Disclaimer

I do not own Sin City. It sucks, but I find a way to live with it… mainly by owning Scarlett, Merrick and Lola. They are mine… Apart from Lola, who I stole fair and square from a close friend. Don't sue me… or you'll end up as a pez dispenser 

Sunrise.

The dead tell me this is supposed to signify hope… that there should be a sense of optimism about the new day. The blind must see things differently, I suppose.

The sky is the colour of blood, the world beneath an animal, and I am condemned to watch the movements of its parasites. I am no ghost, and this place is in ruins.

The blood is spreading now, coursing through streets which are little more than extended drains. Someday it will all foam up around them… Someday this whole open sewer will scab over and the vermin will look up with dying eyes. They'll all lift up their heads – the sluts, and the cops; the perverts and the paedos, politicians and hitmen and slender, doe-eyed dancing girls with uzis hidden in those skimpy cowgirl outfits – all the assorted effluence of society, locked in that terrible unity, will lift up their heads and scream.

And I'll look down, like a kid frying ants with a magnifying glass. And as they all drown I'll watch, and I'll laugh.

Don't feel too sorry for them. True, they aren't 'wicked', for that implies a conscious choice to do evil, which is more than these placid, mute imbeciles are capable of. No, these aren't evil-doers, but nevertheless they are condemned to rot in Hades' furnace. They're born into hell, live through it, and, because they never try to change anything, it's where they end up. As for me, I doubt the pearly gates are going to swing open so I can take my place with the saints and martyrs, smiling down on the drug lords who go to confession, and enveloping the blackened souls of mass murderers in blinding light because they mumbled the rosary a few times or spouted a couple 'o garbled "Hail Mary's" (No surprise, then, that everyone in Basin City has their cute little crucifix – religion's great for washing the blood of your hands).

Ah, sorry, I digress… This debased city can't help but make one muse on higher things – stay grounded here and it'll drive you insane – but the distraction has its downsides. I've got to be sharper than the familiar blade tucked in the waistband of these hate-worn dark-denim jeans, which cling like a second skin in the dull damp heat.

Dawn finds me, cheap room in the Old Town, debating whether to change for my victim. This tank top (black, of course, and skin-tight) is heavy with the dull salt of the natural born killer, the rich tang of some anonymous bar or club – thick with tobacco and malt – and the sweeter scent of the face I've just taken off. The mask that pays the bills (I hate her, hate even more lying dormant within her beneath the stale, liquor-tainted breath and bulk that's my bread and butter, but what else can a clever girl do around here?). Her dark lashes and ruby red lips swirl down the drain as I reclaim my battered flesh. My dark black, short (almost androgynous) hair and bloodshot eyes, the red a startling contrast against vibrant green irises and ivory skin. Today all my body wants to do is crawl back beneath those sin-soaked sheets and sleep, and I for one don't blame it, but the predator in me needs to hunt again, to glut herself on the hot, dark blood of her own kind… I resolve to stay as I am for the moment, then treat myself to something new with the dirty money from that other woman's victims and my own enemies, so both it and I come out shiny clean, newborn, ready to be spoiled by the next poor fool who believes they can possess us.

Dull throb in my skull (currently at least 6 sizes too big) from one headache, metallic hum and sharper pulse from another – mommy dearest, on the cell (accursed machine! I hate being so contactable, so tangible to other people) – am I well (in body, at least), when am I coming home (never), I don't sound good (true, honey, your daughter's an evil bitch) and should get more sleep (no arguments on that account). In the end I hang up, bored silly with enquiries and admonitions, and smash the damn thing before it rings again. The folks back home will hate that – what will poor helpless little Scarlett do now, should she stray into trouble (as fear not but she shall, if only to break the interminable tedium)? I laugh in spite of myself – she'd no doubt call for help on her attacker's exquisitely small and ridiculously expensive mobile phone, but only after ringing his wife so she can tell the kids daddy isn't coming back.

I don't know if this one has a wife. I don't even know who he is yet, this maggot set to squirm on my glinting hook. In Kadie's I muse, using the dark surface of my breakfast (double rum, neat, and like fire trickling down my throat) as a scrying glass – smoky ambrosia, tell me; dark hair, or blonde? Blue eyes? Or will I choose him another way – what he drinks, whether I like his coat, if his top shirt button is undone or his collar turned up?

Will I decide not to bother? Unthinkable, poor darling (who ever you are), don't you know that killing is one of the few passions left to me? I drink deep of another, as a third sets the door swinging; flame haired, and dressed like a charcoal sketch. Sweet peach of a woman, my Merrick, and perfect antidote to the dead meat of my twilight hours. Meat whose deadened eyes can't help but track her, and I grin to myself because I know she cares none for their kind.

"Before we start" – voice like whisky, smoky and mellow – "I got you these". Merrick fishes in her bag (grey, leather, impractically small) and pulls out a medical canister, shining tobacco-stained beige. The label flaunts a long word with too many consonants to pronounce, typed in unexceptional block capitals, inside small white pills and the scent of living death. She's got them off an ex – her perk for not telling Mr. Psychiatrist his wife (Claire, I think) doesn't like men – and wants me to try them. I smile when she says she's worried about my "antisocial tendencies", and promise to take them because I don't want her to be scared, can't stand to see tears in those coffee-cream orbs. Hers is an odd beauty, but compelling and arresting nonetheless, and I'm aching to get away from these great lumbering Neanderthals so we can be ourselves.

Only we're never ourselves. I don't know who she is, outside of here, why she feels the need to embrace this city when she's probably got a perfect life somewhere else. And she doesn't even know my real name, thinks I'm Cassie, that I work as a waitress. Still, I guess it doesn't really matter – we all need our dreams, right? That's why girls like the one who lives in my head, rules the night-shift, are never out of business – because the sad apes who shuffle through our doorways want to believe they can be loved, that the problem lies with whoever they're pretending we are, that they could have her if they wanted… Sure. Dreams are what keep people like us going.

What's next I miss, attention commandeered by a fake-pearl and fishnet flapper girl whose hazy attempt to fly off the stage leaves her sprawled on the floorboards at the feet of a less than appreciative crowd. Poor silly little rich kid, her breath a riot of grossly exotic apple-flavoured shit that brats like her favour, thinking themselves gloriously debauched for sinking syrupy shots in the back of daddy's limo. I don't know how Lola (Barbed-wire princess from Boston) ended up working the day shift (pickings notoriously slim) at Kadie's, have no intention of finding out, and would laugh if I was more drunk or she less pathetic.