The Hope of Dimsdale

It’s been three years since I escaped from that sweat shop in L.A. Let’s just say, life isn’t much better now than it was then. Then again, that depends on your definition of better.

I ran my fingers through my orangy-red pony tail as my green eyes stared at a familiar sight; Restaurant dumpsters always promised something. Truth be known, they don’t smell the best, but then again, nothing in the Ghetto smells much better. I scaled that slimy plastic wall and began cutting open bags on the other side. I stuffed whatever looked edible into a bag of my own. My haul today’s enough to feed the six of us, with a scrap for the thief as well.

After tying a good knot in my bag, I crawled to the top of the trash bag mound to leave. Before I reached the top, however, I heard the humming of a car engine. I clung to the side of the bag mound, my tan face paling at the thought of being caught again. The police car crept through the parking lot, it’s soulless driver scanning the lot for any signs of life. After a few minutes, the cop moves on; nothing to see here.

When I first escaped that sweat shop, I thought I was over this; thought there would never be some devil keeping me in line ever again. Ever since I found a home in Dimsdale Ghetto, I’ve come to know the real world every day. Freedom isn’t free; No matter who you are, what you do, what you claim to live for, there will always be someone around to deal you pain. Believe me, you haven’t died until you’ve felt the pain they give.

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I sat on the roof of that abandoned building, gazing at the empty streets of Dimsdale as the sun set. Every now and then, you’ll see a car go by, usually followed from a distance by the ever-present cops.

My gaze drops to my beat-up tennis shoes, into which tuck my red, obnoxious, plaid long socks. As eye-catching as my socks are, at least they cover for my jeans, which aren’t quite long enough to reach even halfway down my shins. The wind is pretty bitter at night on the rooftops. Thankfully, though, my oversized black hoodie keeps me warm.

Back at the sweat shop, they called me Kay. I have no clue who my parents are, or if I’m even American. All I know is, I was trafficked from somewhere before I was old enough to remember. I don’t belong here in Dimsdale, or anywhere else in the world. However, I stay for the people who do. Five little helpless people, all sound asleep in the basement below.

I turned suddenly as a silent figure caught my eye, then smiled as I recognized my friend. Her strange white hair was tied back in a pony tail. I’m pretty sure she dyes it, but why she’d choose white is beyond me. Her deep brown skin and ebony eyes blend perfectly into the night. Her clothes aren’t much better than mine; ill-filling black jeans (only hers are too long), beat-up tennis shoes, and a grey hoodie (here fits just fine though). I’ve never heard her speak before, but I can tell she isn’t deaf. After three years of knowing her, I’ve picked up enough sign language for us to have full conversations.

The thief in the attic blinked slowly at me.

“Your kid is loud,” she signed.

I smirked, “Which one?” I signed back.

“The baby,” she scowled, “she’s going to wake the whole Ghetto if mama don’t get down there.”

“Thanks for letting me know,” I signed before crawling to the edge of the roof.

The thief in the attic nodded once before disappearing into the night. I carefully climbed down the side of the house, the scream of the baby now meeting my ears. Truth be known, she isn’t biologically my baby. However, the mother is long gone.

I climbed inside the ground floor window and slipped through a gap in a boarded up doorway. I sped down a short, dark hallway before zipping down stairs. Once my beat-up tennis shoes hit the dirt floor, I rushed to the laundry basket and withdrew the unhappy little girl from the dirty, wadded-up sheets.

I began walking with a slow and steady pace to calm her down, stepping over sleeping kids as I went. The damp dirt floor is just large enough for four growing kids to lay down on, with a bit of room for the laundry basket. I sleep in the doorway, lying my head on the stairs. We have a cheep battery lantern, which I found on one of my dumpster dives. One of the bulbs is out, but otherwise it has a good light. The kids leave it running until they fall asleep every night.

After circling the basement fifteen times and deliriously stepping on Pat, Annie, and Spring, the baby was calm enough to sleep. I laid Kit back in the laundry basket, switched off the lantern, and stumbled towards through the darkness towards the doorway.

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I had just escaped another patrol by getting onto this roof, the cops pass by me on the ground, and eventually give up and leave. I sit down and sigh.

Just another day in the life
@Exploding_Kitten

(Yes it is your roof.)

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Dawn broke. The missing cinder block in the foundation of the abandoned house allowed a golden stream of light from the east to illuminate our dingy basement through the low, square-shaped hole. The change of light stirred me awake. Being awake, I yawned, stretched my arms, and stood up. All the kids were still asleep. They’d stay that way until late morning, when they’d run outside to play dodge ball with the other ghetto kids. Believe me, there are a lot of things to dodge in the ghetto.

When they were worn out from playing, I’d have something for them to eat. First, however, I had to track it down.

I crept up the stairs, fumbled through the dark hall, slipped through the gap in the boarded-up doorway, and climbed out the ground floor window. Another day in the life, I suppose.


I woke up to some Batman fixin’ to chill through the morning on a roof, right above me. It’s times like these that make me wish I had a voice; a shout, a yell, some way to be heard. Still though, I’m fine without one… who knows what awful junk I’d do with it…

I was born mute, never spoke a word in my life. People used to walk all over me 'cause a mute girl can’t say no. But hey, it’s not like my no would matter to you anyway. Just like it wouldn’t matter to the vigilante up there.

He might have somethin’ on him. I thought, intrigued.

Nah, any guy who sits on the roof of some abandoned building ain’t gotta dime. I decided.

It wouldn’t hurt to look though, I thought again, worst case scenario, I get seen.

With that plan set, I slipped out the attic window and perched on the gutter, seeing what Batman was worth.

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Tree. Tree. Tree. Okay, when are you going to stop this? There’s nothing BUT trees outside.

I sighed and rested my head against the back of the train’s seat.

I’m. So. Bored. I thought. Seriously. I thought those Jane Austen would tide me over. Blast it.

A gray-headed train conductor started walking past me.

“Um… excuse me, sir,” I said quietly.

He stopped and sighed in annoyance. “What is it?”

“W-where is the train stopping?”

He stared in disbelief at me. “Seriously? You got on a train without even knowing where you’re going? What is with young people today?”

Oooookaaay…

“We’re almost to some town called Dimsdale,” he said.

“Oh. How far exactly?”

As I spoke the train started slowing.

He raised his eyebrow. “We’re here. Now, if you have no more questions, I must go and do my job.”

“Yes, sir,” I replied.

He rolled his eyes and walked away quickly. I turned to the window and watched as we pulled into the station. A few minutes later, I stood in the train station, watching as people joined their respective groups. Some of them were shrieking in excitement when they met up with people they hadn’t seen in a while. Others just scowled as they joined their families and friends. I felt sad at the fact that no one was there to greet me to my new town.

What did you expect? Your brother bought these tickets for you both to make a new start here. To get away from Darktan.

I felt myself grimace as I thought of my brother. Blast it all. No. Don’t think of that. Just… I sighed.

Just keep moving forward, Taka.

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I watch the sunrise as i get ready to leave. I make sure no Cops are down below me. I turn around to walk away but there was someone there. Surprised, i jump back a little.

“Who are you?”

@Exploding_Kitten

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Well, he saw me. Batman looked like he needed every dime in his pocket.

I blinked at him once, my white hair drifting in the morning breeze.

“Who are you?” he said again, his voice undaunted.

I shrugged, and climbed back through the window into my attic. Batman can skip town whenever he’s done brooding.

I crossed my arms and admired my loose car key collection. I have all my keys nailed a wall; I got Chevys, Fords, Toyotas, even a VW key!

Before I finish fingering them all, a familiar sound rang through the street below me. A shot. The po po’s on the move. If that crazy witch woman’s behind that gun, she’ll blast Batman clean out of the sky!

I heard scrambling above my head. I guess Batman knows what’s good for him.

Hope the kids bug out before the cops spot ‘em. We don’t need more blood on these streets. Not today.

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The girl disappears from sight. I’m about to follow when i hear a gunshot. I drop to the ground from instinct, then i roll over to the edge of the building.

I’ll have to deal with the girl later

I jump off of the building, landing on some garbage bags. I quickly get up and run down an alley.

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And… I’m awake.
Ah, life here in Dimsdale ain’t bad. I swiftly rose from my bed and put on my father’s jacket that-was-slightly-too-small and slipped my slightly-too-big feet into my sleek, black shoes. As the final touch to my outfit, I fitted my slowly balding head with my signature fedora.

Deep breath, exhale. Ready for the day. I energetically open the door to my bedroom and quietly walk to the kitchen. I scan the kitchen looking for some victuals. Ah! Leftover bread. I reach over to the bread and grab one of the last remaining slices. I broke the bread in two, and bit the small half. Stale, cold, slightly molded. Perfect!
I finish my bread and grab a marker and a sticky note. I pop the cap open, Oh MaN tHe SmElL and write on the sticky note. “Bread on left counter is breakfast. Be back in 16 hrs. Love you, Dad.” I quickly attached the note to the wall and exited my house.

I locked the door behind me and stole a quick glance at my vegetable garden. Growing well, okay. Mental note: Water the carrots. I grab my cart of vegetables and fruits that I tiredly restocked last night and pushed it to the sidewalk.
It’s 6:30, daily execution time. A gunshot sounded in the distance. Ah, right on time. The wake up call has sounded and the sun is beginning to rise. I think today is going to be another perfect day.

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I scanned the street.

The sun was beginning to cast its rosy rays on Dimsdale and I was on the hunt for a market, food stall, or store I hadn’t been caught at yet.

Theft was my trade. But that didn’t mean I was good at it.

I darted out of the Ghetto and kept my head down as I moved through the streets. I’d been in an overnight cell to many times and the cops knew my face.

I had to be careful.

A normal criminal would lie low, but I had to eat. I hadn’t had a meal since yesterday morning because that’s when the markets were busy and full. And nobody took notice of a grubby teen slinking through the market anyway.

They simply tucked their belongs a little deeper into their pockets.

I noticed a vegetable stand I hadn’t explored before off to the side. I had found—in someone’s pocket—some coins yesterday, so today I could buy some food.

Stealing just meant getting caught. I nervously approached the stand.

@BaconBen

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Lookie there. Jas girl’s payin’ for a meal!

I cupped my face in my hands as I watched the scrawny ginger from the flat roof of an Aldi Only chain grocery this side of Dimsdale; only joint the po po kept open. Not that the crooks who run it care ta leave anyway.

There are a few self-owned stands though. The po po let 'em live. After all, it’s business in the open air. If the Police don’t like what yo doing, they off you then and there. Keeps people honest, I guess.

I’ve seen Jas girl around the Ghetto. Heh, she’s okay. Must 'ave been middle class at one point though. Girl can’t bring herself to dumpster dive to save her life.

A minute later, I spotted another red head. The nice one with two many kids. Kay lugged that ole trash bag through the crowd. It’s amazing how she does it. Like no one even sees 'er there. Not that they’d do a thang to stop her. They got their own problems.

Five minutes watching ginger pass, then comes Batman, sneekin’ his way through the shadows. I slipped outta my roof top hiding spot to follow him a bit. After seeing him twice, I curious to know where he lives at.

@Millennium @CaptainRex


It’s been a long day. However, I’m not in jail, we have something to eat, and it isn’t as gross as it could be.

I hauled my trash bag down the wooden stairs into the empty basement. All the kids were still out playing, and Kit was sound asleep. I leave the trash bag on the basement floor and dragged myself back up the stairs, through that awful hallway, through the gap between the boards, out the window, into the Ghetto.

“Hello?”

I dropped to the ground and scampered behind a trash can. After a moment, I peeked out from around it.

“Is anyone there?”

The voiced didn’t sound like a cop… or a local.

She’s probably harmless. I thought, and lost…

After a while, I built up the courage the leave the trash can and view the stranger. She hauled a rolling suit case behind her, her face a perfect mask of horror. Yep, the ghetto has that impression on people. Poor tourist saw the wrong side of Dimsdale.

Not that she’ll ever leave this place. I thought, However, she probably has enough money to afford a nicer cage then a ghetto hut.

“Hello,” I murmured to her.

She stared at me, panic stricken.

“Look,” I told her plainly, “If you’re planning to live here, I’d suggest finding a better part of town. That suit case won’t last a night in the ghetto.”

I sighed, hoping she’d understand. “If you can afford a better chance at life here, take it. Trust me, you don’t want to wind up here.”

@LadyGrey

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Who was that girl, she wasn’t the cops, unless she was undercover.

I take another alley, then down a couple more, making sure the cops aren’t following me. I get to a dead end then look behind me.
@Exploding_Kitten

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