It was a cool, crisp autumn evening in bustling New York City, and Michelle Fox was trudging down Fifth Avenue with the air of one who has been utterly defeated. She had ruined that interview, she just knew it.
Michelle had been standing at the streetlight prior to Fifth for nearly a minute, utterly lost in her imaginings of denial emails, until someone jostled her from behind and she was pushed into resuming her trek. Night was beginning to fall, and the electric streetlamps lit in unison, casting faint shadows on the buildings to her right. The light woke Michelle from her inner turmoil, and she quickened her pace. Her sister's plane was due to arrive in an hour, and Michelle still had to feed the cat and change clothes.
Rushing along the street, she didn't notice the small black fox jump up and plunge into the fray after her. It had been hiding in a cardboard box, and looked so bedraggled that no one would have been able to tell which species it was, if anyone had been looking at it. It was, at any rate, extremely adept at navigating crowded city streets, and followed Michelle easily back to her apartment.
The tiny flat was dark when Michelle forced the door open; it was old, and had a tendency of getting stuck on the ratted carpet in the hall outside. She nearly fell when her purse knocked over the umbrella stand, and she cursed loudly enough to create a slight echo throughout the hall. The cat meowed, only visible because its eyes caught the light from the dingy bulb outside the door. She kicked the stand inside and slammed the door shut behind her, flipping the light switch with her left hand as she walked in.
The apartment was cramped and a little dingy, but clean. An old, worn couch was pushed against the wall across the room. A lamp stood next to it, illuminating a narrow hallway that led to the closet-size bedroom. A string of lights was hung all down the hallway which, along with the lamp and the tiny kitchen light, gave the flat a warm, cozy aura. The small window over the couch looked out onto the street and the neighboring apartment complex. The resident across from Michelle was your typical, run-of-the-mill junkie; his closet consisted of sweatpants and baggy, dirty t-shirts, and Michelle was utterly convinced that she had never seen him sober in all the two years she had lived across from him.