"Wake up!" It was a woman, bending over him. Jean Valjean felt his pupils contract as her torch shone in his eyes. "Quick, before the police move you on."

"Huh?" He was still half asleep. "You couldn't leave me to get some rest, could you?"

"You can't stay there!" she hissed. "The police come round here every morning without fail. Get a move on!"

"I've got nowhere to go!" If it wasn't bad enough that he would have been woken in the morning anyway. She had no call to wake him now.

"Have you knocked at every door?" she asked, suddenly looking sly and intelligent. Jean Valjean shook his head. No, he had lost hope halfway round the town. "Did you knock there?" She pointed to a faded door next to the church.

"No, not there," he admitted.

"Knock there."

And then she was gone. At first, Valjean was certain he had imagined it. Why should he knock there? It would just be another person to turn him away.

But she had sounded so earnest ... he went to the door and knocked. An elderly man opened it.

"Please, I need somewhere to stay for the night." He held out his passport, stamped with the shame that he would bear for his life. Criminal. Ex-convict.

"Come in, child, and may God bless you." Valjean stared at the man in horror.

"You don't understand! I'm a convict, and you would invite me into your home? You would treat me like an ordinary person?"

"You need shelter - I will provide it." So saying, the kindly priest ushered Valjean inside and gave him food. "Here, eat."

*Can somebody else contribute please? I'm running out of steam...*

The End

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