safe 5

Here is the fifth installment in the safe series.  I know it’s been a bit since the last post about our homeless heroine.  Inspiration can be funny like that sometimes. This LINK will take you to the first post.


He walked by, glancing her way only long enough to smile.  She knew what it meant, of course.  He wasn’t sure what to make of her so he smiled to let her know that he saw her and wasn’t going to make trouble for her.  That was good.  Most people who lived in these types of associations weren’t interested in causing trouble but every once in a while she would come across somebody who liked to make a scene.  They would call the cops and yell at her until the officers arrived.

She watched the man walk away.  It looked like he was headed for a different dumpster.  She would check it next to see if there was anything worthwhile in there as well but first she needed to finish the one she was at.  Carefully, she lowered herself into the messy depths and began to pick through the spoiled bags for the items of value.  Plastic, glass, and aluminum all held worth.

They would only bring her cents when traded in.  That was still cents she didn’t have, cents that would add up to a meal, cents that were worth more to her than the people who tossed them rather than trade them in.  She wasn’t complaining, though.  These recyclables that most considered trash, gave her the means for a bit more security.

She slung her bag full of bottles and cans over and out and then pulled herself out after it.  The young man who had walked by before was nowhere to be seen.  She looked towards the dumpster he had walked to and then down to her own lengthening shadow.  She didn’t have much more time before the plant would close and she wanted to turn in her haul today.  She had worked hard and didn’t want to worry about losing anything during the night.  Things had a way of wandering off in the dark even from her most secluded locations.

Her mind made up, she shouldered her bags and left the complex.  It was more important that she get the funds for what she had already gathered than risk losing it all for the little bit more she might find in the next trash can.  Besides, the afternoon breeze was bringing a chill in from the coast and she wanted to make the long trek while the sun was still warm on her back.  The seasons were changing and the warm nights were coming but, for now, it still wouldn’t be smart to head into the night already cold.

She left the association behind and made her way through the alleys and quiet streets she had come to know in recent years.  They were as familiar to her now as her home had once been.  The bags were heavy and she grinned at the thought of the food she would buy to fill her belly that night.  She would head to bed full and warm.  It wasn’t often she got to do that.

safe 2

This is a follow-up to “safe” and was written because Trent asked for more.  I don’t know if this will be the end of it or if I will continue to come back to this character.  We’ll just have to, as always, see where the words take us.


She woke to the scratch of the sun on her hand, absentmindedly trying to brush it away with no success.  Her eyes cracked against the glare, to glare at the offending stray beam of light splashed across her flesh.  Scowling she withdrew her hand and curled away from the day but sleep would not come back to her and a few minutes later she sat up and took stock of her surroundings.

It was later than she had expected, which is why the sun had found her in the alcove of the now defunct store.  Not unlike the carts that used to be returned on a nightly basis, she found her way there most evenings to find her rest.  The world, people and cars, bustled nearby, visiting the shops that were still open in this dying strip mall.  Without the flagship, the others would close eventually unless a new grocer came in to fill the vacancies.  She had seen it go both ways before.

Her pack was where she’d left it.  She was grateful for that but had learned how to get by without her few possessions.  Her current pack, a purple and ragged affair, was not her first and would not be her last.  Things had a way of walking off in the middle of the night.  That truth was part of living on the streets.

Fishing a cigarette from her dwindling pack, she struck a match and pulled in the smoke, filling her lungs with warmth, before releasing it to the wind.  She watched the smoke disappear before taking another drag.  It was a nicotine breakfast kind of day again.  Her stomach hardly argued with her much anymore and this morning was no exception.  She had some coins rattling around in a pocket.  She’d see if she could find them a few more companions and maybe get some lunch in a bit, or maybe get a new pack.  Depending on how the rest of the morning went that could be a tough call.

Stretching, she crushed the filter of her now spent cigarette between finger and thumb, and then deposited the butt in the small pile of trash she’d move to a can when she walked away.  She liked to keep her space clean.  She didn’t see any sense in allowing her small nightly alcove to become cluttered with trash, especially when there was a can only a few feet away and she’d pass it on her way to the park.  Shouldering her pack, her muscles groaned her onto her feet, and she took a few timid steps until she found the strength and balance to stride onward.  Lunch seemed like it might need to win out over smokes.  Then again, the day was still young and almost anything could happen before she’d have the coins to get either.


Thank you, Trent, for the feedback on this piece… and now, with our local spotlight, here’s a little boy we found on the street…


International News Perspective: “This just in, a bomb has gone off in a busy market in some place we’ve never heard of.  We do know that fourteen people lost their lives and nine others were injured.  We’ll keep you updated on the terrible developments but now, with Sports, here’s Guy Cool.”  “Thank you, Dandy.  Today Billionaires A sold the rights of Millionaire B to the Billionaire C Conglomerate, and the only reason any of this is news is because we are paid to entertain you.  So, thanks for making our job easy.”


Local News Perspective: “The clean-up efforts continue in the aftermath of the Downtown Square bombing that occurred last week.  Crews have already begun razing the buildings deemed unsafe and new plans are well underway to erect a monument to the lives that were lost.  Authorities are still trying to determine which of the seven terrorist groups claiming responsibility are actually culpable for this mass tragedy, though one officer who requested anonymity told us it was likely an isolated attack by someone disenchanted by the struggles of their life.  When pressed for clarification, the officer shrugged and said, ‘People can’t just commit suicide in their rooms anymore, they’ve got to make a spectacle of it.’  Terrorist attack or suicide…?  We may never know the truth.  Eye-witness videos continue to pour in from the abundance of people who happened to be filming in the square at the time, and those clips are all posted on our website.  None of them have been edited, so be warned they can be quite graphic.  And now, with Weather, here’s Blown Hair.”  “Thank you, Beauty.  Today there was weather and tomorrow we are expected to be treated with more of the same, but you would know that if you ever looked up from your screens to peer outside and, I don’t know, maybe go for a walk or something.”


Impacted Family Perspective: The officer who has been assigned to us is very polite but he doesn’t know very much at all, and he probably never will.  The people in the hospital are patient with our questions but they are tired and overworked and I can tell they wish we would go home so they could do their jobs without us hovering nearby.  We’ve been living here for a month now, sleeping in shifts and showering in the bathroom sinks.  We are all exhausted and want to go home too, but we can’t leave him.  Misha shows some signs of improving, but he may never walk again even if he is gifted a prosthetic limb at some point in the future.  The nerve damage in his back is too great, and the doctors don’t want to risk further damage by removing the shrapnel near his spine.  They used bigger words than that, of course, but that’s basically what they were saying.  Besides, he still wakes up screaming twice a night.  The horrors he witnessed are more of a scar than where they stitched up his lost limb.  We haven’t told Misha about Momma yet.  He isn’t strong enough.  I’m not sure Daddy and I are strong enough to keep this family from falling apart without her helping us along.  I miss her.  I had to leave Misha’s room yesterday before he asked why I was crying.  I miss her fiercely and I don’t understand why she was killed.  I don’t understand any of this…  The talking heads from the local stations have been sniffing around for an interview but I refuse to turn my mother’s death into a sound bite for them.  Not that you care, because this is a blog post, and I lost your attention 100 words ago.   So, go then, seek your entertainment elsewhere.


Forgotten words were sprawled in looping letters across the crumbling walls of society’s last bastion of civilization.  The language they were written in had died along with the last of those who had dwelled within the guarded community and, so, their attempts to preserve a miniscule piece of their culture had been in vain.  Though, that mattered little to them anymore.  Their dust mixed with the soil and provided the fuel for nature’s slow reclamation of the shambled city.

Relics of rusted metal and spidering glass sank into the ground, their purpose just as forgotten and unknown as the scribbled lettering.  Sun and rain began their slow decay, beating into them, wearing them down, turning their strengths into weaknesses, and time, the ravager of all things, and the earth did the rest.  Vines wound around, underneath, through and over the artifacts of the ancient civilization, pulling them so far apart from where they started their original form was indiscernible.

Fields of flowers rose from the splintered asphalt.  Forests ranged unchecked where homes once stood, their tall canopies towering over the few remaining roofs that still draped over broken foundations.  Animals of all types claimed what remained.  The larger beasts found their way into the concrete lined basements.  The smaller beasts burrowed dens in leftover upholstered chairs and couches.  Birds nestled into the eaves.

None remained who understood any of the loss or rebirth that had transpired.  The greatest ideas and triumphs of the last civilization meant less to the world than the bones and flesh that had been returned to the ground.  Their greatest crimes and disasters were equally meaningless.  History meant nothing.  The future meant nothing.  And life went on, naturally.


God opened his eyes, the marble he’d been playing with before dozing off, still at his feet.  His shook his head to dislodge the cobwebs of the nightmare he’d just had as he stooped low to peer into the swirling vibrancy of the marble’s core.  So beautiful.  So pristine.  So perfect, just as it had always been.  Scooping up the orb, he deposited it with the rest of his collection and then strode forward to find other mischief.


You can find me visiting The SisterWives today, talking about courage, the lack thereof, and if any of it really matters to anyone beyond how we see ourselves. Join us to add your insights and thoughts on the topic.

The SisterWives

While reading this submission by our guest, Matticus, I began humming, We’re off to see the Wizard… Sorry Matticus, I am forever going to visualize you with a mane playing anxiously with the end of a lion’s tail. But seriously, the 1939 film “Wizard of OZ” offers us some keen insight regarding cowardice when the Wizard speaks to the cowardly lion.

You, my friend, are a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate impression that just because you run away you have no courage; you’re confusing courage with wisdom.

On more than one occasion, I have done what some might consider brave but in hindsight it’s more probable that I was carelessly naive.  Social media has enlightened me enough to reexamine some of the things I have done.  I probably shouldn’t have offered to help the high and drunk out of his mind pedestrian involved in a hit…

View original post 1,068 more words