Chicagoland was always the place to die.
This should be a comfort to me, as I wince at the sharp glass feeling in my stomach as I gauge the depth of the hole with my finger.
Even in the middle of a war where a capital was razed to ash and ember, Fort Dearborn made a name for itself.
Powder burns around the edge are going to tell whoever finds me that this was done close up. I’d try to get help, but it’s kind of moot at this point. I don’t have that kind of upper-body strength at the best of times.
Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a novel about a disgraced Chicago PI, forced to battle the mob. Sherlock Holmes makes an appearance. This makes this trope approximately the second-oldest in fiction, right after Jesus.
PIs aren’t the same as they used to be. I’ve never fired a gun. The noise scares me. I keep mine loaded with blanks, and it’s intimidating as shit.
The smell of meat and blood and fire lingers, even though the majority of the work has been moved outside the metropolitan area. Causality is a tricky thing when you start to look at places independent of time. Are all the bleating cries of the animals the reason the city and country thrive, or does prosperity force a blade to their throats?
It’s harder to focus, and when I close my eyes I see aerial views of the city that make no sense to me. I see history and gangsters and mayors and a girl walking out of a doorway, dropping my gun like it was the wrapper to a candy bar.
Was there a design behind the fire? Businesses rebuilt, industry moved to the fringes, and within fifty years, Chicago was ready for its new birth, slick with blood, head covered in a Prohibition caul. Sometimes fires are necessary for removing dead overgrowth. Heat forges things stronger. Heat does more than burn.
All the best stories are about girls. It’s like music, even if it’s not about girls, it’s about girls. In fact, if it’s not about girls, it’s especially about girls.
If this was the end of it, if everything started to roll back on itself, it would start here.
She’d be here to watch it happen. Of course, she’d be here. From the minute I stepped off that train, she was here, and it could only end one way.
An entire city haunted by the ghost of the future, the birthplace of the sprawling skyscrapers, the first truly American city. Something looks down from the sky and cries.
I’ve never died before. I knew it was going to be in Chicago, but I came anyway.
A girl can make you do stupid things.