World’s End. That is our street. Hood was what we called it. It was ours as we were its.
We fought for it when the Nethers came to peddle their whore filth and crack. We lost good men in the war. Our Hood fought for us when a shard of broken bottle in one of its potholes burst the tire of Nethers boss’s car as he sped to overrun our men. The car overturned and stopped at the foot of the temple’s Cross, and we lit it up amidst chants of joy. Nethers soldiers saw this and scampered, their filth and drugs with them. Fuckin’ Nethers.
The Zephyrs came the following winter, bringing booze and tabacco. We found them one by one and burned them in the bonfire we made at Coco’s derelict warehouse. We kept their ashes in the temple for seven winters to silence their ghosts.
For seven winters, our Hood was clean and free. Though we were still hungry and sick, and our homes still leaked when it rained, but we knew our Hood was proud us, and that was all that mattered.
Our Hood never needed help from anyone. Not from the Nethers nor the Zephyrs, nor from the Bearded Nuts before them, who came bringing big Bibles and spraying their sputum and Salvation on our shut doors.
A storm came in the eight winter and took all the houses on one side of our Hood, where the temple stood. We found the jars with the ashes broken, all hundred of them, the ashes sailing around us, freed by the storm.
The summer after came with the Big Men in long, sleek cars. They brought nothing to our Hood. Only the big words they spoke around the fat cigars that never left their mouths.
They pleaded to be a part of our hood, to live and die for it. Like us. So, they came one by one and rebuilt the dead side with fancy houses and big factories with tall chimneys
This is the twelfth summer since they came. We are no longer hungry nor sick and our roofs no longer leak. Sometimes when it rains, our roofs blacken. We do not know if it is the ashes of Zephyr’s men or a sign that our Hood is no longer ours. What we do know is that, the day the Big Men came to live with us, our world ended.