The skies are a dreary gray and the ground, saturated, such as it is after a rain storm. That's because, in the city of Hollow Bastion, it's always raining. People here are just like the weather, dreary, lifeless, and without hope. So again, like countless other times, I walk to see him. In my black boots, blue jeans, and a white dress shirt with a trench coat over it; I walk down this abandon, Cement Bridge, on the outskirts of the city. No one ever comes here, except for me.
People are rarely ever seen outside their house, so I walk the streets all alone, waiting to help the next person on my list. Every person I help, gives me another golden puzzle piece; which then brings me back to this bridge, stretching out miles into the ocean. I swear it feels like this road gets longer every time I come here. As I walk down this empty bridge, void of life, I see a teddy bear sitting on the dash board of a broken down minivan. I smirked at the idea that, that thing existed for only one purpose;to be loved. So many people in this city wish for that more than anything else. Yet here, on a forgotten road, lays a stuffed bear that has received more love than the inhabitants of Hollow Bastion put together. Although, in the end, it wound up just like the rest of us,;alone.
I'm not that far away now. You see, I learned to remember certain land marks to help me know how far away I am from the rendezvous point; the green Saturn with the stop sign sticking through the wind shield, the large beam of scrap metal leaning against the bridge into the ocean, and finally, the old billboard advertising ladies night at the Java café lounge. I walk a little slower at this point, for my body always quakes at this juncture. I don't even know why. The man I am meeting isn't particularly scary, but still, there is something unnatural about him. Something my body has caught on to before my mind had.
Up ahead I see the spot. The road ends there, as the mist blocks what seems to be the rest of the world, from Hollow Bastion. I have never been past this spot, in fact, i never even tried. My job is here in this city. The orders are given, and I obey; I never really thought why. By the way, I never told you my name. I'm not being rude, you see, I can't remember my name, or how I got started in this line of business. I figure, it'll all be explained after my job is done, whenever that is. Now I stand here, in front of the wall of mist, and wait. I sit on the trunk of a rusted blue Toyota; maybe the nineties model, and wait. I look up at the hazy sun up above me, its noon. Well at least according to my broken Rolex it is. Here, time doesn't matter; I wear this watch because I feel connected to it, or maybe, just because I like the way it looks.
Minutes turn to hours but still I wait, patiently. Then out of the mist, comes something like a man. He emerges wearing a black suit, white undershirt, red tie, and a black top hat. As he walks with a red, polished cane, his body struggles to keep shape, as if he were made of smoke; but, not like a ghost or anything. This was completely different.
"Do you have it?" he says with an excited look on his face.
"Yea I got it. The girl who gave it to me needed to find her boyfriend, who went missing in the war."
"Good work, hand it over to us and we'll make the necessary adjustments."
I reached into my coat pocket and pull out the golden puzzle piece. "Before I hand this over, who are you, who do you work for, and what are we doing?" I say.
"Too many big questions, I'm afraid. Just stick to the arrangement." He says
I reluctantly toss the puzzle piece at him, as he takes off his hat and catches it. "Why do I listen to you?" I say, as he smiles at me and puts back on his hat. "Can you at least tell me what my name is?"
"How would I know, a thing like that." He says walking back into the mist as I lower my head in disappointment. "Hollow Bastion still holds many pieces. Collect them all and bring them back here. He disappears into the mist as the sky begins to rain and the temperature drops. "Don't spend too much time thinking here. That has always been your problem;Jake." The voice says.
"Oh yes, now I remember, my name is Jake. Jake Streyga" I say to myself walking back.