That afternoon, the siren was blazing down Canal Street on the east side of town. The traffic was backed up a good half a mile into the intricate layers of the city upper, thanks to a three-car accident piled on top of the yellow divider line. It forced many who preferred to travel via the clumsy silver public buses below ground to the equally clumsy but red and blue and slightly faster mode of subways and trains. The usually staggered clinking of turnstiles became an incessant stream, matching the cityÂfs rhythm to the best of its abilities.
The slim figure of a boy not over the age of twenty dashed quickly down the train station steps just as the sound of Run #985 indicated its swift departure. He came to a reluctant halt, throwing the backpack further up his shoulders with a mumbled curse. His spiked hair was slightly damp from peripheral sweat, presumably caused by the attempt at beating time in its own game. He wore a pair of torn jeans and a plain grey windbreaker, and with him came the odd smell of cloves and laundry detergent.
On the seat a few yards away sat another figure of similar age and presumably the same profession. His backpack was thrown half-heartedly on the bench while its owner nursed a cigarette with one leg up as support. Long, dark hair framed his pale thin face, obscuring most of his features except the sharp hazel eyes peering out from the curtain of black. He sported a forest green T-shirt over a maroon long-sleeve; his pants were low and decorated with an ample amount of belts and rings. His fingers curled around the half-smoked cigarette, teeth caressing the off-white filter like a loverÂfs lip.
The fair boy standing sighed loudly, catching the sight of the other as he turned and pausing for no apparent reason. The dark one took a drag of smoke, then blew it out in a ring and watched it float toward the low ceiling. He glanced sideways, meeting the large, baby-blue eyes for a fraction of a second.
And it was during that impressive instant-that glitch in time between the two complete strangers-that things began to change.
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