It had been a month since she left home and Phoebe was beginning to lose hope of ever feeling warm again. The winter of New York was unforgiving and no one seemed to want to spare a glance at the girl with the messy hair and hollowed out eyes.
She wouldn't blame them for thinking she was going to spend them on drugs. She had always wanted to look different from Ursula, but not like seemed to have aged more in one month than most people did in years.
She was becoming starving and she could feel her body getting weaker each day. Whilst she had full access to water, it wasn't always clean and she wasn't sure how safe it was to drink.
Phoebe didn't regret her decision though. Anything had to be better than living in foster care. Even if she had a warm bed and food, it wasn't worth losing what little life she had left in her.
Phoebe spent most of her days walking up and down the narrow streets in an desperate effort to get warm. She would go into shops and stay in them as long as possible before she started getting odd looks, but when they closed for the night she was forced to stay anywhere she could find. Most nights she would only get a few hours sleep before being harassed by a cop or some drunk.
Very quickly, she realised that if no one would give her money she would have to take it herself. She went to the only place she could think of where everyone would be too weak to defend themselves- even against her. The comic book shop.
She picked up a stray pipe with trembling hands and held it tightly. It was too heavy for her but she was desperate. The place wasn't busy, but it was a whole hour before it was deserted by everyone except one.
A boy, maybe the same age as her or a few years younger. He had dark hair and a dreamy smile but what really caught Phoebe's eye was his backpack. It was so full it had what seemed to be a magazine sticking out of it. Maybe, even if he didn't have much money there would be something she could sell.
She really didn't want to do this. It wasn't fair on him or her but she was starving. He would get over it. His clothes were better than most of the kids at her old school and he looked happy and healthy.
Swallowing the unreasonable anger she went over to him. At first he didn't notice her, too caught up in his own world. Holding the pipe in one hand, trying not to let her arm drag, she grabbed his ear and squeezed.
"Give me your money, punk!" She said, trying to make herself look as ferocious as possible. He looked absolutely terrified, as he handed her his backpack, his hands were shaking. She dropped the pipe she was holding and legged it, trying to stop the urge to cry.
She sat on the steps of the library, too nervous to actually go inside. She had seen countless homeless people like herself forcibly dispelled and she wasn't eager to be the next.
In her hands was the backpack, her sickly prize. On the front was a too cheery sticker with the words 'Geology rocks' in bold writing.
Hands shaking, due undid the zip. There was something that looked like a hand drawn comic book but she ignored it. Instead she took out the money.
To some, it wouldn't be much, 50 dollars, but she'd never had so much money in her life. Instantly, Phoebe began planning what she'd buy with it: A guitar, some school books, a warmer coat, before the more rational part of her brain came out. This would last her several months if she only bought cheap food, possibly more if she only got things that were reduced.
She stuffed the money in her pocket and continued looking in the bag. There was a half filled water bottle which she downed in little more than seconds. It may have been slightly unsanitary but Phoebe was beyond the point of caring.
She took the comic book in her hands and began to read through it. Despite the boy being possibly younger than her, she didn't understand all the scientific terms.
Taking a deep breath she walked into the library, keeping her head down and to the science section. She opened up a book amd began to read through it.
"Do you have any cigarettes?"
Phoebe looked up from her shop doorway to see a large pale man standing above her. She shut her mouth tight and glared.
"I said, do you have any cigarettes?"
He looked as if he was about to get violent so she quickly shook her head.
"Okay cool!" He said, his mood rapidly changing.
Having grown up with people who would do this constantly, Phoebe just smiled at him, albeit nervously.
"Do you want to have a cigarette?"
Again, Phoebe shook her head, hoping he would just leave her alone. Instead, he just sat down. "Imma stick with you until my job starts!" He said. "I clean windshields."
Phoebe wasn't sure what to say, but the man seemed as if he wasn't going to kill her, and by the looks of his skinny wrists, even if he was, she could take him.
Besides, she was a social person by nature and it was nice to have company.
If anyone has any constructive feedback, it would be really appreciated. Any comments would be to be honest. I'm lonely and hopeless and desperate for love.