As the sun set, twilight enveloped the city in its embrace.
The occasional chirp of a bird or rustle of the wind broke the stillness as if nature itself was awed by the beauty of the moment.
The shadows from the buildings seemed to extend endlessly, deepening the already gloomy sky.
When midnight arrived, the moon was visible among the stars in the night sky, while chilly gusts blew on the streets with very few people around, and most stores had closed for the night.
The dimmed streetlights flickered faintly, making it hard to see objects from a distance.
Suddenly, the sound of a loud barking dog echoed through the emptiness, growing louder and louder with each passing moment.
From time to time, some cars were passing through the road.
Amid this, a man was stumbling along the quiet street alone. Like the moon among stars, he stuck out like a sore thumb.
He had the appearance of a young man who had only recently begun to lead an adult life, someone who could support his nation by paying taxes one day.
Although he didn't look very handsome, he wasn't some average guy either. He might look good if he took care of his body and appearance.
However, heavy dark circles under his eyes on his face made him look tired and worn out. It was evident - he had not slept enough.
One could tell from his attire and appearance that he just left his workplace or company after finishing his work there.
With a quick glance, he attempted to decipher the hour and minute hands, but to his dismay, they seemed to be frozen in one place.
No matter how hard he tried to shake it or press the buttons, the watch remained stubbornly stuck at one particular moment.
'Useless.' He muttered underneath.
As he pulled out his smartphone to check the time, the bright screen displayed the digital clock indicating - [12:17 AM].
He checked his schedule for the day and breathed a sigh of relief as he realized he had no pressing appointments for the morning.
"From tomorrow, my vacation will start." As he remembered that, he smiled.
It may look amusing as a twenty-five-year-old man was smirking at the thought of getting a vacation.
At that moment, his phone began to ring, and the sound of a familiar song filled the air. "If I die young, bury me in the sand..." He quickly retrieved his phone from his pocket and answered the call.
"Hello, Boss," he said politely, anticipating the reason for the call.
"Hello, Rain. The thing is..." the voice on the other end trailed off, and Rain's heart raced as he waited for the news.
As he listened to his boss's words, a grin spread across his face. "Thank you, Boss."
Soon after, Rain's boss hung up, 'I can't believe it. I'm finally getting a vacation, and even better, the Black company is sponsoring it,' Rain thought, feeling like he was on cloud nine.
After all, he was just an ordinary employee in a Black company, which made him work till late at night.
Soon, he heard his phone buzzing, indicating that he had received numerous notifications. He checked his phone and saw - many messages had flooded his company's group chat.
As he read through the conversation of his colleagues, he couldn't help but smile bitterly. "How lucky they are to have families," Rain didn't have anyone he could call his family.
He was just an orphan - raised in an orphanage.
He shook his head, a faint smile playing on his lips as he focused on the good news - his company sponsored a vacation for all employees. Even though he would be going alone, he was happy at the prospect of taking some time off work and relaxing.
As Rain scrolled through the messages in the company group chat, his brows furrowed. Everyone was making enthusiastic plans with their friends. He sighed softly, and muttered to himself, "Friends, huh."
He tried to recall if he had anyone he could genuinely call his friends. His gaze wandered, and his shoulders slumped as he couldn't remember anyone in particular.
Although he had many acquaintances, he was unsure whether he could call them friends or not.
After receiving his university degree, Rain joined this company. However, this company was a firm that grinds you to death.
Still, Rain didn't have any other options. After graduation, he applied to many companies for the job - however, he was rejected by most of them because of a lack of "experience" and "connections."
Rain doubted - he would be able to find employment anywhere that would pay him as much as this company did.
He lived his life juggling between work and hobbies.
Most of his time was spent at work, making it difficult for him to indulge in his interests. It was a typical case of working for a black company.
Every morning, he had to wake up early and rush through his morning routine to get ready for work.
Rain noticed the bus leaving the station just as he was approaching it. "Oh, damn!" he exclaimed, realizing he was going to miss the last bus.
Without thinking twice, he put his phone in the pocket of his trousers and started running after the bus.
Rain was not a runner - he couldn't even remember the last time he ran this fast. His legs were flailing around, his arms were swinging wildly, and he looked like a person possessed. 'I must catch that bus.' He ran at full speed.
As he was just close to his bus, he nearly tripped. He tried to control himself to not fall face-first on the road.
However, he missed the bus.
Feeling dejected, Rain watched the bus disappear into the distance. "Why me?" he sighed, knowing he had to take a taxi now. He couldn't help but chuckle at how ridiculous he must have looked while running after the bus.
Since his home was quite far from his workplace, he had to take a bus to get there.
However, after missing the bus sometimes, it becomes unpleasant as he has to take a taxi instead.
Rain thought of walking slowly toward his home. In the hope, he might get a taxi while walking.
"I am so tired."
Rain was tired after working. As he was going on vacation from tomorrow, he had to complete his pending work before leaving the company.
It wasn't unusual for him to stay late at work, though.
Despite this, he felt compelled to work as he got a bonus for overtime.
He rarely got any holidays till now.
He wished he had a [girlfriend] to spend his holidays with.
However, he neither had any holidays nor any girlfriend.
Given his limited holiday time, Rain preferred to spend his days off resting at home.
Despite receiving a good salary and bonuses for working overtime, he had to save some of that for future expenses.
The majority of his income was used for living expenses, as renting a room in the city wasn't cheap, and he had to pay various bills at the end of every month.
Traveling was also a significant expense for Rain. While bus fare was his primary mode of transportation, he occasionally had to book a special taxi after leaving the office during overtime, as it would get quite late and he couldn't find any bus at that time.
Food was another essential expense for him. Since he didn't have the time to cook, he mainly relied on fast food and instant noodles to survive.
The list of his expenses was quite long, and he had only one source of income to manage various needs.
Rain's life was monotonous and didn't seem to change anytime soon. He tried to change it, but unfortunately, he failed miserably.
He had attempted to find a good place near the company, but it was of no avail.
He also thought of buying a vehicle, but cheap ones weren't good, and he couldn't afford the better ones. Hence, he put a hold on that and started saving money for it.
Although he learned cooking, after coming late from work, he barely had any energy to do anything else.
As Rain walked down the street, he noticed that he was the only person around. The emptiness of the street was reminiscent of his life, which lacked the presence of family, friends, and a girlfriend.
During his childhood, he did chores in an orphanage. Throughout his adolescence, he worked part-time jobs while pursuing his studies.
Now, he was investing his youth in employment with a black company.
As he walked further, he felt the weight on his shoulders increasing.
'I'm always busy, never getting any rest,' he lamented. 'In the 25 years of my life, I have just worked to live peacefully, but I don't know when I will finally get some rest.'
He shrugged his shoulders, feeling exhausted. 'All I want is to sleep,' he sighed.
'I just want to lie down on my bed without any worries. After all, I also have to get up early tomorrow morning, so I can catch up with everyone in the company.'
Rain had to get up early the next morning because his colleagues decided to go together on vacation, and they were going to meet in the early morning the next day, near the railway station.
As Rain walked alone on the street at late night, the cool air seemed to embrace him, making him shiver slightly.
The dim streetlights flickered, casting an eerie glow on the pavement, and the occasional gust of wind sent leaves rustling across the ground.
Suddenly, Rain heard a loud rumble and turned to see a massive truck hurtling toward him.
Its headlights shone like two blinding orbs, illuminating the darkness ahead. Rain's heart leaped into his throat as he realized the truck wasn't slowing down.
Then, the sound of a horn came to his ears.
Rain felt increasingly annoyed by the persistent noise.
'Oh, it's a truck after all. But why is it heading in my direction? And why is the driver only honking his horn?' Rain's confusion grew.
Time seemed to slow down, each second stretching long as Rain watched helplessly. The sound of his heart beating resonated in his ears as the truck neared, his own demise looming. His body remained frozen in place; his legs wouldn't budge.
The screech of tires on the asphalt filled his ears, and the wind brushed past him. Before he could register the impact of his body colliding with the truck's front, he was already flying through the air, limbs twisting, and blood flowing from his wounds.
'I guess I might not make it. That driver should have hit the brakes, or maybe the brakes weren't working? Still, it's partially his fault.'
'Will this truck take me to the afterlife like in those fantasy novels?' Rain wondered, his mind drifting to other thoughts.
Neither the pain nor his impending death seemed to matter. 'I hope the authorities revoke his license,' Rain thought nonchalantly. He didn't want anyone else to suffer a similar accident.
'Will I be transported to a fantastical setting, like in those novels, and become the main character?' Rain's thoughts shifted again. He started to wonder, for all the times he had imagined his death, it never looked like this. 'Well, I never thought about it much, so I don't know what to imagine.'
'Fantasy? Urban? Inter-galactic? Wuxia? I might even get reincarnated.'
No, only his imagination was running wild.
Rain couldn't help but chuckle. There was no way real life could ever resemble the fantastical worlds he'd read about.
'My monotonous life is drawing to a close now. I'll finally be free, won't have to endure any more overwork, and no one will boss me around. Most importantly, I can rest. All I want to do is sleep.'
With these musings in his mind, Rain descended further towards the ground.