Before anyone heard anything about demihumans, a young girl wandered the streets of 2005 Detroit. She looked barely twelve, with long, uncut brown hair that was a mass of tangles. Her eyes were also brown, and so were most of her clothes– from the vest that hung off one shoulder and hid nothing of her ribs, to the tied curtain around her waist. Her feet were bare and dirty, and her clothes, if they could be called that, were badly stained.
She glared at the world as she walked further and further from the residential or commercial areas– the places more safe this area full of warehouses and the stink of industrial decay. Unused factories sat rusting, unused since the economic crash sent Michigan into a downward spiral of lost jobs and evacuation. People left the state to get jobs in the automotive industry, and to get jobs in any industry.
Only the uninteresting cereal companies seemed untouched; nobody heard about cereal layoffs.
The girl finally stopped at the largest factory. It looked partway gutted, and most of the windows were broken. Long stalks of grass, each topped by seeds, waved freely in the light autumn breeze, and the girl looked up at the building when she reached the large double-doors, then grabbed one handle and pulled with a grunt. Her thin fingers were fragile against the oxidized door handle, and the pitted texture dug at her calloused hands as it slowly screamed open, and she entered the broken building.
When morning came, chill and frosty, the girl exited the towering relic of an age passed and began to walk again. She walked through the streets, ignoring the shouts of the various men who were already drunk– or perhaps never stopped being drunk. Their cries of “Hey whitey!” and “I’d do you if you were older!” failed to draw her attention, and she walked past them.
One man rose to follow her. He was dark and muscular, with tight cornrows that clung to his head. Like several of the other men–black, white, latino, and more– along the road, he reeked of alcohol and rotting tuna. With shaking, drunken hands he reached for the girl, and his seeking hand wrapped around her hair. “What’s your hurry, little girl?” was his intended greeting, though it came out slurred and shouted.
The girl stopped and turned, a small frown on her young face. “Let me go, you drunken, inbred, flea-scarfing cracker.” She raised a hand to her chest, and as she thrust it toward him, a black megaphone appeared in her hand in a sizzle of sparks.
“Cracker? You calling me cracker, baby doll?” The man pulled her closer. “I’m black, you little shit.”
“I can’t tell. You’re as drunk as any other man of any other color. Let me go, you piss-soggy ritz!”
“Shit!” The man laughed and let go. “You’re a funny one!” He pushed her lightly. “Get goin.”
The girl glared a moment, then turned and continued on her way. “Asshole.” Her bare feet trod over the asphalt as she made her way closer and closer to the nearest corner store several blocks away. There were a few things she needed– specifically food.