Chapter 1 - The apartment

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Willis adjusted the air vent in the front passenger seat of the old minibus. He rubbed his hands over the minimal heat coming out. It was cold in Contro City, especially during a rainy winter. David flicked the indicator on and turned right. It was peek traffic hour. Everyone was finishing work. "You got enough heat back there?" He asked Arthur and Smoke who were both seated in the back.

"N-n-not y-yet," Arthur said, his teeth chattering. His arms were wrapped around his body.

Smoke let out a grunt. His face was hidden beneath a hood. His hands were tucked inside his jacket pockets.

David took another right turn and came to a halt at a set of traffic lights. To his right was an island of shrubs and palm trees. He thought he saw something moving about the bushes as he flicked on the windscreen wipers to clear off some of the spots of water. The rain was intensifying. "He's joking isn't he?" He looked out of his window. A man dressed in soaking wet fatigues carrying a squeegee and bucket broke out of the bushes. Water overspilled from the bucket. His skin was covered in sores, and his teeth appeared rotten as he smiled at the group.

"Bloody meth heads," Willis said, handing David his smallest coin to drop out of the window.

The man quickly swooped to the ground for the coin. Willis laughed as the man in fatigues dropped his bucket and stood up. He held the coin between his thumb and index finger eyeing it closely and gave them the thumbs up. He moved onto the next car.

"Well, that was the place we found you Smoke. No alien hanging around. Maybe we should come back tonight?" Willis said over his shoulder.

Smoke tilted his head toward Arthur who was shuffling a deck of cards. He pointed his finger at it gritting his teeth. His finger trembled and one of the cards flew up and hit the roof of the car.

"Wow!" Arthur shouted with excitement.

Smoke smiled, "Finally something."

"Can you make a fire in here?" Willis asked, shivering.

"It's not that bad in here. Better than locking yourself into a lamp," Smoke said.

The traffic lights turned green and they took the exit ramp to their suburb Wilrento. The city was always alive even when it rained. It was home to beautiful sky rise apartments and world-class shopping malls on the beachfront, industrial estates, rural estates, and beautiful mountains. People from all walks of life came to Contro to make it home. It rained a lot during the winter, and even in the summer. When the skies did clear. The beaches were packed.

"Can we stop at Tanya's?" Willis asked, looking at David hopeful.

David rolled his eyes.

"I'll shout you a drink," Willis said, checking the contents of his wallet.

"Yeah we can stop there," David said. He smiled for the first time all day. He was the biggest of everyone in the car with a muscular physique. David went to the gym almost every day. He'd just finished a workout before picking up Willis, Arthur, and Smoke to go looking for an old friend of Smoke's.

"So that was definitely the place you found me before?" Smoke asked.

"We were pretty drunk. But that was the place," Willis said. The minibus pulled into a car park outside a small shopping complex. There stood barbers, bakery, gym, café, fruit and vegetable shop, laundry, and Tanya's One Stop convenience store. Outside the bakery a couple of older men in tracksuits sat around a table playing cards. A huge bald fat man stood to the side of them scanning the car park. He glanced over David's van one time and continued looking elsewhere.

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