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The Hidden - Urban Decay Chapter 2

The Hidden - Urban Decay Chapter 2

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Published by Bryan Lee Peterson
Chapter 2 of the debut novel by Bryan Lee Peterson, The Hidden: Urban Decay.

Malcolm Pierce, an intuitive magic user must save Chicago from the demon of decay. Using the help of Police Detective Nami, the Succubus Lenore, and a vulnerable shapeshifter who is switching sides, Malcolm must destroy his new and unknown foe.
Chapter 2 of the debut novel by Bryan Lee Peterson, The Hidden: Urban Decay.

Malcolm Pierce, an intuitive magic user must save Chicago from the demon of decay. Using the help of Police Detective Nami, the Succubus Lenore, and a vulnerable shapeshifter who is switching sides, Malcolm must destroy his new and unknown foe.

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Published by: Bryan Lee Peterson on Jun 07, 2009
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06/15/2009

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Chapter 2A constant hurry infected the streets of Chicago. It was a perpetuallycongested city with an impatient populace in need of being somewhere elseimmediately just to stay up with life, a high-rent lakeside anthill with apicturesque skyline. The noise of traffic as people went about their businesswas a constant hum on any street, a droning note that the residents learnedeventually to tune out, lest it drive them mad. It had its share of multiplemillionaires and drop-outs, its hard-working people and its socialites,celebrities, criminals, miscreants, and the maladjusted. Anything in the worldcould be had within arm’s length at any time. It had traditions and folklore,ghosts and demons in its present and past, and an underbelly that befit it all.It was a stiflingly hot and humid day, befitting a jungle urban orotherwise, and a faint odor of rotting hung in the air. Malcolm suspected thatsomewhere in the next alley over, some rats were getting their fill of something that was edible a day or two ago. There were plenty of restaurants in the area, and it could be that none of them have had theirgarbage picked up for a day or two. With every step he took, the smell gotworse.The sun shone almost intolerably brightly, piercing as it reflected from themirrored windows of skyscrapers and the windshields of cars. Malcolm had toshield his eyes even from the light reflected from the pale yellow brickChicago builders seemed to favor in a particularly prolific and aestheticallydisappointing period of urban development. Malcolm wondered if somebrickyard must have had a special on it. The streets were filled with bleary-eyed young urbanites who sipped five dollar coffees in paper cups withplastic lids on the way to drop the kids at daycare and get to the office.Chicago seemed to run on high-end caffeine. Shops that sold those fivedollar coffees seemed to be on every block, and flourished wherever theywere opened.All of this told Malcolm it was another place he didn’t fit in. He couldn'tclaim to be a part of the schedules and interactions of the city. He almostbelieved himself to be a guest symbiote in the great organism that is thebrick and mortar, the steel and asphalt and the people that were theorganism of the city. Sometimes he felt that no matter where he went, hewas the object of strange looks, wayward glances, and incomprehensionfrom first sight. Most people came to the city for jobs, or the night life, hispath to this city had been far different, but this is where he’d landed, andwhere he seemed to be needed.Malcolm needed milk, and so he headed to The Convenient Store, anaptly named grocery that was staffed by the owner and his family. It was fiveblocks from his apartment with two turns, and his route featured two blockson Foster. He hated major streets like Foster for the information overload, buthe had no way of avoiding it. When he made the turn, he took a deep breath,shielded his eyes and walked on.
 
A constant assault of textual over-stimulation and visual informationwhich barraged Malcolm’s hyperlexic mind with messages. Even simplethings jumped into his mind, had to be processed before being filed awayforever in his memory. "Closed," "Sale," and "New summer Fashions"screamed at him, while most people completely overlooked them. Some of these messages came from human agencies, but some of them came from afar more occulted source that had never been clear to him. Inwardly, hetrudged, as if he was walking against a blizzard.Along with the requisite coffee shop, this block featured a clothing resaleshop, and an almost as obligatory Polish restaurant. A Polish man with alimited English vocabulary stood in its doorway, passing out papersadvertising the restaurant, which were mostly discarded a block ahead, mostnot even hitting the garbage can, an exercise in futility. Malcolm pocketedthe one he was handed quickly, never looking at it. There must have beentwo dozen in his files at home, collected while working various cases. It wasthe first time he'd seen this particular man, and the momentary contact withhis hand brought Malcolm the image of him, tyrant, beating his five year oldson for wetting the bed, an act his son did for attention. The image was notof his concern, but would never be forgotten, but filed to an area of his brainreserved for memories that were none of his business. Malcolm had long agolearned to keep his mind pure of problems that aren't his.Malcolm had to walk this street with a carefully trained tunnel vision tomake any forward progress whatsoever, had to limit his intake in order tomake it all comprehensible. He needed milk for his cereal. That was all heneeded, then he could start his day and go to work. He didn’t need thebillboards, the advertisements for thousand dollar watches or overpriced jeans for which were placed in bus kiosks. Their target market wasapparently people that are not able to afford cars in the city. He didn’t needthe neon signs in the windows of every market and liquor store, the sandwichboards with the special of the day in front of every restaurant and bar, or aweathered Sun-Times newspaper box proclaiming “Hospital Evacuated Dueto Mystery Illness,” (and affixed to this, the stickers for a band,Geostationary, defunct several months ago due to band politics and the bassplayer sleeping with the guitar player’s girlfriend).Everywhere was that smell of rotting. Urban decay. Flesh being strippedfrom an animal, a person, a neighborhood.Finally he arrived at the store, walked past the front windows and theirads for cigarettes and alcohol. The smell was now unbearable, flies swarmedin the air near the door, which opened diagonally out to the heart of theintersection. He made a familiar half-turn to the door, but was stoppedbefore entering. A pair of police officers blocked the way seeming ratherserious about keeping people out.“Sorry buddy, store’s closed,” one of the officers said, keeping his eyes onMalcolm.Malcolm was confused. He wasn't sure if this was some kind of joke, or if this was a Chicago cop feeling big today. Either way, Malcolm just needed his

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