I found a blog posting all these writing prompts, so I picked one out to play with. Here’s the result, for better or for worse:
Between day and night was the jagged seam of dusk, a time for children to scramble home in the iron grips of their panicked mothers, for the swaggering dealers to saunter out of their hiding holes to do business in the open. Dusk was a magical time in the most ominous sense, a time of mysterious accidents and disappearances, of gunshots ringing in ears.
Darian was always on edge during this time, in transition from the common street urchin of day to elusive prey at night. And at night, he threw off his façade of innocence. He looked younger than his fifteen years, but the scars on his wrists and bloodshot eyes and revolver gripped tightly in one trembling hand belonged to an older person inside him. At night, he was a shadow. At dusk, a ghost. Nothing was certain at this time of not-day.
Friendships were formed and shattered and children saved and killed. The sickly sweet stench of garbage mingled with smoke and iron and death and fear. Scars hidden in the forgiving daylight were thrown into sharp relief for a short time before swallowed again by night. People were not human; they were closer to monsters. Looking one in the eyes could bring death upon the viewer.
Death grew restless in wait for new blood to be spilled to quench its undying thirst. It thirsted for Darian every sunset. Every shadow was a monster, the orange light a beacon. Darian preferred the shadows, for they were indiscriminating in whom they shielded. The predators were cocky and stupid, knowing night would soon bring them a cloak of darkness in which to hunt their victims with ease.
The monster was twice Darian’s size, blinking dumbly in the fading light. Darian crouched in his bed of shadows, waiting for an excuse. Any excuse. He did not attack the innocent, but hesitating too long would kill him.
The monster made the move Darian was waiting for, slipping a butterfly knife out of his pocket, opening it with an airy snick. The sounds of children laughing filtered into the street. The monster turned his head toward the noise, a sick smile stretching his lips. His grip tightened on the knife. That was all Darian needed.
He raised his revolver, supporting his hand with the other. His back found the wall, stabilizing him. The gunshot shuddered in Darian’s grip and the monster fell, painting his grimy singlet with a single trail of crimson. Darian’s hands did not shake. He was through with being a victim.
As night rolled across the street, suffocating the light, Darian embraced the shadows, letting them wrap him in a chilled embrace. He was both there and not there, blood singing with thrill of the kill, but he was empty. If he did not escape this city, he feared, he would become a monster like the rest.