get to St Marks. The trip would last an hour but I didn't care. The train would freshen me up before I give the beating of a life time to the gangs that were raiding the Steel Factory at night.