John awoke at the time he usually awoke at, ten to eleven, and set about his routine. He fed his dog before feeding himself, washed his face and gave himself a quick shave, barely cutting himself
on the sharp edge of the razor.
He was visiting his mum today. She was not well, the doctors told him. She was stroked, or something and that was bad for her head and that meant she couldn't make his toast before he went to bed. He hated going to the hospital, seeing ill people scared him.
he put on his tweed jacket and hat and stepped outside into the fresh air and bright spring sun. He smiled and pulled his hat on a little tighter. He would stop by the shop before he visited his mother and pick up a newspaper for her, and maybe he would get a sweet too. That was the plus side to his mother being stroked, she couldn't tell him not to eat too much sugar or to take his insulin. She asked him to take his insulin the first time he went to visit her, and he did. He wouldn't betray her trust.
The area John lived in used to be pretty nice, when he was a child the houses were just built. Now they were just subjected to horrible youths, and most walls were covered with graffiti. This
didn't bother John too much, he quite liked the rough, spray painted pictures. But he hated the children, at this time of day, they were usually elsewhere. prowling some other neighborhood,
searching for weak prey. It was only when it was dark that John was afraid to walk Angel.
They would never hurt him, no one had come close but the leader of the pack hit him and proclaimed \"You don't hit spazes, its bad luck dumbass!\" John didn't know what a spaz was but he was lucky they thought he was one.
He got to the shop, which was in as much a state as the rest of the neighborhood. CCTV cameras were at every corner, watching intently at all the customers. John approached the news stand and
looked for the one his mother usually bought. How would he know? The pictures always changed, and he couldn't read well enough to get the names.
\"Need help there John?\" came a friendly voice from behind, accompanied by an old hand on his shoulder.
\"yeah, I need. I need a paper.\" John replied, he knew the woman. A friend of his mother's, Mrs McArthur was her name.
\"For your mum is it? Well she likes the Scotsman on a Friday doesn't she.\" Mrs McArthur picked up a newspaper and gave it to John.
\"You tell your mum I'm asking for her now.\" She smiled and left.
He got on the bus and paid his fare, he tended to sit at the front, he liked knowing he was close to his stop. He got off at the hospital and asked after his mother, the nurse guided him to her
ward and left the two alone together. His mother was frail, and weak, and all colour in her face had fled. She reached up two stalk like arms and cuddled her son, kissing him on the cheek.
\"I'm so happy you're here.\" she smiled, her deep wrinkles folding.
John averted her pale, watery blue eyes and held out the news paper \"Got this for you... Mrs McArthur tells you hi.\" he said smiling
\"Oh that was nice of June, has she been checking in on you?\" his mother's voice was empty, it may well be a whisper on the wind.
John nodded, he hated seeing his mum like this. He couldn't understand how stroking someone could do so much damage. He'd been stroking Angel since she was a puppy and he had never done her any damage.
After a while the doctor came in and smiled, \"You must be the son\" he said in a soothing yet professional tone.
\"Your mother is coming along just fine, she should be out in a few weeks\"
\"We have some clothes of hers if you want to take them home with you?
John accepted them.
He left the hospital and made his way back home, when he stepped off the bus he headed for home. As he passed the first few houses he saw the dark shapes of the youths up ahead, he tensed up and
removed his hat. Twisting it in his hands as the children, there were three of them, came closer.
\"Orite mong?\" One asked, the others laughed cruelly as John just walked on, twisting his hat and carrying the bag of his mother's clothes.
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