Sirens scream as they chase me down the narrow street. I take a left down Main but yet they still follow me. I keep on running one foot in front of the other I don’t look back that will just wast time not to mention they will know what I look like. I take another right and go down some steeps. I remove the tunnel drain cap and begin to climb down it, I jump and land right in a small puddle. Great I say as I stand up and dust myself off. I start to walk the old abandon train tunnel 316 I know this way by heart. I take a left and there she is leaning against the wall. "You were out causing trouble again, weren’t you?" I shrug my shoulders and hand her my backpack. She takes it and looks at it. 6 wallets some bills a few gold money clips and some peppermints. "Nice job Pick Pocket, she says." That is my nickname down here because I am the best at it. I rarely get caught and when I do I can outrun the cops any day. "We could have done without the peppermints though," she said. "Hey take it or leave it its your choice," I tell her. "Girl, I love you what would I do without you," she says as she swings her arm around me and we begin to walk to central. That’s what we call it you see I am homeless have been for quite some time. And this place well it’s my home and these are my friends. Central is where we do our trading and where we also sleep. My spot is behind an old abandoned stage I hung some curtains and there is a couch back there as well that I sleep on. Erica, she is my best friend ever I was 8 when I witnessed my mother getting killed. I got so scared that I wouldn’t tell the police who did it. My dad got so depressed after mom died that he said he couldn’t look at me anymore because I reminded him of her so he gave me a hundred bucks and told me to leave. I packed a few things but I didn’t have much just some clothes and a golden locket my mother gave me. That night when my dad dropped me off I told him I hated him and that my mother would never have loved a man that would throw out a child. He just surged opened another can of beer and drove off. I hugged my backpack close to me and walked through the park. I was scared and alone and that was when I met Erica. I was sleeping on a bench when she came along and woke me up. She grabbed my stuff and told me we had to run now. So we took off running, when we finally got to the bridge she stopped. “What’s your name,” she said while we were gasping for breath. “I am Courtney, I say.” I am Erica you new arent ya,” she asks. She looks me up and down and then asks, “you homeless or just lost.” “My dad threw me out I tell her.” She sighs and says, "parents they are pathetic and stupid who needs them anyway.” she hugged me and told me she was my family now and ever since we have been joined at the hip. Erica had run away from her foster parents that were beating her. She was just 2 years older than me. She taught me everything about how to survive out on the streets. We slept in subways stations during the summer, and at an abandoned hotel during the winter. She showed me how to pickpocket but since I didn’t talk much she said I was the best at it so it became my job. With the money I stole, we were able to eat and we got our clothes from a local church, a lady who works over there always helps the homeless kids by collecting donations. Soon we ran into more homeless kids and the 2 of us became the six of us. One day we were all walking back to the hotel when we heard a loud sound. We ran to see what was going on and then with one loud bang we saw the whole hotel come crashing down. I looked at Erica and asked, “now where are we gonna stay.” she shrugged her shoulders and Derek shouted I know an abandoned tunnel with a stage underground. And that is how Central was created. Then slowly more homeless kids started gathering up here and we just became a community of homeless kids.
Derek sees Erica and me and runs over. “Did you get anything, good pickpocket,” he asks. “You know you don’t have to ask that,” says Erica. “She’s one of the best so you know she got some’em good.” “That’s our girl,” he says and gives me a high five. You and Guitar are what keeps us runnin and Guitar over here killed it at the park getting donations,” he said as he slapped his back. When we meet Guitar he only had a Guitar but he was really good so that was how he got his nickname. I smile at them and say I am going to go and get some sleep I have been up for hours. I jump the wooden crates and climb the stage I turn the sign on the curtain to say keep out. I walk into my corner and I throw down my backpack. I start to close my eyes when Erica comes in with something behind her back. She pulls it out and its a cupcake with a candle on it. She sits down beside me and says, “happy birthday Courtney.” She is the only one who knows my real name everyone else just calls me by my nickname so when I hear it I smile. “Make a wish,” she says. I close my eyes and I blow out my candle. “Thank you for remembering,” I tell her. “Girl how can I forget we are sisters I couldn’t let you celebrate your fifteenth birthday alone,” Erica says. “She hands me the cupcake and says well I gotta run you know the subway waits for no woman stay out of trouble,” she says and she leaves. I eat the cupcake and then I lay back down. As I am laying there open my locket and say, "I am fifteen today mom I wish you were here you could help me.” I close the locket and close my eyes and soon I am asleep.