Chapter 30 – Ida’s House of Beauty
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"What the fuck was that?" Rocky asked, shoving me in the chest with all the strength he could muster.

The anger in his eyes was mixed with small hints of fear, and I felt strangely happy seeing such an expression on his face.

I felt my body stumbling backward one step at a time but I managed to regain my balance before I fell off the edge of the building we had chosen as our hiding spot.

The building was old, painting fell off the bricks like a waterfall showing just how many times the walls had been painted over in the past.

The windows no longer had any glass coverings and I was pretty sure that with enough movement, Rocky and I would fall through the floor to our deaths.

Below the building, I could hear the mad footsteps of Big Jump Tim shaking the streets as he walked around like an enraged animal.

Thankfully, Big Jumpa Tim was alone and that meant that he could never find us since his brain was basically non-existent to begin with.

Of course, the spineless Teens, that loved to fuck Dogs, had all but scattered when I slit the throat of the bravest one.

Even the thought of how I did it, didn't disturb me as much as it should have. Just yesterday I was puking myself to sleep thinking about the three people I have killed…

But today… well, I guess it's true what Flaw preaches 'New Day, New me, just donate some money and we will find out which is which'.

"You could have pushed me over," I yelled at Rocky angrily as I carefully maneuvered myself from the edge of the building.

I kept my steps light and my breathing shallow to avoid even the faintest chance of Big Jumpa Tim overhearing me.

After all, with Big Jumpa Tim's physical characteristics, I had no doubt that he could dig his hands through the bricks and climb the building to kill Rocky and me.

"That's just it, Omari!" Rocky shouted back "I don't even know who I would be killing… something about you is different… the way you walk… the way you look at things…"

"You walk like – like – like –like… uhmmm," Rocky stopped talking and thought for a while, smacking his fist against his palm a couple of seconds later as he found the right words.

"You walk like one of those big black cats," Rocky said, pointing in my face like he had won the lottery.

"You mean a Panther?" I asked, unsure of the exact animal Rocky was referring to.

"That's what I said…" Rocky replied dismissively.

"No, you didn't," I replied.

"Just shut the fuck up!" Rocky replied even faster.

"Ahhh Fuck it!" I shouted, punching a nearby wall, expecting it to break under my awesome strength but pain rippled throughout my right arm instead.

"Owww! Oww! Owww! Fucking shit!" I hopped around comedically, earning a couple of giggles from Rocky who was comforted by my pain.

"Although you are funny…" Rocky stated, calming down and looking at me seriously "Just now you expected that wall to break… it's like you're becoming delusional or something,"

At Rocky's words, I paused in realization and finally went over my recent actions. Just now, for the briefest of moments, I didn't just expect the wall to break under the impact of my fist…

I expected the entire building to shake under my wrath… I expected to see something that should not have been humanly possible, or at least Slumly-Humanly possible.

Who knew what those rich-city kids could afford to do after all.

'Still, It's as if I'm holding expectations for myself that aren't possible,' I thought, realizing that my brain and body were somehow out of alignment.

'Maybe, I really am going crazy?' I mused, adding that possibility to the list of theories I had in my mind.

Of course, insanity was at the bottom of the list… right below 'Fucked a Temporal-Being and can now see visions of the future'.

"Let's go to see the Receptionist. After I disable her Slave-Implant, she'll show us how to get out of here and we won't have to see Big Jumpa Tim ever again," I stated guiltily, my personality reverting to the coward I truly was.

"I hope you are right," Rocky says threateningly as he walked past me "Big Jumpa Tim hates you more so he will fuck you first and I can use that time to commit suicide,"

"But you look more like I dog," I whisper under my breath, not willing to make Rocky get the last word in.

"What was that?" Rocky asked angrily, turning around to look me in the eyes.

He looked ready to start a fight, probably because he was a bit threatened by Big Jumpa Tim chasing us earlier.

"Nothing!" I replied instantly, straightening my back like a soldier who had a stick up his ass that also helped straighten his spine.

I was so straight as Rocky glanced at me, I was pretty sure that I would be the straightest Corporation Soldier in the history of U.S.R.C.

"I thought so!" Rocky replied, puffing his chest outwards with a feeling of superiority that came from making others cower beneath his gaze.

∞∞

"It's supposed to be around here," I said, checking abandoned houses to abandoned houses in hopes of finding the one that belonged to The Receptionist.

"Are we lost?" Rocky asked, a deadpan look on his face, though I could tell that there was an underlying amusement present.

"Of course not!" I replied defensively, pointing at the next house to investigate "How can someone who works for the Adults live in such a poor area?" I asked angrily.

"It's the slums," Rocky replied, looking at me weirdly "The entire area is poor, I don't see your point?"

"You get what I mean…" I replied dismissively, crossing off one house from my mental map and highlighting the next we would have to check out.

"Her name is Ida by the way,"

"Ida?" I questioned.

"The Receptionist…" Rocky stated and then pointed to a house "Her name is Ida,"

On the enormous house Rocky had pointed out, that could be seen from miles away, had a huge sign that read 'Ida's House of Beauty'.

Rocky walked past me as my steps froze and for the first time in a long while, I felt stupid in comparison to Rocky.

Rocky was smart but I was smarter but there was a huge difference between being smart and being Street smart.

Smart was like following the recipe in a cookbook, while Street-smart was like eating whatever it took to survive.

Seeing Rocky already at the gate of the huge house, I ran forward to join him, asking the question that began to burn at my mind.

"How long ago did you notice that?" I asked curiously 'Couldn't he have saved us all of the wanderings about if he had just pointed me in the right direction to begin with?' I thought.

"I always knew where it was but we had to walk around first since too many people were watching us…" Rocky stated, gesturing around us to all the eyes hidden in corners or behind walls.

"Is Ida so important around here?" I asked, the 'Street Science' of the matter eluding me entirely.

"You don't stay in such a huge house in such a fucked up area and not get robbed even if you're a big-shot. That means that the person in the big house takes care of people in the little houses.

Sends their kids to school, feeds their families, and in return…" Rocky paused, gesturing me to continue since he could see that I had already figured it out.

"They shank anyone who gets too close to the house?" I asked, pretty sure of my answer but also hoping to be incorrect because it would mean I was so close to death without even noticing it.

"Yup… It's strange how you see the bodies in the drains every day and have no idea where they come from," Rocky stated, glancing back at me and ringing the bell on the gate of the massive house.

*ding*

*ding*

*ding*

"It's because I don't know such things that I have a higher life expectancy than half the people in the slums," I replied as we waited anxiously for someone to open the gate.

I could feel the eyes of everyone in the neighborhood trained on my body and somehow, I could tell that a little killing intent was mixed into all their gazes.

Rocky was nonchalant about the entire situation but my legs were beginning to shake unconsciously…

Not because I was afraid but because my mind perceived the danger and something inside of me was fighting to respond to killing intent with killing intent.

I was pretty sure that when you see a fire, adding more fire to beat the first fire would never be an effective plan.

Still, my brain somehow thought that fighting fire with fire was an effective method.

*creak*

"Enter!" I heard a voice command as the gate slowly retracted to the left side of the fence.

"Let's go," Rocky said, walking through the gate and dipping to the left as if he was already familiar with the route we would take.

'Strange,' I thought, lingering around the gate a little longer before chasing in the direction Rocky had disappeared.

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