Riches to Rags

Chapter 5 (Korra)

After another long night, my backpack is finally empty, and I’ve finished my rounds. I flop onto my couch, tugging my boots off and allowing my feet to breathe.

I wish I could say I feel better after helping people out, but by the time I get home, I feel drained, empty… powerless, even. And damn, that poor woman. Out of everyone, she’s haunting me the most. She had a look in her eyes I’ve not seen for a while, far deeper than despair. I’ll definitely check on her again tomorrow, though I’m hoping she just calls me.

I’ve been talking to my financial advisor, trying to see if I can afford to help more, maybe extend the shelter a bit, since next door’s been abandoned for so long. The landlord is asking way too much though, and honestly I have no idea why. After all, a building next to a homeless shelter is next to worthless, because people don’t want to be anywhere near it. Yeah, they all judge so easily. It’s like you become something less than human the second you’re out on the streets… I can still remember the looks I used to get, and it wasn’t all that long ago, either. About two years, to be exact.


“You’re in my spot!” a dry-skinned old man barks, with a blob of white, foamy spittle hanging out of his mouth. I grimace at the sight, repulsed by it, even though I’m quite well aware I’m anything but attractive myself right now.

I clamber to my feet, and let him have his precious damn spot. I’m definitely not getting into a fist fight again, the last time that happened… sure, I won, but then the cops came, roughed me up, didn’t even bother to throw me behind bars since I’m “a waste of a decent cell.” I suppose I should count my lucky stars that my cuts from that particular adventure didn’t get infected.

It’s funny how life turns out sometimes. I don’t know how it happened, but one minute everything was fine, and the next, the rent just got too high for me. So I found someplace new, cheaper. It turned out to be a scam… with the price being so low, I should have known. Damn it! The landlord took my deposit, then kicked me out a week later. What was I going to do? Pay for a lawyer? I was new to town… Republic City, city of dreams, they said. My so-called dreams were shattered within the first six months. I’d left everyone behind in the south, and not on good terms, either. I had no one to turn to. Next thing I’d known, I’d been sacked from my job at the day care centre, since my appearance was deemed ‘unacceptable’.

I’ve been slumming it ever since… I’ve lost count of the weeks, of the months. I want to work. I want to be a part of society. But I ran into bad luck, and now society doesn’t want to know.

I sit on a bench in the park, and watch the world go by for a bit. Next thing I know, I’m dozing off. Not a lot else to do, after all. Plus, it beats listening to my growling stomach.

All of a sudden there’s a pair of hazel eyes staring right at me, and a middle-aged, chubby woman is smiling at me. She starts to talk, and from her accent I’m sure she’s Hispanic. It’s a nice voice, friendly, warm.

“Hey, lady. You hungry?” she asks, whilst bending down to maintain eye level.

“Starving.” I probably mean it literally, and I try not to laugh at the fact.

“Then get your ass off this bench, we have a shelter just down the block.”

I eye her suspiciously. I’ve been screwed over way too many times… but then again, I’ve got nothing for her to take. Except my organs. Maybe she works for some black market and wants to chop me to pieces, sell my liver. I decide to stay put.

“Fine. Fine. You change your mind, this is where we’re at. We got hot food, blankets.”

The woman passes me a card, which reads ‘Shelter of Raava, 242 Barker St. There’s a phone number too, and a coin taped to the card. Good job, since I don’t have a cent to my name.

“Raava?” I ask, since the name doesn’t sound familiar.

“A protector of the helpless, she’s from one of my childhood stories,” the woman smiles, “Anyway, I’m Priscilla. I hope I see you soon…?”

“Korra… thanks…” I mumble, still not so sure I can trust the woman.

She wanders off, whistling a tune I’m sure I recognise. My tummy growls again, reminding me I need to eat, and soon. The address on the card is just a five minute walk. I know the place, actually, it used to be a burger joint. Maybe I’ll head over, and check it out, whilst it’s still daytime… whilst it’s relatively safe.

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