Author: Jason Atkinson
Genre: Short Story Collection
Part 1 - Feeling is believing
The only sounds piercing his ears were heavy raindrops pounding the concrete slabs around him. The occasional engine hummed by without a care while he sat and closed his eyes. It was dark. The only light he saw was from the vehicle headlights that passed him by.
To his left was a cart of belongings, if you could call them belongings at all. To his right, an old dog with only an umbrella for comfort. He sat with his bum on the unforgiving slab, his knees and feet drawn close to his chest. This was his only method of staying warm while the rain poured from the sky.
The shirt he wore was at least long-sleeved, but his clothes were not thick enough to withstand the temperatures outside. They would have to do, though, as anything else he could wear was either torn or short-sleeved. His boots were fairly new; he’d stolen them from a street vendor a few weeks ago. It was either that or go barefoot again.
His cart was the building block of a cardboard box that fit as his home. It wasn't much of anything, really, but at least it covered all three sides. The opening allowed him a view of what was coming his way, whereas a fully enclosed box would have completely isolated him from the world. The cart held it in place by applying pressure to the side. Otherwise, the box would fall over, limp and useless.
This was his life. It hadn’t always been this way. There was once a time when he was prosperous and well-known in his community. He had a house, a family, a job he loved, and of course a younger and healthier looking dog by his side; life was good. It's interesting, though, how small turns of events can change the course of one’s life, blinding you with every turn until you finally see where you are and wonder how you ended up here.
Now, this concrete slab was home. Tired and alone, he looked over at his dog who was laying down, trying to sleep. He wished he was like his dog: somewhat carefree, his only concerns being where to get his next meal and obeying his master. That would be so much easier to deal with. He reached over and stroked the wet dog on the head, scratching behind his ear. The dog lay motionless but opened its mouth as a sign of enjoyment.