"Fiction depends for its life on place. Place is the crossroads of circumstance..." -Eudora Welty
Setting has always been important to me; first as a reader, now as a writer. I love finding a place that inspires its own story. Here's one of those places, and those stories...
He needed a smoke.
He stepped outside. The sudden sun turned his vision momentarily white. He put his back to the wall, blinked while he pulled the cigarette pack from his pocket.
He wished it was a flask. It was just that kind of day.
The alley was nice, as far as alleys went. Not too dark, not too much garbage. Shocks of green muscled through the cracks in the red brick buildings. Over the ancient, moldering roofs, tall glass structures almost the same blue as the sky raced towards the stratosphere.
He started to pace, not bothering to avoid the water collected in the dents and ruts in the pavement. Nicotine settled into his lungs, his brain, heavy and comforting. It was barely enough to distract him from how badly he didn't want to be here.
A pickup truck pulled into the opposite end of the alley. Two men hopped out. They moved easily, either unaware of his presence or unconcerned by it. One of them pulled a set of keys out of his pocket. He jogged down a set of steps and disappeared under one of the buildings.
When he returned, the keys were gone. The second man was waiting at the back of the truck. They reached in and hauled out what looked like a bundle of old laundry. Heavy laundry.
He was about to step forward and offer to help when the bundle jostled, and something slipped out from under one edge. Something slim. Something white. He pressed further back into the shadows.
It was a hand.