Story by Devfina on SoFurry

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The droplets kept coming, drip...drip...drip....its annoying but I don't feel the need to move anywhere. Yesterday was tiring, running from the cops probably wasn't such a bright idea when you sprained your ankle the previous day. Sigh ....I should look around for some sort of duck tape or gum to seal that annoying leak in the pipe. Sitting up, I look around the dimly lit room. The only illumination coming from the small window at the top of the wall opposite me. It looks to be around 8 in the morning, judging by the light streaming in and the constant clattering of shoes and paws walking passed, disrupting the path of the light. I looked around my surrounding, four grey walls, streaked with mold where the pipe leaked. A rotting wooden shelve I shoved to block the doorway in case of intruders. Not that it mattered, anyone can easily break down that shelve and charge in if they wanted to. Of course no one would do such a thing. No one lived in this building for the past 10 years. Let alone come hunting for a runaway. I stood up and fold the thick fabric I found in a dumpster two nights ago. It was not a mattress but it was something. Looks like another day of prowling the streets for ignorant and oblivious tourists who are stupid enough to leave their wallets or communicators in shallow, easy to reach pockets. I tried to make a decent living, offered to show them around. But no one would pay a child any head and usually just ask me to help them take a photo. Looking into the piece of metal I use as a mirror, I smoothed my head fur and adjust my clothes. My hoodie was a little crumpled but otherwise it was fairly decent. I had it since I turned 11 last year. It was a gift from the orphanage that I spent some time in. It wasn't an expensive hoodie, it wasn't even brand new. Someone donated it and they though I would grow into it someday. Back there, they expect every children to grow into their clothes. We had to take good care of our clothes and learnt to patch them when there were holes. The people that ran that place always said that clothes were only as good as they are necessary. There was no reason to keep buying new ones when we can wear them for a long time if we learnt to take good care of them. I rolled the sleeves up to my forearm and adjust the hood. I hated that place. I hated every single orphanage that I was put into. Some kids grow into the orphanages and some get adopted really quick. Well, its been 11 years and I have yet to be adopted. I gave up hope a long time ago and I believe the people that worked there too. No one wants "a rebellious, good for nothing mutt" they always say. I guess they were right. I chuckled at that thought. Since no one would adopt me and they were bound to kick me out after I turn a certain age, I might as well leave first. At least, I get to leave on my own terms. I took a whiff of my pits, probably should head over to the local pool to take a bath. I love community pools, they are meant for the people to enjoy but they are also where all the district homeless go for a free bath. Honestly, those with a house would rather head over to their neighborhood pools instead. They pay a fee but its cleaner and rid of free loafers of society. My tummy made that noise that I really dislike. I wish I could program my brain to know that food is not going to happen anytime soon because I do not have the money. I lost whatever I made yesterday while running from the cops. Carelessness only meant you do not get breakfast in my line of work. I picked up the cup I left on the ground to collect the water from other areas of the dripping pipe and took a sip. One thing great about this city was that water was always clean and drinkable. That will have to do till I can get my day's work done. Its the weekend, hopefully I can get some cash before noon and maybe a slice of bread. If I am lucky, the baker might not be looking and I could get a free lunch! Gotta save for the ship that would take me away from this city. As much as I think this is a real nice place to stay, word on the street is that if you can make it to this island half way around the world, you can get shelter and meals in exchange for work done. Although there was no specificity about what work was to be done, the fact that there was no age limit meant that I can maybe, just maybe, see my 13th birthday. I walked the streets as casually as I can. trying to pick out the easiest target I can find. I needed someone who cant give chase if they caught me. Sprained ankle and running had shown to be a bad combination. Every developed cities have their fair share of overweight people and I am sure any moment now, I will be able to find one that will provide me with lunch money. Preferably a tourist because they usually carry large amount of local currency in their wallets. They usually aren't hard to spot. You can literally smell a tourist. Its as if when you go to another country as a tourist, you gain this magical tourist scent that shop vendors, street lurkers and the likes can pick up and prey on. They also usually stick out like a sore thumb. The clothes they wore to the bags they carried usually would stand out from the local population. I wondered around for about an hour before I spotted the round bellied Human man that radiated that tourist aura. He wore a simple tee shirt that barely stretched over his belly and a pair of cargo berms that I wished I had a pair of. They had a lot of pockets that I could put my tools in. I watched him from a far and waited for my opportunity. I spot it the moment he entered a crowded alley lined with carts and vendors hollering their wares. Moving as fast as my wounded leg would allow me, I moved towards the alley and weaved among the people, closing the distance between my target and I In a matter of minutes. Sometimes, I am glad that I wasn't big in size. Thank you malnutrition and older kids who always stole my food. I calmed down and casually walked up next to the man and bumped into him. I slipped my paw into his pocket and slipped out his wallet. At that moment he turned and look over me. Ah, being short had its perks. I took the opportunity to slip away among the crowd and made my way to the fountain I knew was around the block. Looks like lunch and dinner was taken care of, the wallet felt substantial in my hoodie pocket as I skid left and right to avoid the traffic. Motorist are idiots, trying to drive their motorcycles among this crowd. I sniffed the air and picked up the scent of freshly baked bread. Looking around, I spot a bakery not far away. I made my way there and pushed open the doors to enter. The scent was so overwhelmingly delicious. My tummy grumbled at that scent. The bakery was oddly packed. Its either they have really nice bread of the store floor wasn't really big. Maybe a combination of both. I shuffled around the shelves and pocket a few small buns before heading to the door. As I was pushing the door to leave, I heard from behind me, "Hey kid! I saw you took those buns without paying!" Shit! I pushed the door and hobbled out onto the busy streets and made a mad dash away from the bakery. I didn't care who was it that called me out. I just knew that I had to run. I turned a corner and waited behind a dumpster. After a while, sure that no one was going to find me, I pull my hood over my head and walked out from my hiding spot. I made my way to the the abandoned building I now made into my home. After pushing the shelve back into place, in front of the stairway, I took out the buns and started to munch on them. They were beat up but edible. In fact, they were rather tasty. But dam, I wouldn't be able to return there. I was on my third bun when I heard someone knocked on the shelve and the next thing I knew, the shelve was blown apart and the whole room was filled with smoke. Men in combat gear rushed in and formed a semi circle around the entrance. I covered my eyes and clam my muzzle shut. Dam it all this for some buns? Are you kidding me? "HANDS UP WHERE WE CAN SEE THEM!" one of them shouted. I did as I was told. "I didn't mean to steal the buns!" I managed to reply as men surround me pointing their weapons. Some was searching the room, looking for something it seems. "Where are the others?" The one who shouted at me to put my hands up asked me. "I am not saying another word without a lawyer. I know my rights." With that, I clam my muzzle shut and kept quiet. Those searching the room were tapping on the walls as if they may find some hidden door. What do they expect of me, hide buns everywhere? Sigh. I sat and wait in one of their interrogations room with nothing but a glass of soft drink. Soft drinks were an upgrade to what I have had the past few weeks so I ain't complaining. There was no two way mirror in this room because why would they need one? Unlike most of the interrogation room that I saw on TV, this was entirely made of glass. The room itself was fitted in the middle of a larger room where many officers seems to sit around and working. A show of wealth and power maybe? Arrogance, that's the fall of any sentient, disregarding their species. Canine, feline or humans, they are all the same, coveting wealth and showing them off in an act of arrogance. I cannot understand these people. All I want is to get by, a roof over my head and food in my stomach. I mean where else can you possibly bring your money too after you die right? But then many would say I am young and do not understand how the world works. Ya, they are probably right. I do not understand it at all. Maybe the room was designed to intimidate the people they are going to interrogate. I don't know. I do not feel intimidated at all. A couple of the officers in suits stood outside my cell and was looking over some sheets of papers and occasionally pointing at me. I smiled and waved back to which they frowned and continued with their study of those sheets of papers. How rude. Not long after, a middle age lady, a little on the plump side, walked into the larger room with another male. The lady was Human while the man was a Tiger. Of course a Tiger, they seem to love being in the profession of enforcing the law, along with the Lions. I rolled my eyes thinking how stereotypical these people are and took a sip from my glass. The two entered the glass cell and the lady took a seat to my left while the Tiger took a seat opposite me. The lady proceed to introduce herself to me. I nodded and just kept quiet while she address the man. She was state appointed and would be representing me. They went on to talk about the legal matters pertaining to the matter at hand and the man left after a moment and the lady started asking me questions. I told her everything I knew. Apparently, the man I picked pocketed from was an undercover cop. They were trying to crack down on a syndicate movement that use children to steal money from tourists. I told the lady everything I knew and that I have never heard of something like that. She seem to believe me which was good because I did not want to end up in some home for something I never do or am a part of. When the man return, they had a heated discussion about my involvement in such a syndicate. They were almost shouting at one another when a knock came and a Retriever entered with a stack of papers which she handed to the Tiger. After a moment of looking at the papers, the Tiger nodded towards the door and the lady went out with them. From my seat, I could see that they carried their discussion outside the cell and soon the Tiger and the Retriever walked away. "You are free to go but because you did picked someone's pocket and steal from a bakery, you will have to go through counseling and stay in a home for juvenile delinquent until your counselor deems you fit to leave where you will then be send to an orphanage." She told me as an officer took my prints. I nodded obediently because I know that any argument or hint of rebellion and they will put me in cuffs. Worst, they might tag me. They tag their most dangerous criminals. Its a topic that's always up for debate in the public sphere but I think its good. Because I don't want to be sleeping under some bridge and have some crazy lunatic kill me in the middle of the night. But I don't want to be tag either. Not so much because I don't have freedom as many would argue but more of because easier to get jobs when one is not tagged. Sometimes, I work for the gangs, minor hacking and such and they usually don't hire those who are tagged because it can put their whole operation at risk. They pay good money and I want their money. The lady took my hand and led me to the elevator that would take us down to the first floor. She was going to drive me to the home herself. I played the pitiful and remorseful card and kept alerted for moments that I could escape. Being in a home is nice and all because of the food and shelter. But there are bigger and more terrifying kids in these homes. I am not made to handle such people. She led me to her car which was parked about a block away and I knew this would be my chance to escape. She opened the door and I got in, as she was about to close the door, I pushed on the door hard. She stumbled backwards, lost her balance and fell to the ground. I got out of the car and made a run for it, turning back only once to shout an apology before running for my life down the streets. As it was in the evening where most people finished work, there were many bodies moving around on the streets and in no time at all, I was lost among the crowd.

I can no longer return to the building I woke up in this morning. I decided to make my way down to the docks where there were many warehouses. I knew a few that were abandoned and scheduled for demolition next week. But tonight, tonight one of this warehouses will serve as my bed. Tomorrow I will go and look for another hole to live in. I took out the money that I had slipped out the wallet on the way to the police station before returning them the wallet and counted them out. It wasn't a lot but there were enough for food for a couple of days. If I am lucky, dinner will be free tomorrow.   ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Thank you for reading this short snippet into Rei's life. Next chapter would be a snippet into Lev's life. As mentioned in the description, all these snippets happened before the events of Home. These snippets are a way to help readers understand a little more about the character. Future snippets would revolve around characters that are either slowly introduced into Home or characters that are tied to this Universe but are to be introduce in other future books. If you enjoy this chapter, please consider giving this a vote. Constructive criticism and comments are welcome! :D

Chapter 3

It was near dusk when we made our way back to the apartment. I honestly have no idea why I did not drive to the electronics store. climbing uphill with four bags of tech stuff was not how I envisioned I would spend my Saturday afternoon. Rei had...

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Chapter 2

We left for the café after changing. Rei came down dressed in the same kind of garb I saw him wore when we first met, a pair of jeans and a tee shirt with a slightly oversized hoodie. The hoodie bare my division's emblem on it and was originally mine....

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