From The Inside Looking Out
I let the water wash over me as I thought. The pillow beneath my head stopped the sand tangling in my hair. I blinked away the tears, hoping that someday things could change, and everything could be different.
Every day here you wake up knowing that this day could be your last. Every day here is like a war, with every soldier at the front line fighting for the same, if slightly tinted, pointless cause. Most day’s handfuls of the soldiers die, only for more to step forward, with the same pointless fate as those both before and after them – each mind drowning in the same, meaningless, bitter, hatred.
Every day the streets are suffocated with sirens the piercing echoes as they drive past etching themselves into the deepest part of your brain, thoughts creeping on and on through the complicated corridors of your memory as the fear swoops down, striking out with sharp talons that’s tattoo your skin with scars.
Every day, the same consistent question hangs above you: Who’s next? All around there is death, following you around like a shadow, merely waiting for your last breath while others just watch on. People about you cry rivers for the dead.
The eeriness of the unknown keeps to the shadows and every time the darkness falls you find yourself crying tears of forbidden joy and wonder for being alive. In these familiar streets, seventeen people die every day, caught sometimes in pointless riots, or in fights they have always tried to hide from.
Never a day passes without death or sirens, and if five minutes bathes in pure peace and silence you start to worry, and amazingly start to miss the familiarity of the noises.
Nobody blinks at this anymore; it’s a daily routine that spins in vicious circles. Streets here are divided by gangs and races, territorial and violent and murderous just because they can be and because they are trying to hide their fears by cloaking themselves with reputations.
Each street is littered with symbols, gang motifs, marking where one territory ends and where others begin. Mostly there are fights and brawls, caused by so called trespassers.
These fights carry on for a while, people from all sides ending up dead or injured. Some streets are avoided by most, walked upon only by residents who are thankful that they have been left in peace, some unfazed by the lingering death and the dark clouds that hang above the cobbled roads and houses.
Gangs are everywhere, patrolling ‘their’ streets, becoming known. In most gangs are kids, following in the troubled footsteps etched onto the earth by older brothers and sisters. Each gang has a leader – someone who everybody looks up too. People in gangs are marked, tattooed or scarred in a certain way.
Nobody can back out... they are Deserters. Deserters are hunted down, and found dead in an alley somewhere on another piece of the territory. Cases don’t last long. The big guys at the top keep their hands clean, turn a blind eye and keep their stubby noses out of what they know jack about.
Other guys go crazy, the fear or violence finally driving them first class into Quack houses. Most don’t last long their either. Rarely, but more frequent now, the gang members turn to suicide. Too scared to back out right into cold blood and too scared to stay at the front line. You hear it around, people going “Capt. Marsh.”
It means they’re suicidal or too soft to handle all the crap about them. The ones left are either too deep to run, or general hard cases: fearless and made of steel.
I’m neither. I wish I could turn back, rewrite my point of view. But hey – who cares?