[Chapter 1] Invader

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I slowly walk back to my alley with a shiny red apple from the man at the restaurant, as he called it. I don't want the strange men at the new building looking at me, and the noise hasn't stopped so I want to take as long as possible to get home.

I feel uncomfortable around my alley now, not because I'm ashamed of it, but the men that walk pass my home and watch me from the long line. Whenever one sees me he points me out, then I'll have a group staring at me like I'm something that shouldn't be here. When they're the ones who shouldn't be here, I was here first. It's my alley.

Sadly it isn't a very long walk and as soon as I turn a corner onto my street, I hear the music, I stick to the wall hoping the line won't pay attention to me this time. That hope is shattered because as soon as get to the entrance of my alley, a man in black shiny pants and a chain around his neck, points me out to the larger man he's with.

I dunk my head as I run into the alley and to my blanket, sitting with my knees to my chest. The music sounds louder somehow like they turned it up every day for the past two weeks.

I attempt to focus on my apple, taking small bites to make it last long enough to fill me a little, then focusing on my chewing to distract me from the noise. It seems to help, but only a tiny bit and soon enough I don't have an apple anymore.

Attempting to go to sleep I curl up on my blanket and cover my ears with my hands and pillow, it doesn't help, but at least I can hear myself think and count the bricks. I get to twenty before my eye's slip shut, I feel myself yawn, closing in on sleep...

Until I hear a shoe echo in the alley.

I spring up just in time to catch the light to my eye, gasping I cover my eye and blink a few times. The footsteps are getting closer, I can only back myself into the corner, preparing myself to attack and defend my own space.

"What are you doing here? I can't have beggers on my property." The voice is male, deep and husky, stern, and echoing against the walls. I only growl, as if to scare him away, it doesn't work.

"You're making customers complain about your dirty ass. Get out."

I whimper when the steps stop in front of me, the light now showcasing my blanket then my tarp; which promptly gets torn down and thrown to the ground. I curl up against the corner and growl at the man, feeling my eyes water up as he ruins the home that I worked hard to find and make.

He scoffs as he turns the light from the tarp to me, seeing me glaring from watery eyes and snarling at him. The light is too bright for me to see him, but I hear him mumble, 'Fuck'. I heard that was a bad word and assume I look bad, I do but it still hurts a little.

My eyes follow the movement of the light as it gets lower and I hear the man move, shuffling closer which only results in me trying to move more into the corner, growling once again at the stranger.

Who chuckles quietly at the action, "Very vocal boy, huh?"

I'm confused by what he means, but don't move from my tense position, ready to bite or scratch to get him away from me and my alley.

"I apologize for what I said and did to your little roof. I realize I don't know you or why you're out here, it wasn't very nice of me and I hope you can forgive me." His voice changed, now it is soft and gentle, the stern tone gone.

I stare at the man's outline, the lights from the street shining on him, and the one he holds blocks his face from me. I can tell he's big, his shoulders are huge, and how thick his arm is.

"I'm Axel. What's your name, little one."

I hear his feet shuffle against the ground like he's inching closer to me, it only results in me curling into myself more and the corner, it hurts my skinny, thin body, but I have to protect myself somehow. My chest is starting to hurt again, everything is too much today, the sound is still blasting and now the man in front of me wants to scare me away from my home.

My breathing breaks and gets heavier, my eyes overflow with tears, I realize I'm shaking again like the first night the music appeared. I still don't understand why this happens, I know I'm scared, but enough to cry and shake like this?

The man, Axel, has me trapped against a shaking wall and I can't do anything except place my hands over my ears, close my eyes to trick myself that he and the sound is gone. It doesn't work, the rumble of the music through the wall echo's even through my hands, and I can feel his presence.

"Shit...calm down, boy. You're okay, I won't hurt you. Deep breaths, take deep breaths." He orders sternly, and I hear his breathing get heavier, pausing for a second before continuing.

I don't know what he's doing, but he seems to know what's wrong with me so I try to do as he said, breathing as deeply as I can. It doesn't work instantly as I want, the stranger is still breathing oddly and telling me to follow the breathing, I don't trust it or think it'll work, but do as said just in case it does and this happens again.

After forever my crying has stopped, the shaking isn't as bad and my chest doesn't hurt anymore, the breathing did help and I'm going to remember it for the future if a situation like this comes around again. I hope it doesn't.

"There you go, breathe slowly for a few minutes, calm yourself down. Good, much better." The stranger keeps talking like that as I do what he says in hopes I'll get better and he'll leave.

When my body feels calmer, my eyes are heavy and when I blink, I see two of everything. I know enough that when that happens, I should sleep or eat something, but I can't do either as there's a man who wants to take my home and I already ate what the man gave me.

I assume having such a strange night, an invader, and another odd crying session was too much for me. I'm not used to people, especially this close and talking to me. My body seems to want to sleep and try as I might, it won't listen even as my eyes slip shut.

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