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PreCrisis – Chapter 1: Dreams

She woke to a silent world. Lying in bed, Alexia stared up sleepily at a shadow-covered ceiling, the only light present shining through a window. The alternating blue and green colors reflected the shadows of raindrops as they pelted the city. Lexi dozed on and off for a little while longer before eventually rolling over and planting her feet on the threadbare carpet. It was a muddy brown color, and made Lexi think of shit. It was laughable at times, a shit-colored carpet in a shithole of an apartment. That was life these days, endless shit.

Dressing quickly, she headed outside to find something to do. Sitting inside during the rain was boring, and only made her want to sleep. And, a person could only do so much sleep before they just rolled over and died. It took Lexi less than a second to realize what was wrong with the scene she stared at. The sky was blanketed by dark clouds, dropping buckets of rain down on the street. The drops were heavy, and Lexi was soon drenched in water. That was nothing that never happened before, though, she could deal.

The problem, however, was an obvious lack of people out and about. There were those who gave as big a fuck about water as Lexi did, and went outside anyway, but there wasn’t anyone anywhere. Unnerved, she set off down the street, intent on finding the reason behind it. As huge as the city was, SOMEONE had to be around. Yet, no matter where she went, there was nothing. There was no one. Even the nightclubs were silent, and that never happened. For hours, Lexi wandered the city, fear rising with every passing minute.

Passing under a dark archway to cut down an alley, she found herself in the middle of a deserted sunlit street. Turning around, the street stretched off behind her, with no sign of the alley. Facing back to the front, Lexi walked down the road, just as empty as it had been before. The noise of the rain had been replaced, however, with that of children playing. She couldn’t see them, but she could hear them, and the sight of a familiar building told her where she was.

The apartment building was a small construction of brown stone, the stones darkened by age. Standing at the steps that led up to the front door, Lexi placed a hand on the iron banister, walking slowly up to the building. Inside was a dim hallway, lined with doors on either side. In the center of the hall’s ceiling was an opening, where one could look through to other floors. At the very rear of the building stood a staircase, where Lexi ascended to find a firefight. The sunlight was gone, replaced with darkness, spotlights the only thing lighting the hallway. A shout from the opposite end of the hallway drew her attention too late, and a bullet sent her careening back down the staircase. Time seemed to slow down as she fell, until she landed with a heavy thump on the brown carpet of her apartment.

“It’s one o’ clock in the city, and things are looking gorgeous out there, aren’t they?”

Blinking bleary-eyed, Lexi focused on the blaring television with a small degree of difficulty, sleep still clinging to her brain. Rising to her feet, she looked down at her chest, feeling around for the bullet hole she was pretty damn certain had been there a minute ago. Finally, she took a breath, calming down as she sunk back down onto the bed.

“A dream?” she muttered, yawning. “Fucking real for a dream.”

With another yawn, Lexi fell backwards, cuddling up to her pillow. More sleep was in order before she had to report in for work, but a ringing phone saw fit to disturb her attempts.

“’Lo?” she said, not even bothering to see who it was calling. There weren’t a great deal of people on that list of potentially-on-the-other-end. There was her friend Dragonfly, her sister Nicole, and…

“Heeey, Lexi, you’re up finally!”

Lexi heaved a silent sigh. “Snipe, how’ve you been? Haven’t heard from you in fucking forever.”

“Oh, you know, same old same old. Had some stuff to handle for the boss, went off-planet a while.”

“Oh? Where’d you go this time?”

“Eh, just Silica, like usual. Anyway, I’m back in town a while. Wanna hang sometime today?”

Lexi rolled her eyes. Sniper wasn’t a bad guy exactly, but he was often around some really unsavory types. He was a runner for some gang or other – there were a bunch – and it wasn’t something Lexi wanted to get associated with. But, Snipe had a good heart, so she humored the guy sometimes.

“Can’t today,” Lexi told him, Sniper’s reaction clearly an expression of disappointment.

“Awww, why not? You’re not working today, are you?”

“Yeah, but that’s not till tonight. It’s the Anniversary today, remember?”

The mention of the Anniversary quieted the male on the other end of the phone. Neither of them said anything for several moments, before Sniper broke the silence.

“Oh. Right. Yeah, I remember,” Sniper sighed. “How could I ever forget? I guess if we don’t do anything else today, I might see you there.”

Lexi managed a half-smile. “Yeah. Maybe.”

The line clicked, the dull drone of the dial tone humming in her ear. Slowly, she let her arm fall from her head, the phone coming to rest in her lap. With the push of a button, it was off, and she left it there on the bed while she went to get dressed. A black and white striped long-sleeved shirt, black pants with a black and white checkered design on the bottom of one leg, and black and white sneakers served as the day’s outfit, completed by a black short sleeved jacket. Outside, she stared up at the sky. The occasional cloud dotted the pale blue, and she shook her head as she trudged off down the street. Today was not a day for such a happy sky.

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