Up in Smoke - Prologue

In a white room, dirty from clay, wood, and many

materials, sat a woman. She was young, youthful in spirit & body,

but old in mind. Her thoughts raced as she peered at her computer

screen. She read, reread, and continued to read over an e-mail she had

just received from a new employer. Her dreams had come true, another

life goal had been reached, but her thoughts raced as her heart sunk.



She rushed down the stairway, through the gate, and almost ran to the subway. She didn’t want to be late getting to her studio!



She calmly pressed “Print”, as she listened to the air condition hum, the

rain outside tapper on the windows, and nearby footsteps.


She made it. Not finding a seat, she opted to stand. When a man suddenly approached her; a sneer look on his face.


With the pages printed, she stapled them together; doing pointless tasks and

movements to keep her mind occupied. She grabbed her various pencils

and sharpened them, tidied her desk, and even swept the floor. The rain

fell harder, as the footsteps got closer.


“Excuse me miss…” The man suddenly grabbed her bag, forcefully yanking it. That was her work, she wasn’t going to let go of it.


She grabbed her things, quickly scribbled a note, and placed it on top of her printed e-mail.


She gave out a good slug to the man’s face, as he lashed out with a knife.

The blade caught her on the arm, as she suddenly felt two hands on her



She quickly paced out the door, taking a quick glance to see the source of

the footsteps down the hall. Her pace quickened, as she made a mad dash

towards the elevators.


“Excuse me, SIR.” The man from behind pulled her & her bag back as he

emptied a bullet into the attacker’s head. She shook, as the now dead

man fell to the floor of the subway, her back against her large

gun-wielding ‘savior’.



The elevators doors opened, a resounding ‘DING’ to alert it’s arrival. As she stepped inside, the footsteps reached her studio.



She quickly turned around, tears forming in her eyes. A mix of fear, shock,

and gratitude swarmed in her. The man’s intense expression softened, as

he spoke, “Hi, the name’s…”


‘Smog, I’m so sorry. I’ll always keep quiet. I promise.’ Read the note. The

man picked up the paper, placed underneath the note, and began to read

it’s contents.





“Dear Zita,

We have reviewed your portfolio. Outstanding work! Therefore, we are

willing to give you a position as a sculptor and assistant craft advisor

in our company. We will find your employment packet at your place of

residence, and we look forward to working with you!”

                                                                                             Senior Artist, CinWorks


“Eh…rats. The dirtbag got ya’.” He grabbed her arm, the deep cut bled onto his hand.


Smog finished the short print-out. He noticed the date. Four days since this

was received. Four days to prepare for a move. Four days to wrap

everything up before leaving. He stood there, gripping the paper in his

fists, not knowing what to feel.


Smog sat down with the woman. Whipping out a bandana, he bound her wound,

and noticed she was shaking. “Don’t worry. See those guys in the corner

there? They’re with me. I like you, don’t know why, but a chick that

doesn’t give up to a knife is a chick with more guts than most people

I’ve put down. Just keep quiet…Promise?”


Zita reached her car, packed with the remainder of her clothes in luggage, and proceeded to drive to the airport. 



The subway reached it’s destination. The woman got off, as well as Smog.

She turned to thank him, still fearful all the same. Instead of getting a

word out, he grabbed her into a hug, his large frame dwarfing her

stature. He smiled sweetly, “I’ll see you around.” And he stepped back

onto the subway; the doors closed and it took off again.



One would be lying if neither one shed a tear.