ing with drugs but that was it. He decided to head the other way instead.

After travelling for a while, he noticed something, along the walls slick with a wet substance were faint chalk marks. With an apparent clue, he decided to follow them. It wasn long until he reached a manhole and the chalk seemed to indicate he should go through.

John steeled himself and climbed up the ladder. He popped open the manhole and stuck his head through, all he revealed was a cloudy dark sky and a dilapidated warehouse. He climbed all the way out and stood up on the pothole filled street.

As John stood up from the manhole, the scales faded away and his normal body was revealed again.

He looked around some more and concluded he was in the outskirts of the city. He decided to investigate the surrounding buildings, starting with the warehouse.

It was a massive warehouse, but the outside was heavily overgrown. Most of the windows had been smashed in whether intentionally or not, and graffiti was all over the sides of the building. Looking around, John found a door with surprisingly little vegetation growing around it.

He opened the door slowly and crept in. He heard quite a bit of noise coming from further in the building and his interest was piqued. His feet carefully walked around the glass on the floor, and he walked into the main storage area.

”Hooolyy shiiit… ” John came to a stop and just stared in awe. The warehouse was filled with makeshift homes. There were stalls everywhere, small wooden shacks and tents too.

There were many people all over, but any that saw John stopped in their tracks. They all shrunk back, stopped whatever they were doing, and ran back to their homes while avoiding him as much as possible.

Bink!

John felt a slight pain in his shoulder and heard glass shattering. He looked at his shoulder and it seemed fine but all over the floor was a broken bottle.

”Oi, rich boy. Fuck off! ”

John looked to his left and saw a teen standing on a mezzanine floor. There were a couple of other rough looking teens as well. John ignored them and kept walking into the pseudo town.

”Excuse me Im loo- oookay then. ” Every time John tried to talk to someone theyd quickly scurry away. He also noticed the teens following him in the distance.

John could really only scratch his head. Even if the murderer or that teen was here, he doubted he could find them. Between the scale of what hed have to search through and the people of the town all running away from him, there wasn much he could do.

”You shouldve listened to the kids. ”

John heard a voice behind him. As he turned, he saw a bald, extremely fit man whose muscles bulged with even the slightest of movements. It was quite grotesque and John almost gagged.

”Im looking for someone, a teen, tall for his age, very pale, and has black hair. ”

”Don know em. Even if I did, you wouldn hear a peep from me, I don talk to the feds. ”

John squinted his eyes a bit and mumbled with a slight nod, ”Uh-huh. Okay. ” He noticed one of the kids in the group scurry away, running into a nearby alley.

”Just get the ** out, or Ill throw you out. ”

John took out a cigarette and lit it. After putting it in his mouth and taking a huff, he spoke quietly, ”Nah, I got shit to do. ” He turned and kept walking, not forgetting to flip him off as he walked away.

Even with the clear provocation, the muscle head charged towards John. John sidestepped him as he reached him, and John put his cigarette out on the back of his neck.

With a little, ”Oops. ” John dropped it into his shirt as well, which happened to be tucked in, letting the scorching cigarette to rest against his back.

The muscled man quickly pulled up his shirt with a loud yelp and the cigarette fell out. He proceeded to glare at John. If looks could kill, John mightve been six feet under. He jumped at John but fell over clutching his throat.

John simply punched the muscle guys throat when he pounced at him. As he laid on the floor, John kicked him in the face, breaking the mans nose. John kicked him once more, knocking the man out. John set him up against a nearby building so his nose would bleed normally.

John slightly stretched and looked over and saw the teens as they grew paler by the second.

”So, does anyone ring a bell? ”

They looked ashamed and stared at the floor, but one of them nodded and pointed towards a corner of the warehouse. John dusted his suit off and started walking in that direction while lighting another cigarette.

Eventually John reached a locker room, refurbished as a small home. He opened the door, which seemed even more dilapidated than the shacks poorly built in the collapsing building. He entered the room and his eyebrows slightly raised.

Scattered all over the floor were piles upon piles of books. Most of the books were fiction, but a surprising amount were nonfiction for animals and beasts, birds in particular. There were also dozens of beautiful paintings as well. A lot of them were portraits or just stunning scenery.

”What the **… ” John couldn help but mumble while scratching his chin.

He walked further into the locker room and found a dirty mattress on a wooden pallet, covered with two thin blankets. He lifted the mattress but only found more books and illustrations.

John started checking the lockers and rummaged through some clothes. It was mainly shorts, some thin shirts that needed to be replaced, and a pair of torn jeans. John looked through the rest of the lockers but didn find much, most just had more books. There was a bathroom off to the side and so John went there next.

Entering the room nothing struck John as that weird. He did notice a couple of boxes of hair dye, all of different colors. The most prominent color was a dark black, there were a couple boxes of those.

”Interesting… ” John mumbled. With a disappointed sigh, he stood up and left the home. John touched his chin as he thought to himself.

He concluded that the kid who left during the fight probably warned the teen he was looking for. John scratched his head with another sigh and walked around. Eventually he rested on an old concrete slab laying on the ground.

The people of the warehouse eventually started to go back to what they were doing after seeing him only want to find the kid. There were plenty of kids running around playing with each other, parents cleaning up the place, and others just helping out.

Even after all this time, John still didn know what this place was. He just sat there staring at all the people walking around, going about their day.

”Mind if I ask why you
e looking for him? ”

John heard a voice speaking to him and he looked over. He saw a woman in her early twenties. John stared at her without saying anything.

Eventually he spoke, ”I don know. Hes just a kid… ” He tilted his head back and stared at the ceiling, ”You know those murders, he might have something to do with them. Might being the keyword here. ”

”I see. ”

She stood there without a word, and John didn say anything either. Silence swallowed the two who were in their own little worlds. Sometimes sounds would leak in from the other people, but they were too preoccupied with their thoughts to notice.

”Know anything about him? ” John suddenly asked.

She laughed for a bit before answering, ”Oh heavens no. That kid is the most secluded person here, and thats saying something. Lords, last year there was a thief stealing food. Since he was so secluded, most assumed it was him. They tore down his door and were dumbstruck by all the books and painting in there. When that happened he froze in confusion like a deer in headlights. ” She laughed some more after saying that, like she was revisiting a fond memory.

John smiled and shook his head. He looked down at the floor and just stared, thinking about this investigation that baffled him.

Eventually, John stood up and stretched his legs and back. He turned to the lady and thanked her before leaving. As he waded through the slightly overgrown entrance, walking around the glass, he turned around for a moment. He stared at the strangely beautiful place he stumbled upon.

He frowned slightly and left.

He pulled out his phone and sent a text, im 90% sure i found his house

🙂 Good send us the location and well look around. A response quickly came.

John sighed and sent a text back,
o need i already did. he left already and i doubt hes coming back

John rubbed his eyes and walked away from the building. Then he decided to take a chance. He thought for a moment and decided to hide and sneak back into the building. After which he hid in a little nook covered by some overgrown plants and watched the door to the teens home.

He waited all the way until the next morning where he heard the door slightly creak open. It was incredibly dark as the clouds signaling rain covered up the rising sun, so John was barely able to see a figure slip into the room.

He slowly crept out from the bushes and slinked his way over to the locker room. He peaked inside and saw a figure wearing a hood with a face mask on. They climbed on top of one of the lockers and lifted one of the ceiling tiles, one of the only spotless tiles not covered in stains or mold. He stuck his hand in and grabbed a little box.

He opened it and when he saw whatever was inside was still there, he let out a relieved sigh. His eyes slightly curved under his hood. He put the tile back and hopped down from the top of the locker.

When he landed, he glanced slightly to his left and saw John staring at him. The teen quickly bolted prompting John to chase after him. The teen ran into the bathroom that John had visited earlier. He slammed the door shut and when John ripped it open, he was met with a sharp pain in his face.

”Oh, ** me! ” He was hit directly in his nose by a thick book that the teen stealthily picked up in the previous room.

John looked up and saw the teen do a little parkour maneuver, kicking off the wall and slipping himself into the window that neared the ceiling.

”Shit, guess this is karma for throwing that book at Milo… ” John mumbled to himself as he sloppily climbed through the window.

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