Hungry

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He sat at a table in the food court of the shopping mall, trying to blend in. Around him, people were talking and eating a range of fast foods and he could smell the hot grease, salt and mixed aromas of meals.

He looked down at his hands and waited. He couldn’t bear to watch people eating or breathe in the smells anymore. His stomach was growling loudly and twinging with pains.

Two young Muslin women at the table next to him got up and left, chattering in a different language.

He eyed their left tray, piled with rubbish. Slowly, he got up, picked up the tray and sat back down with it at his own table.

He had been seen, of course, too many eyes around but he didn’t care.

He opened the first box and saw the remains of chicken thighs inside. He took out a piece and eat what he could, nibbling the bone.

There were no fries, just a pot of gravy. He’d never been a fan and the pot felt cold when he picked it up. Placing it back, he got up and left.

He felt eyes on him once more and questions on lips, but no one stopped him.

I don’t care, he thought.

He walked around the food court. Looking at the rubbish left on the tables. Sometimes he reached out and touched something to see if there was anything left inside. He moved on to more tables, aiming for ones recently left where the food might still be warm. He ate whatever scraps were left trying to hide his actions out of habit but it was still impossible in such a busy place.

He found a quarter of a taco in a discarded wrapper and swallowed it. The cup beside had water from melted ice cubes at the bottom which he gulped down.

He found another table with children’s box meals stacked up. He sat down and looked through each box. He found an unopened bag of fruit and slipped it into his pocket for later. Desperate his starvation now, he knew the important of saving something for another day.

At the bottom of another box was a few cold fries. He ate them then found a small bottle of orange juice with some left inside which he drink.

He felt into other box and pulled out a plastic wrapped toy. He sighed but unwrapped the toy car anyway. He ran the car across the table, remembering another time.

He become aware of two people flanking him. He looked up and saw security guards of the mall staring down at him.

‘You need to leave,’ one of them said.

He thought about arguing; I’m was just sitting here, what’s the harm in that?

There was no point.

He got up and security walked him to the exit only stairs. He knew people were watching and whispering, what had he done?  

I just wanted some food.

He went down the steps and out on to the snowy, icy streets. Snowflakes melted on his warm skin and busy shoppers hurried by eager to get back to their homes.

He hunched his shoulders against the wind and walked back to his things tucked into the doorway of a closed down shop. There he huddled against the cold, abandoned by the world.

(Partly based on a real story).

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Punk #3LineTales

three line tales, week 160: protesters meet riot police

The big wigs said we couldn’t stand up, we were too small and not important but they were wrong because our belief was more then they could ever imagine.

Filling the streets, marching to the beat, demanding voices heard, we were seen as a disturbance, a trouble that needed to be controlled by the blues and yellows with their riot gear.

We didn’t want a fight, we the silent wanted to be come the spoken but emotions ran wild, battles broke out and we lost that day, however people heard our words and we shall come back stronger.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2019/02/21/three-line-tales-week-160/ with thanks).

 

 

Street Ducks

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The streets were cold and wet. Not a place anybody would want to spend the night on. The homeless though had no other place to go.

T settled down in the doorway of what once had been a large Woolworths shop. Somehow, he had remembered that, despite the place being closed and boarded up years ago. Making sure to tuck his sleeping bag in to try and slow the cold from sipping underneath him, T lent back.

The pattering of the rain started to lull him to sleep, but a soft quacking awoke him. T opened his eyes and looked down at the large cardboard box by his feet. One of the two pet ducks inside the box was staring over the top at him with black beedy eyes.

‘There’s no more bread, Petal,’ T said gently.

The duck quacked and retreated back into the box.

T settled down again. He was just falling asleep when the sounds of police sirens cut through the quiet night. T awoke with a start. He looked around and saw a police car and van pulling up on the edge of the street. Uniform officers were getting out and coming towards him.

Sighing, T slowly began gathering his stuff.

‘Just give me a few minutes and I’ll be gone,’ T said as the first police person reached him.

‘It’s not about that,’ the man answered.

T paused and looked up. Rain was dripping off the policeman’s hat and shoulders of his jacket.

‘Do you have any ducks in there?’ the officer asked nodding to the box.

‘Yeah…’ T trailed as five more police people joined the first one.

‘I’m sorry, but we are going to have to remove them from you,’ the policeman said.

‘But why? I’ve done nothing wrong!’ T cried, ‘they were dumped and I’ve been looking after ’em. They is fancy birds, not wild ones. They’re my pets now.’

T reached defensively for the box and placed his head inside. He began stroking the ducks, who eagerly pushed against his hand.

‘There’s be concerns about their health. We have to take them,’ a female officer said.

‘I can look after ’em! I’ve been doing so for the last month,’ T declared, ‘you can’t take ’em there’re my friends.’

‘We have to. They don’t belong to you,’ a second policeman cut in, ‘just hand them over and won’t move you tonight.’

T shook his head, words failing him.

The female officer reached over and patted his arm. She guided T’s hand away from the ducks and before he could reach out again the first policeman had swooped in and picked up the box.

‘What will ya do with ’em?’ T shouted.

‘They will be fine. The RSPCA will look after them. Don’t worry. Why don’t I get you a cup of tea?’

‘Alright,’ T huffed as he watched the policeman hurrying away with his ducks.

The other officers began to disperses.

A sad hole sank into T’s chest that even the warmth of the tea couldn’t fix.

Wall

art, brush, painting

He liked to draw, but only on walls. Early in the morning, before the city fully awoke, he set out with his tools. He walked the almost empty streets where yesterday’s newspaper rustled around lampposts and the air hummed with rotting fast food. Lights on top floors shone out, growing dim as the sun rose higher.

He found his ‘canvas’ on the inside wall of a pedestrian tunnel under a road. Setting his things down, he looked for the best spot to began as he ponder what he would paint today.

Family Secrets (Part 2)

Pedestrian, Walking, Shadow, Night, Evening, Street

It was late when he returned home. She felt her husband getting into bed, but decided to stay quiet. He was soon snoring loudly and after listening for a few moments, she got up and used her phone as a torch. Creeping around the bed, she inspected his clothes which he had abandoned on the floor.

She picked up his trousers and felt through the pockets. They were empty. She sniffed his shirt, trying to pick up a hint of the other woman. It seemed though her husband had been careful. Dropping his clothes, she got back into bed and lay there wondering again before she drifted off to sleep.

The dream she had was only slightly different from one she had many times before. She was following her husband. He was walking quickly down a dark street where the lamps seemed not to be working. There were houses on either side with cars parked out front and the sound of drippy rain. She watched her husband go up to one of the houses and inside.

She stood before the curtain-less window and watched as a light came on displaying a small front living room. There her husband stood holding another woman in his arms and kissing her. She couldn’t make out the other woman as she seemed to be made out of shadows.

She rushed forward, going for the front door but a large black panther jumped in the way. It’s bright eye yellows flashed with anger as it hissed loudly at her. It’s tail swished and it prepared to pounce. She screamed and tumbled back. Instead of hitting the ground though she carried on falling. Her screaming echoed, blocking out all other sounds.

She awoke, rolled over and sat up. The bedroom was still dark, so she turned on the lamp. The dim glow didn’t seem enough to chase away the heavy shadows and she couldn’t help but look around the room for the panther. Taking a few deep breaths, she calmed herself and shook off the dream.

A warm hard touched her shoulder and she cried out.

‘It’s me, are you okay, Em?’

She relaxed and sighed deeply, ‘I’m fine, Rick. Just another bad dream.’

‘Again?’ her husband uttered.

‘I’ve got a lot on my mind, I guess. What time is it?’

Her husband removed his hand and she heard him roll over. At the same time she tried to read the alarm clock. It was almost six in the morning. She sighed and slipped back on to the pillow.

‘Ten to six,’ Rick voiced.

Em hummed and curled up again. She felt her husband shifting behind her and drawing her into a tight hug. He wrapped an arm around her and placed the other underneath her head. He nuzzled into her hair then rested his chin on top of her head.She stayed stiff in his arms, her mind racing.

Did he hold the other woman like this too? she wondered.

Biting her lip, she almost voiced her thoughts. Instead she said, ‘where did you go last night?’

‘What?’ Rick questioned sleepy.

‘I thought you went outside last night,’ she asked, nervously.

‘I didn’t,’ he replied.

Em pressed her lips together, carefully pondering how to rephrase her questioning.

‘You must have heard a neighbor or something,’ Rick suggested.

‘Yes, maybe,’ Em uttered.

She let herself relax, finding joy in the feel of his arms and body against her’s, despite everything. Slowly, she dozed off again.

To Be Continued…

 

Family Secrets (Part 1)

Pedestrian, Walking, Shadow, Night, Evening, Street

She followed him when he left the house, keeping a good distance so he wouldn’t notice. The streetlights shone on the wet pavement making everything glow yellow and there was the drip drop of rain from the roof tops, trees and cars. She slowed her pace feeling her heart racing in her chest, but she had to know who the other woman was.

Her husband paused at the corner of their street and looked both ways. He turned left, not actually crossing the road, but carrying on. She listened to his footsteps then tailed him. He walked to the end of the road, checked both ways again the crossed and rounded a corner.

Seeing him disappeared, she picked up pace and almost got run over by a car she never saw coming out of the darkness. She stumbled on to the pavement and her hands hit the damp surface as the car horn blared behind her. Gasping, she scrambled up and ducked behind someone’s parked car in a driveway.

She peered out, but didn’t see him. Getting up, she tried to follow him again, but she couldn’t spot him. Wandering around only resulted in her walking back home. Sighing, she went inside and sat on the sofa. Crossing her arms and legs, she tried to figure what where he had gone.

Must be somewhere local as he walked, she thought, Or else he was doing that to throw me off. I was so careful though. 

Getting up, she went upstairs and into the spare bedroom. She pulled a small diary out from under the mattress and flipped through the pages. Some of the days were marked with red dots. She turned to today’s date then picked up a red Biro pen from the bedside draw and placed a red dot in the corner.

Flicking backwards, she saw that almost a week ago there was another red dot. Then there was a gap of a two weeks whilst they had been on holiday, but right before their leave day was another dotted date. She carried on for a few moments, trying for the hundredth time to figure the pattern, but there didn’t seem to be one.

She closed the book and decided to root through his study again. Putting the diary back, she got up and went into the next room. It had been awhile since she had been in his writing space. Ignoring the stale smell of sweat, coffee and mints, she turned the light on and began searching through his drawers of his desk. There was nothing but stationary things and a broken mobile phone.

Turning she checked the book shelves which were packed with writing books, mythology books, non-fiction works on a whole range of subjects then a few fiction works that had been well read and written in. His small selection of published books had a high shelf to themselves and she reached up and took them down one by one. Flicking through the pages, she uncovered nothing.

Sliding the last one back, she looked around and tried to see anything that was out of place. Nothing came to note. Making sure everything was tidy, she walked out and searched their bedroom. Though the idea of him hiding the mystery woman’s details in their marital bed of twenty years didn’t make any sense to her.

Once again, she found nothing. Tried, she got into the bed and lay there thinking, who is she?  

To Be Continued…

Homeless Isolation

Sitting on the street corner, she wondered why she had given everything up to come to this country. In the shimming puddles left by the afternoon rain, she could see the refection of younger self dressed as a bride. She was happy in that memory and surround by family and friends. Their voices were all repeating the same things; you’ll be happier living in a better country than this. Your children will have a better life. You can have anything you want over there. It’ll be paradise compared to this hell.

Sighing, she wished she could tell them how wrong they had all been. She pulled her shawl further down her head and tried not to cry. She noticed the shoes walking passed her and decided to concentrate on them. Hardly anyone in this country wore sandals and why would they? It seemed to do nothing but rain here. Dirty trainers and dull fake leather shoes filled her vision.

She eyed her coin bowl, which was simply a discarded plastic salad bowl, there was a handful of coins, but there was more copper then silver or gold. She wondered what she could get with that and the other few handfuls that were wrapped up in her skirt. She couldn’t read or speak this county’s language, so she just pointed to the pictures and handed over the money. Sometimes she got lucky and received a physical representation of the picture or else she would get something else. More often than not, she didn’t get anything but the coins back and a hand gesturing to the door. She would leave and find another place to sit with her coin bowl before her. She couldn’t believe she had fallen so far as to be begging on the streets like the old cripples she had seen back home. Her life should have been the opposite of this.

‘I’ll make you a Princess,’ he had said as they were allowed to talk for the first time after the wedding.

Had they been dancing or had he been walking her somewhere? She couldn’t remember.

Her chest had felt like it had wanted to burst. Here was the man who was going to give her everything she had ever dreamed of and more. How could she not been happier? He was going to help bring her out of third world poverty and into the lap of one of the richest countries.

She snorted to herself, but quickly covered it up by turning it into a sneeze as someone walked passed her. Shaking her head, she decided that if she had known this was how she would end up then she would have found a way out of the marriage. Though that might have placed her in a worse situation. Shaking her head again, she fell into pray and asked her God what he wanted of her and to help her see this lesson through.