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SAFE AND SOUND

by AS

The effort taken to access the flat had warmed him up although handling the cold metal fence panel left his hands numb. Not wanting to lose the warmth he was feeling he wrapped himself in his sleeping bag as he swept an area of the floor with is feet. The cardboard he had wrestled up into the flat would at least stop some of the cold from the concrete floor. Alex made himself a makeshift bed and used some of his spare clothes to add a bit of padding.  As he did this his situation became more real and he felt more alone.

There was no way he could begin to sleep. To distract himself from thinking too much about tomorrow he started to focus on the sounds he could hear from his new temporary abode. The sound of emergency vehicles penetrated the muffled hum of the city. He guessed that the emergency services would be stretched while dealing with Saturday night revelers and the hateful men fighting one another over nothing important. He knew that he would at least be safe from their misplaced aggression. How awful that the emergency services should have to face such monstrous behaviour on a regular basis. Alex thought how alcohol is such a dreadful drug.

As his hands warmed up he felt in his bag for the cheese he had stolen earlier in the day. He knew cheese wasn’t the best thing to have taken but it was the easiest. He struggled to open the packet but when he did he was pleased that he had thought to take something to eat.

The flat smelled of the dust he had kicked up while clearing his corner. It smelled like damp plaster and peeling wallpaper although he was pleased the flat appeared to be dry.

Alex took a bite of cheese. He heard the flapping of a pigeon as it dipped in and out of his balcony. It occurred to him that he might not be alone even if his only neighbours were pigeons. It had never occurred to him that pigeons might fly at night but perhaps he had disturbed it when he had climbed in. As he listened out for pigeons he tuned in to the sounds of doors and windows banging as they were caught in the breeze. Like the ghosts of people who once lived in the now empty and derelict flats. He realised that the building almost had a life of it’s own. The doors and windows generated there own rhythms while the steel cladding rattled only when the wind blew harder. To many, the sounds he heard might sound eerie or even frightening. This helped him feel safer. The likelihood of others venturing into such a desolate space he thought were pretty slim.

Rather than fear others Alex decided he would be the scary one. If he heard anyone climbing up the fence panel he would shout at them like a madman.

-we the people- collage

by EHY

-we walked a long way- -days turned into centuries- -we walked carrying our tools of daily survival- -fire sticks- -a spear- -the babies- -we walked to eat- -hunting and gathering- -we the people walked- -it was a long way- -only we didn’t care how far- -as long as we had something to eat and a warm fire that night- -as the days turned into centuries- -some people stopped walking- -they wanted to stay in one place- -in the same place- -they’d had enough of walking- -they’d had enough of taking the chance of nature- -they wanted to settle down- -to know what was going to happen- -tomorrow- -next week- -next month- -next year- -they wanted security- -so they made huts and shelters- -that were more permanent- -and when the rain dripped in- -they didn’t mind- -because at least they weren’t out walking in it- -once they had cleared a few trees- -scratched over the land- -planted a few seeds- -corralled a few animals- -their security was becoming a reality- -still living with nature- -but none of that endless bloody walking- -the days turned into centuries- -gone were the leaky huts and wigwams- -the people had learnt to make bricks- -to dig foundations- -to make glass- -concrete- -tarmac- -cars- -so they didn’t have to walk anywhere- -and could stay dry as well- -progress- -civilisation- -what an achievement- -now the people thought they could do without nature- -that their buildings and automobiles would protect them- -keep them safe from harm- -that every day would be the same- -every week- -every month- every year- -the supermarkets would have the same food- -every single day- -forever- -and the people would never- -have to walk again-

 

Photo Credit: AS

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