Four O'clock and the sun hadn't yet come up over the hedge rows, let alone the low-rise buildings along the street corner by which James Green was meant to walk every morning. Today was no different. An old slice of bread and some murky water from the well out back behind the chicken coup. It was hardly enough to satisfy the want of hunger, but rent for his accommodations would be coming due tomorrow and his landlord had a way of demanding every last penny he had.
It was only five miles to the mill so James Green had plenty of time to hobble through the broken streets and past peeling houses on his sojourn. Every now and then he would stop and look up to spy the fainting twinkle of light heralding the approaching dawn. A fallen star. Trying to compete with the Sun itself for a place of glory in the daylight.
James Green shuffled along, tattering his dusty shoes even more in the crooked pathways he trod. Finally the sun had risen enough to light the streets and the folk were truly starting to bustle out and about. By five thirty James Green had taken a seat on a bench across from where the preacher man was due to arrive shortly. James Green waited anxiously, but it was all the same. The man’s coat was slick and trim and his voice rumbled like thunder as he reiterated the eternal truths.
The millhouse was no better. Another twelve hours grinding and lodging the metal and steel into unnatural shapes. The worst never came from the foreman’s encouraging arm. It was those yellow teeth staring at him all day. Pointy, sharp, dripping sweat. Chewing at him all day.
The whistle sounded and James Green readied himself to leave. A thick dirty hand caught his shoulder halfway down the stairs and James Green looked around behind him. Yellow teeth grinning in his face. Have a nice day, they said. James Green just stood there and they passed him by. Gritting and grinding like the metal sheets had been all day.
At least tomorrow was Sunday and he wouldn’t have to stare at them. Meanwhile, James Green had a lot to do tonight before the Sabbath day.