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The Autumn Aircraft - #1 - Little Sister Becka

Autumn 2022
As the end of the world party raged on some of the earliest evidence of the eff -it mentality popped up in
spots, and the signs were showcased in awesome, near -apocalyptic fashion.
Men and women, standing outside in summer c lothes, could feel the strong night wind as it rushed by,
could hear it as it gusted through the alleyways and past brick and stone dwellings, and were able to pick up the
sounds of it opening and closing screen doors. As it pushed on, various pieces of trash were spun into cyclones and
whirlwinds, and carried farther down the wet streets. They didn’t mind. It may have been an icy, cold night, but it
was time to party. The last days of Earth we re drawing near, and with each day that moved into history emerged a
stronger sense freedom, a stronger feeling of independence, of power. The government had owned it until now,
some fe lt. Now the people were ta king it back. That was what defined the fuck it mentality.
On one street, music blared fro m the hallway of a towering apartment co mple x, provid ing an upbeat
soundtrack for what would’ve otherwise been quite a gloomy night.
The stone steps descending from the front door of this apartment were flanked with muscular, T -shirt
wearing and bare-chested men, most with fo rties in hand. A wo man wearing a tightly fitted skirt and a halter top,
and a couple of teenagers taking hits off a freshly rolled joint were a mong them. Light from the door -lined corridor
washed over them and the front steps, spilled out onto the sidewalk and reached the dark street beyond.
The party was jumping on seven floors, but the first floor was the most packed of all, and the elevator near
the end of the hall was nearly impossible to ma ke it to without being forced to jostle your way past dozens of people
drinking, smo king, and even brawling in the hall.
A single self-driving car cruised past the apartment and out of sight down the dark street. A mo ment after
that a shadow emerged on the far end of a side street, straight ahead. From the doorway of the complex it would’ve
been impossible to see, but was there nonetheless. The shadow gradually swelled. In front of the comple x one man
tackled another man and began pistol wh ipping him with a highly illega l handgun that he was showing off a mo ment
ago. So me on the stairs snickered. So me barely realized what was going on.
The man getting hit had talked mess for the last time.
A little girl wails behind a shut door and her cries go unheard as the guests drink , listen to music, and play
dominoes at the kitchen table. Many guests stand around and talk . Some guests hang casually out of the doorway
of the apartment and sell drugs to people partying out in the hall. The woman who stays at th e apartment with her
husband sits at the kitchen table playing dominoes with a number of men. Her husband isn’t with her. Neither is
her daughter. Though much is vague to her under the heavy influence of vodk a and cranberry juice, she is k eenly
aware of these facts. But she does nothing. It is not her concern.
The man who approached the front steps of the comple x was black, the same comple xion as most of the
guests and tenants of the comple x. He was tall and looked the same age as many of the people partying like it was
the end of the world, but they knew immediately that he didn’t belong there. Some thought he held a strong
resemblance to the person that was now considered America’s most wanted man. They even had a sense that he
wasn’t here for the lively atmosphere and, instead, something else. His shadow extended far behind him, shrinking
as he came closer to the steps leading to the entrance. He disregarded the dead man that lay off to the side, his face
bloodied and beat in with the end of a p istol just mo ments before, and chose to fix h is dark eyes up on the men—and
wo man—standing on the stone stairs. Smoke spread from the tips of numerous joints and cigars like smo ke in a
house set ablaze. Everyone on the steps stopped to look down at h im, the carefree, end of the world vibe seemingly
forgotten for the mo ment. In the background the guests and residents crowding the corridor stared out, possibly
sensing an interloper themselves. The rap music still played fro m a speaker system that sat out in the hallway, the
bass so loud that at times it seemed to shake the very foundation of the building.
The man continued to advance, his black rain slicke r flapping behind him as it met the steady night breeze.
His hair was cut low into a fade. He had a light beard.
Fro m the back o f the staircase came whispers:
“—he looks like that one nigga, don’t he—”