Stars In the Sky

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Max is one of the 'lucky' few living on the streets of Toronto. What happens exactly when he meets something just when he thinks he's down on his luck?
-Written as part of a prompt

Submitted: June 23, 2013

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Submitted: June 23, 2013

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"They're calling for rain today. Heard it's gonna pour. We better get everything ready," My gruff voice sounds from a damp alleyway in downtown Toronto. There is barely any visible light around me as I trudge through old flyers and forgotten garbage. The walls are covered in tar from God-knows-what. They stretch so high there isn't a star in sight. Then again it was going to pour soon. There are none to be seen.

I clamber along the alley, grabbing at any spare supplies, left behind by the other Superiormen. That's what we call ourselves, 'Superiormen'. As if we actually have an identity, a purpose, when really we don't. All we are, are the homeless, but that name made us realize what we really are. I am part of the selected in Toronto who lives off the streets. I'm one of the few without a home, or a job or really anything other than myself and a few friends.

Now most people assume that to get to this point you've had some sort of addiction. Whether it be to narcotics, sex, or alcohol there has to be something, anything, but I don't. I'm in my early thirties and have lived off the streets since I was a teen. I grew up an orphan, jumping from one abusive foster family, who screws the system, to the next, until I finally had enough and ran away. Now here I sit, in worn clothes donated to me from the local Salvation Army, a hat I stole off some spoiled brat, and a beard so knotted and twisted it's impossible to comb through.

I make my way with my companion and my life mate. He is a six year old cocker spaniel. He is my best friend and my family. His name is Patches, his fur is covered with patches of white, brown and black. The black is from the grunge that coats his thick fur. It seems to suffocate him with every step. I came across him not two years ago, abandoned in front of a shelter and slowly freezing to death. Had I not taken him then, I am sure he would have died.  Ironically, I'm sporting the same salt and pepper hair with dirt caking my body.

I pet Patches' matted head with my blistered hand as I begin to set up our makeshift home consisting of some cardboard, a wall, and the side of a dumpster. When our haven is made we quickly crawl inside, and snuggle close for warmth when we hear the patter of quick footsteps coming towards us.

Glancing up I'm shocked to stare into two bright, young eyes. A small girl dressed in top quality clothes stands before me, a small clutch purse in her hands. Her blonde ringlettes bounce as she gestures to my home.

"May I come in? I'm lost and it appears as though it will rain soon," she asks eloquently. 

I hear Patches shift and make his way forward, growling quietly at the intruder.

"I don't think that'd be wise, girl. Pup here doesn't take well to nobodies." I snap gruffly before shuffling to get comfortable .

"Nobodies? What does that mean?" She quizzes with a tilt of her head, innocence continuing to shine in her bright blue eyes.

I sigh before straightening myself, knowing that this problem won't go away on its own.

"Nobodies! Y'know people I don't give a damn for! Aristocrats! Money pushers!"

"Hmm, well, I still don't understand, but may I come in? Like I said, it's going to rain soon and mother will have a fit if I get this dress wet." She replies with an air of importance.

I roll my eyes and allow the brat to move beside me. She does so with the smoothness of a ballerina. She sits on her knees with her back at a perfect line, her pinstriped dress folded cautiously underneath. 

"So, what's yer name, kid?" I grunt and stretch harshly, all bones snapping into place with the movement.

"Emily, and before you ask I'm eleven," Emily responds simply, picking at her pristine white gloves.  "And yours?"

"Max."

"Well it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance Max, and this cute boy, what is his name?" Emily giggles, scratching the now-friendlier cocker-spaniel.

"Patches." I mumble as I begin to shift slightly, looking through the forgotten newspapers now acting as a floor.

I can tell she's about to respond when a large crack interrupts her and the heavens open themselves and pour down upon us. I hear Emily squeal in terror as she throws herself on top of Patches. The pup, in response, huffs in annoyance before he beginning to lap at her hand in comfort. It seems to work as she slowly catches her breath and releases her tight grip on his fur.

"So," I ask over the pounding of the rain. "How exactly did ye get this lost? Yer in the slums of T-Dot kid, not some play-place. Ye get me? Ye can't just run off whenever you feel like it. It's dangerous."

I hear her cross her arms and feel the prickle of a dirty glare; it isn't the first time I've been on the receiving end of this look.

"I'll have you know I am on an important errand for Father. I'm taking his mail down to the mailbox," Emily snaps as she clenches Patches' fur.

"And how exactly did you fuck it up this badly? There's no mailbox 'round here for a while."

"I wanted to take a short-cut," Emily mumbles, tears beginning to glisten cobalt blue eyes. "I wanted  to be independent, and to do something right. Father's been so busy since the company opened up its new section. I never get to see him anymore, and when I do he's always fighting with Mother."

I awkwardly reach over and pat her on the shoulder, careful not to rub my filth on her pristine form. She smiles softly as she wipes at her eyes, apologizing for being so ungrateful. We hear Patches begin to growl towards the end of alley. I peer down the damp tunnel and see two golden eyes staring back at me. I watch as a large dog reveals itself growling and spitting as foam drips from its jaw. My heart jumps into my throat as I watch it growl and step closer.

"M-Max?" Emily whimpers as she begins to rise, ready to make a break for it if need be.

My arm swings out and I shove her back down, hiding her behind my larger form.

"Don't move!" I whisper as I begin to crouch forward. I notice a pipe sticking out of the garbage bin beside me and slowly reach into it, pulling the rusty object out.

I push my growling colleague aside and watch as the mutt trudges drunkenly towards me with its jaw snapping. Its jet black fur is matted and short, covered in infected wounds that glisten in the rain with pus. Its eyes hold an insane look that are clouded over. As it growls low, it begins to run towards me.

I hear Emily shriek in fear as it launches at me. I throw the pipe out at arm's length and watch as the mutt crushes the pipe with its jaw. Blood pools from its mouth along with the foam as teeth break free from their cavity. It snaps wildly, trying to get a hold on me. We're both weak from lack of sleep, however I'm able to overpower the mutt as it flies across the alley. Before it can rise up I race at it, pole extended and ram it into the dog's skull.

Emily is sobbing from behind me, scared beyond her wits as I try to wipe the gunk off of me. The dog's body lays beneath me, unmoving as the rain begins to ease off. I turn and walk silently towards the shivering girl. Her dress is soaked through and is plastered to her skin. Grabbing her hand, I silently walk towards the attached street. Just as we're approaching it, a black Bentley swerves in front of us, halting us in our tracks.

I watch as Emily squeals happily and runs towards the two men who exit the car. They're dressed in all black and screaming profanities as they circle her in a hug. I hear bits of their conversation before they whisk her into the car and drive away. I stand there for a bit before I begin to walk away. As I do, I hear a loud horn sound, and I whip around. The Bentley is back, and the man in the front seat is rolling the window down, ushering me over. I blink and approach the car with caution. Before I can make it very close they throw a bag filled with Mc'D's at me and speed off once more.

Taking the treasure, I trudge down the street until I reach a bench. Patches hops up beside me and we begin to demolish the food in front of us. I'm almost finished before I see a note attached to the top of the grease covered paper sack. Peeling it off I see a number written on it and a small message underneath.

800-235-6472 ext 9999

Mr. Armando Bernad

CEO of Glass Company

I want to see you again! Father says to call this number

when you can for an interview! -Emily

 

I sigh softly as I lift my eyes to the sky. The clouds are breaking to allow beams of sunlight to filter through. A slow smile curls upon my face hidden under the matted beard, as I think to myself... no not stars in the sky, but just as good.

 

 

 


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