It was the sound of nothingness that stirred him to wake. His legs stretched beneath a worn blanket, his head cushioned by a single torn pillow.
"Morning world." The words fell from his mouth ritualistically. "I hope you slept well."
His legs crept out from beneath the warmth. A window, that was left slightly ajar, allowed a breeze to caress his bare legs as they searched for his trousers.
He pulled them up, fastened them around his waist, with a rusted buckle, and reached for his shirt. He tucked his arms in, wrapped his shoulders and buttoned up to the collar.
He fell back down onto the bed. Arms sprawled outwards. "Where are all the stars gone?" He gazed thoughtfully through the skylight. "Where do they hide?"
He sat himself up, plunged his feet into his shoes, tied them and stumbled out.
Breakfast was scoffed down, as if he had to eat faster than he ever ate before. The same mush, from similar cans, as he had for dinner every night.
The sun had crept above the line of buildings, the only remnants of the night were the long shadows that stretched shapes into the obscure.
He knelt down, his own shadow projected oddly in front of him. "Good morning sir." He let his hand reach down, and attempted to shake his hands shadow.
He straightened himself. Steadied himself. Assured himself. "All's well. All is well."
One foot in front, then the other. Then repeat. His steps echoed off of the emptiness. The echoes carried him all the way to an old warehouse.
Made from steel, sweat and some under the table money, the warehouse was the largest he had ever seen. But he had seen it before. He had been here before. He has work here.
Inside, against the largest wall, was a masterpiece. Painted from worn ball point pens, mostly dried paint, half empty spray cans and any other tool he could find. The mural depicted the sun setting, falling, over a road with only one car. The stark contrast of reds, oranges and blues, to the darkness of the road was startling.
"I reckon it would fetch a fair price at auction." He said confidently.
He eyed it again. Scanning from the blackness, to the colour, and back into the darkness again. "A fair sum indeed."
He sat down on the grime covered warehouse floor, crossed his legs and murmured. "I can't sell it. It is me. It is all anyone would know."
His fingers drummed along his knee. Rap-a-tap-tap. "It is not for sale!" He declared triumphantly. "It is not for sale."
The warehouse almost cheered his moral victory. He stalked back to the door he came in, pulled it across and let it lock. "My treasure will stay buried. My treasure will stay mine."
He dragged his feet as his back turned to the great building. The dirt flew around his lower legs.
"I walk on the footsteps of a thousand men." His eyes wandered over the ground, finding no distinctions. "But no one will walk on mine."
The warehouse heaved under its own weight. The girders moaned from the strain.
He closed his eyes. Focusing on the sound. Focusing on the silence. Remembering the pain.
He let out a scream and fell to his knees. "Why is it so deafening?!" His voice was exasperated. "Why won't you just talk to me?!"
His legs curled up beneath him, and he lay there. His eyes wrought shut, and his arms clutching to his chest. "What do you want from me?!"
The words barely left his mouth. They struggled to form as he began to lose his breath. "What do you want from me?..."