The underpass was dark and empty, save one small blip of consciousness, curled with newspaper and coat closely about him, his only protection. A low, moaning wind pushed through the enclave, causing this person to pull his coat closer, to cover his swollen face. If we were to move closer at this point, we would discover something very unusual about this bundle of paper and material. However, in reality, most of us would avoid at all costs such a person, therefore it seems pointless. As the moon shifted through cloud, it caused the man to cast shadows about him; they would sway and dance, mocking him with their non-existent smiles. He then began to mumble, whispers in a guttural tongue, words drenched in anguish and dejection. His eyes were ringed with black and purple, and his lip encrusted with blood show evidence of a brawl, possibly with the youths that got intoxicated beside the canal. And he knew they would come, around the same time every week.

And he stayed. Despite the fact that some sort of attack upon him was inevitable, he continued to wait.

As his mumbling subsided, the sinister mass would inspect the coins which lay scattered around his area. Some were old, with dirt embedded in the carvings. Some were new, mostly bronze, which reflected wholesomely in the light of the moon. He enjoyed looking at the coins and think about where they had been. Whose sweaty hands had clasped the metal; what was the quality of the leather in which it previously sat; what was the worth of the coin to its preceding owner. His thoughts would thus wonder for hours, whilst sat quivering, his unkempt grey beard rustling against the paper. The moon, starting to tire, began to fade, as the dark sun crept up from behind a block of dead concrete flats.  Seeing the frail rays trickle outside his cave, a shiver crept up his spine causing his head feel tight and icy. A pitter patter of supple feet beneath lithe bodies could be heard; and so it was, two young men jogging beside the canal. As they drew closer, the pace began to quicken, obviously spying the lonely figure.

“Can’t we go the other way?”

“Oh, he’s no bother, just don’t look at him.”

“I heard he attacks the kids that come down here to play.”

“A man who has nothing tends not to care. He’s no harm anymore.”

The End

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