Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write a Coming OF AGE short story (11/20/14)
- TITLE: Vagrant
By Trace Pezzali
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
The fluorescent light from signage and streetlamps would ward off complete darkness, but not danger. Panic quickened my steps and heart, but pride strengthened my resolve. Where would I sleep tonight? As I passed an alleyway I noticed a girl similar to my age. Filthy and dishevelled, she sat on a doorstep.
“Please, can you help me?” I asked, hopeful for honest company. “I need somewhere to stay.”
She assessed me, and then stood. “I know a place.”
I tried conversation as we walked, but other than giving her name, Andrea, the girl was silent. My dread increased when she took us into Northbridge, a hotspot for territorial wars of different ethnic groups. This restaurant and nightclub strip also had a bad reputation for weekend drunken brawls and senseless violence. For a weeknight, it was fairly quiet and orderly.
We came to a crumbling weather-board house surrounded by a splintered picket fence. In the dim light, the facia peeled paint like diseased skin, and the boarded windows were like closed eyelids. A sign advertised the apartment block that was planned for this site. The gate, with its broken padlock, screeched in complaint as we ignored the warning; ‘Private Property, Keep Out.’ Weeds whipped our legs as we walked around the side. We crunched over broken bottles.
The back door had been smashed in; it hung on its hinges. I was assaulted by the smell of mould and sour body odour as we walked through the laundry and along the passageway. Candlelight added no romance to the disgusting living quarters of the vagrants who lived here. As we passed one room, I was horrified by the sight of a young boy who held a hypodermic needle, about to pierce venom into his arm.
The room we entered had a fireplace, with kindling arranged, ready to be lit. Surfaces and shadows were animated by the dancing flames of candles that clung to the mantelpiece. I tallied five people of various ages, but my attention was arrested by the alpha male who dominated the room.
“And you are?” He raked hard eyes over my body.
“Renae,” I squeaked.
“You don’t belong here. Go home.”
“I don’t want... please; I just need a place to stay tonight.”
From behind me I heard a voice that sent ice through my blood:
“Fresh meat,” The thickset beast of a man who framed the doorway leered at me, and then ran a suggestive fat tongue over his top lip. I shuddered.
“She’s mine tonight.” Alpha Male asserted. I was in a maelstrom of rivalry and had nowhere to run.
“Maybe. For now,” The beast snarled before he retreated.
“Don’t fear me. I won’t touch you.” Alpha Male spat out. “You should reconsider your choices.” He motioned I could stay. I chose the corner farthest from the door, then dropped my backpack and myself onto the dusty pitted floorboards.
A bone-chilling draft brought in winter’s breath. Thankful that I’d packed a warm jacket, I untied its arms from around the backpack strap.
Andrea huddled against a wall. Though she’d wrapped a dirty blanket around her thin frame, her teeth chattered like one of those hard-plastic novelty toys. I could hear the quick uncontrollable snaps from where I sat.
What was this poor girl’s story? She could be me. I could be her. I would be her if I stayed here – there sits me in a year’s time.
Nauseated, my stomach lurched. My mind screamed, “Get out of here! RUN. RUN.”
Alpha Male noticed my panicked expression. “Up. Now. I’m taking you to the train station.”
“Yes. Please. Thank you,” I scrambled desperately to my feet.
Before I left, I shoved my jacket onto Andrea’s lap, and then fled the room.
Alpha Male set a brisk pace to the Northbridge station.
“Take care, tourist,” he said when he left me at the secure well-lit train depot.
I waited for the train, overcome with relief at the life I’d avoided, anxious to be safely ensconced in the life I’d wanted to leave behind. Repentant of being insolent and ungrateful, I longed for the forgiving embrace of my mother’s arms.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.