tab I thought it'd be over. The plan was set. All I had to do was follow through.
    tab How wrong I was proven to be.
    tab How'd I end up in this taxi? A week's story that felt so short...and yet so long. Maybe it was the plan...Maybe the plan was wrong.
    tab I couldn't help but think...that maybe things could've been different. Maybe I could've...changed things. For the better.
    tab I flipped open my cellphone. There was Chad...Smiling in the new renovated kitchen...Not a problem in the world.
    tab I'd like to have shared the same feeling. But, even back then, even when I put on that smile every day for Chad, I knew I couldn't. I couldn't actually be happy. Not after what happened...When I was 15.
    tab "Yo, lady! Somebody in there?" I looked up. The driver, his head turned to me and a cocky smile on his face as if he had just somehow won my interest by driving a couple miles.
    tab "What? We're here already?"
    tab "Sorry, girl. This as far as I go. Those streets, man, it don't matter the money you pay me. I ain't gonna be able to use it if I ain't alive. So, good luck. But that's all I got ta' give." I stepped out of the car, handed the man his money, and he quickly drove off.
    tab The fowl stench of sewers clogged the air as I walked further down the vacant sidewalk. An eerie mood whisped around, freely as the wind on a stormy day. It was the middle of the day, and yet it continued to get darker...and darker. Suddenly, I felt a crunch under my feet, snapping me out of my momentary terror.
    tab I looked down. A brown, paper bag. I picked it up. Inside it was a pile of Lays patato chips. Only they were crumbs now.
    tab "Hey, there! Lady! You got a problem?! You think you so special you can just strut around an' act like nothin's wrong? Like you didn't just step on my lunch?" I looked around. An old, long bearded African American beggar was flailing his arms in the air, walking up to me...closer. Closer.
    tab "You white people think you all high and mighty...You think you got it all goin', don't you, princess?!"
    tab "I didn't mean to..." He grabbed me very suddenly by the neck, cutting my sentence to a quick close. The tension against my neck...I hadn't felt so much pain since...
    tab "How you feel now, girly?! You feel all high and mighty still?! Huh?!" He cackled, and then started pressing harder. Breathing started to hurt more and more after every second. My skin was starting to become pale. The man's face started to fade into a blury mess...
    tab "Put the girl down, Ted." A voice. From behind me. Talk about great timing. A burst of hope boiled within me.
    tab And then it quickly faded away, as he didn't put me down. On the contrary, he squeezed harder.
    tab "Ted...I'm warning you...Put her down."
    tab "Yeah?" Ted retorted with a stuck up attitude stirring around him. "And what you gonna do about it if I don't, Matt? What you gonna do?" Matt? Could it be coincidence?
    tab "Let's hope that you won't have to come to know that."
    tab "Oh yeah? I'm a curious guy. Give me your best shot."
    tab "Oh, what an ironic pun." It was as if the Earth moved in still pictures for those next moments. A loud, echoing crack. Ted, his eyes rolled back. Him on the ground. And then me collapsing down with him.
    tab I looked up. A man. Black suit. Gray, crudely brushed back hair...
    tab "You...Are you...him?" A confused face was the last thing I saw before I drifted off into unconsciousness.
    tab Downtown Detroit. The bad side. Like Hell on Earth.