The night was dark and full of fear, as footsteps thundered down the streets of New Los Angeles.
Restless puddles splashed up fresh dirt on the heels of those who disturbed them. It hadn’t rained this bad in months, the streets needed this but the citizens loitering menacingly around at this lonely time didn’t.
Passing from one alley to the next three shaded individuals all dressed in black ducked between street lights and the faint orange glow of the city, staying out of sight from others eyes as they looked for their next victim.
It had been a long night, the longest they had planned in a while. By now they should of had at least one victim on their list or two like the nights they’d been hunting before today. Yet here they were, still roaming at 2am with not even one.
These streets were not cruel, they were not dangerous, they were no longer filled with all the monsters that had inhabited them not more than twenty years ago. Citizens should of felt safe to roam without worry of a predator lurking amongst them, yet they were still empty.
Upon planning this night over the last week, the individuals had seen more activity than this. Had seen the streets still carry bodies from one end to the other, tonight none. It was pointless now. Wasn’t it? They had been lurking for hours with no fruits of reward. It was time now to rest for the night. Any further searching would not yield any better results. Would it?
The first two predators stuck their hands deep in the pockets of black hoodies slowing into a swift stroll turning left at the end of the next alley onto the main street. The third individual reached behind his back, under his hoodie securely placing the item he was holding onto the harness fitted to him.
Following the lead of the first two he then tucked his gloved hands inside the pockets of his own black hoodie strolling behind them. Briskly pacing themselves, they made it two blocks down the street, then another two.
They hadn’t wanted to walk the second two, they had hoped they could back into a close by alley and make their way home, but the spinning red and blue lights of a stationary police cruiser had made the first option unusable. This had to be they way they went. Straight into the bright lit radius of The Core. Straight into view of 30% of the C.C.T.V cameras in this city. Straight into the view of The Core.
Each predator, their hoodies draping over their faces keeping them hidden in the shadows, kept their eyes placed firmly on the sidewalk refusing to look at the majestic tower before them.
Four white stainless steel beams stretched 70ft into the sky each evenly placed 6ft away from each other in the shape of a circle. Like vines down a branch hundreds of bright orange wires spiraled down each of the pillars digging themselves into the ground beneath. In the concrete a white stainless steel ring stretched underneath the four pillars linking each one, a faint glow of orange shone up from the cracks where the steel met the concrete.
On the east pillar at the base was a small computer terminal locked behind a stainless steel cage with a two key lock and the tip of the west pillar had a 7ft orange 3 painted on it. From the centre of the pillars a luminescent orange beam reached high into the heavens. Orange, that was their cities chosen colour, each remaining city had one and that was theirs.
The surrounding area lightly hummed a bright orange. This was what they had been avoiding the most watched part of New Los Angeles. The most recognizable part of this new city. The Core. Each of the eight remaining cities had one and each had its on unique colour. City number three. New Los Angeles. Orange.
Sinking their heads deeper into the hollows of the hoodies each predator was wearing they picked up their pace strolling quickly and briefly past The Core.
None of the three predators lifted their gaze from the sidewalk before them, purposely avoiding eye contact with The Core and the C.C.T.V cameras surrounding it.
“That thing marks everything that is wrong with this city.” Grunted one of the black clad predators looking back at The Core, the soft orange glow lighting up the inside of his hood. Lightening up the black clover tattoo he had on the left side of his neck.
“Don’t worry Mckray it won’t be there for much longer, I presume. Just keep your eyes down and face forwards.” Remarked the second pushing the firsts face roughly with his gloved hand so he was once again facing the front.
“There or not there I don’t care.” Whispered the third one wearing the harness. “As long as we get one of them things tonight I’ll be happy.”
“Looks like you’re gonna have to care now cause I think we’ve found what we’ve been looking for.” Cockily said the first predator.
“And you wouldn’t of seen that if your eyes weren’t up front like I told you.” Remarked the second.
“Well, they are and I did so what does it matter no...”
“Quiet both of you this bickering is getting worse each night.” Barked the third clad figure pushing his way to the front of the pack. His eyes wide, searching in the distance and there he could see it, could see her.
Her figure shaped out in the orange glow of the street light. Could see the rain drip down the tip of her orange ponytail that swung gently in the breeze above her waist dripping the tiniest drops of rain on her black velvet skirt. Her tiny frame shaking violently from the winds of the cold night just 100yards in front of him.
Stalking their prey the three figures closely followed behind the lone female as she walked down the street. She took a left not once glancing behind her shoulder, after all she thought she was safe. Why shouldn’t she be? These were peaceful times now. Weren’t they?
The predators followed her left, then followed her on the next right until she disappeared down an alleyway, exactly like they had been hoping for.
“Normal formation. Keep it tight and keep it quick.” Ordered the third predator reaching back and unhooking his weapon off his harness preparing it in his hands ready for action.
The first two predators securing their hoods against their heads began sprinting down the alley with the third following closely behind, pulling his two-gauge double barreled shotgun up to his eyes ready for the kill.
The footsteps came up heavy and fast behind the young female taking her by surprise as two heavy hooded figures barged past, knocking her off her careful balance on the black high heels she was wearing into a shallow puddle on the ground that splashed up her long black dress.
Her small hand bag came loose from a faint grip on the fall spilling its contents of soft orange lipstick and a dented engagement ring, its precious orange gem cracked its frame on the stone of the puddle she was buried in, the puddle she now sat in. Rain dripped from her forehead onto the concrete as she watched the two figures disappear down the alley out of sight.
“Maybe next time you could at least say sorry!” Her high pitched voice shouted down the alleyway after them. Slamming tiny wet hands into the puddle in frustration before her, she sighed and scrambled the small things she had back into the small bag, all besides the cracked ring.
“Don’t worry darling, there is not going to be a next time for you."
"Excus.. Excuse me?” Her High pitched voice questioned, breaking up under fright.
The voice was vicious, terrifying sending shivers straight down her spine, goosebumps appeared on her pale skin as tiny wet hands clasped the dented ring in desperation.
Slowly turning to see the owner of the voice she was instead now facing down the barrel of a gun held to her by a being with grey eyes and a baby face.
“Please I don’t have much, but I promise I’ll give you anything you need. Just... Just... Please?" She begged her now tear stained big, bright orange eyes staring straight up at the baby faced predator.
Rain dripped down from the few loose strands of orange hair that hung across her face dripping onto the small amount of orange freckles she had on her cheekbones. Tears of terror streamed down from her eyes onto her pale skin, sinking in at the curve of her heavy cheekbones. She was young, too young for this.
“What’s your name?” Asked a baby face, his voice filled with murderous intent.
“A... A... Anna.”
“What’s your number?”
“Twe... Twenty six H.”
“And why are you here Anna?”
"I... I just broke up with my boyfriend. I was... I was on my way back home. I thought this way woul.. Would be quicker to get me there.” Anna sobbed through her pale pink thin lips. Her features looking drained of will, her thin pointing nose dripping a mix of rain and tears into the puddle she was still sat soaking in.
“Well Anna Twenty Six H this is nothing personal but I need one good reason why I should let you leave this predicament you’ve found yourself in.”
“Predicam.. Foun... Please... Just please I would never do anything to hurt you I... I just want to go home.. Please?”
“Hurt me? Did I suggest that you would Anna? You seem to be implying that you would in fact hurt me.”
“But your kind have before. Maybe you would again. Maybe you wouldn’t. Maybe your kind are hurting others now Anna. It’s a long night anything could be happening in this city right now.” The baby faced twisted with his lips curling at the end of each sentence.
"I.. We.. Would never hurt anyone, I promise you. I... I just want to go home.”
“Okay Anna you convinced me. You can get up and go.”
Anna turned her head away from the predator for a brief second to reach for a tiny bag.
The bang echoed through the alley, the flash of the gun lit up in both their eyes, but for her it was only temporary.
The force of blast pushing up his sleeve just enough for the end of a string of orange numbers tattooed on his wrist to be seen. -912.
By the time Anna’s lifeless body hit the ground, the predator was already running down the alleyway, feet tearing against the rain soaked streets to re-group with his fellow hunters.
Her petite framed body lay still in the puddle, one hand with a grip on the string of her small bag, her other hand’s fingers spreading out slowly letting go of the grasp she had on the small ring, it pinged against the floor. Her blood ran thick and deep red through the hole the baby faced monster had created in her, turning the puddle into a swirling mix of the terror filled moments of Anna’s life. Her eyes lay open, the orange in her iris staring upwards into the night sky, the orange glow of the city reflecting off her skin, hallowing in the contours of her face. It was over, her life was over.
What had she done to deserve this? What had she done to have her existence brought to such a swift end by a cruel monster. She had thought these streets were safe now from the monsters that used to lurk here. She had thought.