Four Men

They gathered by the old, tattered oil drum and waited for Flint. Ninth pulled his sock gloves out of his pocket and shivered. Skids tried to blow circles with his warm breath in the cold night the way he used to when he could afford smokes. The Kid bounced around like his pants were on fire and swatted things in the air that only he could see. None spoke to each other; what was there to say? Could anything improve their situation? 

“Finally,” Ninth said as Flint shuffled down the alley. “It’s getting cold.”

Flint stopped and looked into the sky and laughed at the lightly falling snow. “It’s beautiful.”

“Won’t be when we freeze to death,” Skids muttered under his breath.

With a flick of his wrist, the fire was soon raging and the four men felt their fingers again. 

“I remember one Christmas,” Flint said. “My little girl ran down the stairs three at a time to see what Santa brought her. A sparkly red bike with training wheels and tassels on the handle bars.”

The others listened in silence as Flint recalled happier times. They each had a story. A story of life before then. A time when they had names. 

Winds blew the fire out and snow blanketed the streets. All was silent. Peaceful. 

No one said anything. They knew it was a personal choice. The Kid pulled his fleece tighter around him and exited the alley to go find a heating vent for the night. Flint sat by the oil drum and smiled as his little girl rode her bike into the alley.

“Daddy, Daddy, did you see?”

“Yes, baby.” Flint smiled and held out his arms. “I saw.”

Floral perfume and a melodic voice danced on the swirling wind. Skids smiled and started to cry. “Oh, Lucy, Lucy, you’ve forgiven me.”

Ninth closed his eyes and tried to remember brighter, warmer days, only to find the warmth of hatred and anger. Faces of all those he wronged appeared in the blizzard. “I’m not afraid of you,” he muttered.

The evening news headline read, “Three homeless men froze in last night’s storm.” The Kid lifted the newspaper from the trash can and tucked it under his shirt. His body longed for his next hit; his heart longed to hear his mother’s voice. 

“Billy? Billy, is that you?”

“Yes, Mama. I’m sorry. Can you ever forgive me?”

The headline read, “Another death due to overdose. When will it stop.”

Four men buried without markers in the indigent cemetery by the town dump. Four men forever without names.

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A Special Finish the Story Challenge for Nov

The Penny

Sounds of children’s laughter and joy floated down the stairs. Liam breathed deeply and smiled. Never more content in his life. All thanks to the penny in his hand. 

“Don’t forget your change, sir,” she had said. Her smile ignited the flame he thought long dead. A brush of her hand against his, and he was her’s. 

The ladies in his life, in beautiful red holiday dresses, walked down the steps of the opera house still reveling in The Nutcracker.

“Did you like it, Daddy?” Alice grinned. 

“Very much so.” He kissed Alice on the forehead, and held his wife’s hand.

The ringing of the Christmas bell called to the penny, and with a smile and tip of his hat, Liam dropped the penny into the kettle so that it may bring someone else as much love and joy as it had him.

“Thank you, sir and Merry Christmas.”


As we are coming up to the holiday season, I thought it would be fun to do a special Finish the Story (of sorts). 

Tell another story of the penny. Where has it been? Where is it going? What happened to the people who owned the penny? Was it all good, or did a Scrooge own it? The choice is up to you.

If you would like to contribute a story, please link to this post (or post your link in the comments). I will collect any response I find and post them here on the 30th of November.  Please tag it FTS Penny, so that I can find it. 

Length and style is up to you. Just have fun with it 🙂

Daily Writing Challenge, Nov 19

Welcome to the Daily Writing Challenge

Everyday at 6am CST, I will post one picture and three words that will hopefully provide you with some inspiration. What you produce is up to you. It can be a story, poem, art — anything everything goes. Just see where the muse takes you and take us along with you.

You do not need to use both the words and the picture. Use any part of the challenge that ignites your creativity.

Participating is simple: follow the muse, create a post, and either link back to this post as a pingback or post the link to your post in the comment section.

* Please remember that pingbacks are approved manually (and don’t always work).

Today’s Prompts

network-3537401_640

connected, intelligence, enlighten

Haphazard

Hit or miss henchmen

Aimlessly wander the streets

Purposeless in their mood

Helter skelter thoughts cross their minds

As their erratic night played on repeat

Zero chance of making it right

All because Dr. Frank 

Randomly scattered the

Directions in the wind.


This was inspired by FOWC with Fandango – haphazard