A fire was burning, illuminating the room in its orange glow of comfort in warmth in stark contrast to the outside world of which one could see through the windows. A gentle snow could be seen through the glass, but the frosted appearance made it abundantly clear that it wasn't inviting. The soft illumination gave way to a very opulent appearing room. Nice paintings hung from the walls with fancy mirrors, and the curtains were to die for. The walls, the floor, the door, all redwood and varnished. The furniture looked especially expensive, with foreign couches of some kind of ornate fabric littered the room, redwood tables holding tasteful lamps. An attractive, thin woman could be seen to be lounging on one of the couches, eating something. She would pick up a sample from a mound of golden orbs (neatly stacked, mind you) to unravel it slowly and sumptuously, bringing it to her ruby lips and gingerly taking a bite. It appeared as if whatever it what was might have been the pinnacle of man. Her shadowed eyes made love to the camera as her lips came together and white text appeared to the viewer.
Many screens of varying sizes displayed it at once through the glass of a store window. The world the televisions were facing was in stark contrast of the one inside of them. The buildings were grey and none too luxurious. A pale kind of color looked slapped everywhere, and it appeared as if God needed to desperately turn up the gamma on his own set. The snow definitely wasn't as it was in the TV either, piled up in small hills on the side of the streets filled with slush. A light dusting lined the sidewalk, just enough to make walking a hassle. What was most likely the worst part was the wind that would rip through every now and again and slice you down to the bone with its chill. Nevertheless the streets were bustling with activity, everyone looking equally miserable to be there. In and out of storefronts went the people, some into the myriad apartment complex, but all of them doing something. Not even the forced trees made it look a bit natural. Misery in its finest. Welcome to Chicago.
An ashy, sullen face could be seen in the reflection of the window, almost as pale as the snow. It was a young woman that probably could have been pretty without the dirt and obvious lack of energy that could be written in her green eyes of a dull emerald. Greasy bleach blonde hair jutted out from a filthy knit cap and fell where it may. In fact, this woman looked filthy all over. Her shabby coat was much too big and looked dirty and old. The gloves on her hands had holes in them, and not the hipster-without-finger holes. Just normal I've-had-these-forever holes. A pair of baggy jeans hung down from the coat, holes in them betraying the season. An ancient pair of boots collected at the bottom of those jeans, probably the nicest looking part of her attire. As Hope Thomas brought her coffee up for a sip, so did the woman in the window. Life in Chicago had been hard for her. When she arrived almost half a year ago, she was full of life and energy and spunk. But finding work was hard. Then finding a place to live was hard. Now finding a place to sleep is hard. The coffee she was drinking wasn't even hers, she picked it up off a bench as an inattentive college kid was playing with his phone. It tasted good, not as warm as she liked, but good. The milk in the coffee suppressed her stomach from crying at least. As much as she wanted to stay and wish for the TV to suck her inside and let her eat expensive chocolate for all eternity, she had to leave.
Most of the time Hope didn't have anything to do, and that was torture in and of itself. One of the things you don't realize about being homeless is that you have nowhere to be and often nothing to do. Panhandling could only get you so far. Which is why Hope did the smart thing and chose crime. The rich assholes that roamed the streets of the shopping district, spending gobs of cash would rarely feel it if you just so "happened" to bump into them and their unnecessary iPhone just "fell out" of their pocket. That was her bread and butter, quite literally. But she had one now. It was locked, but it was hers. She knew a guy who would unlock it and buy it off of her for a fair price. The iPhone 5 fetched a bit more than older models, so despite her sad expression she had something to look forward to other than the cold. They called him Cap'n because he always wore a cap'n sunglasses, and he usually liked to hang out near West Lake Street by the park. That was probably a good 3 hours walk from where she was. A short flight, but a good walk. Hope wanted to walk. Not because it was easier, or she felt like it, but because there were more idiots with iPhones around. That and the McDonald's was on the way. She could probably scrounge up enough change for a McMuffin or something. Hope sighed and jammed her hands into her pockets, walking with her head down. Just 3 more hours. 3 more hours until she could go buy more cigarettes...