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 Selfish & Selfless

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Nv MasterBrent
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PostSubject: Selfish & Selfless   Sun Nov 30, 2008 12:30 am

This is another of my short stories that I wrote when I got obsessed with the scene of a very kind, caring man forced out of his home and into the conditions of being homeless and without a family or job.






On a cold day in September, there wandered an old man of rich history. That rich history was torn from him in a single night, by the heartless government. He had no family, but was the only known carrier of a bit of knowledge known as the Alignment ....




His brown, scraggly beard blew softly in the wind. The sagging blue eyes scoured the land before him, as he lay on his bench, covered in newspaper. It began to drizzle, so he tumbled off the bench and scrambled underneath it. His hands shot for his newspapers once more and laid them down on the ground, and then stuffed some above him to keep the rain off.

A watery finger doused his nose as he spied a box in the alleyway across from him. His eyes lit up momentarily and he gathered his makeshift blankets and wobbled towards the alley, hugging his newspapers protectively. He slowed to a stop, and then looked back at the bench he had known for the past day. He looked again to the alley, then back to the bench. He started again towards the alley, when a woman who towered over him, bumped his shoulder.

"Hey watch it—ew! Go away!" she hurried off down the street.

The man watched her run away. He had grown used to rude and inconsiderate people, but he couldn't help but feel a pang of hurt at her reaction to him. He sat staring off into space, before another drop splashed onto his nose. He looked down at his papers, to make sure he had not dropped any, and then inched his way towards the alley once more.

He looked down at his ragged boots. They were dark brown and his toes wiggled through a large hole. He had no laces, so they weren't a very good fit.

The wet, gloomy streets were desolate, with the exception of the man. He finally arrived at his destination, and then only the soft drops of rain could be seen or heard.

He peered down at the box he had found, and smiled. It was just big enough for him to crawl into. He opened the lid and a cat shot out, mewing in the downpour. This startled the man, making him drop his papers. They landed with a small splash in a puddle. He let his arms fall down to his side, as he watched the ink smudge, then slide off into the puddle.

He clamped his hands together, and his eyes welled up. He started to fumble with his fingers, and his eyes were sliding around with apprehension. He didn't know what he would do now; his only source of warmth had been drenched and was now useless. Many thoughts worriedly raced through his head, none of them ending well. He imagined crawling into his box and a garbage collector eventually finding his cold, dead body curled up in a ball, as if trying to find warmth.

It was the only thing he had to go for, so he slowly hobbled around to the other side of the tattered box. He turned it around with great effort, his torn sleeves flapping like wings. He turned the front of the box away from the opening into the alley—it was one of those house-alleys with only one entrance—so that the wind would not blow open the flaps and let icy death envelope him in her cruel embrace.

The hard, gray bricks were uninviting, but he knelt down nonetheless to enter his new home.

He scooted as far in as he possibly could and pressed himself against a small hole in the box to block out the frigid air.

He spent a few minutes positioning the flaps so that they were perfectly closed; he wanted NO wind coming through. He then propped the flat of his boot against the separation between the two flaps to keep them closed.

He crisscrossed his hands to the opposite arm to rub himself for warmth. He shuddered as the cold feeling was spirited away and some mild warmth was introduced to him.

He was content for now, but was desperately in need of food. He was growing so hungry, that he felt sick with pain. With trouble, he fell asleep, and forgot all about his problems ... into a land where nothing can go wrong.





He awoke at around noon the next day. He opened his eyes to see that his foot had moved away from the flaps and that he had sprawled out. He forced his eyes shut, and his face distorted as he stretched, still yawning.

He rubbed his hand over his hairy face, feeling his mangy beard and wiry moustache. He tilted his head as he ran his hand over his neck, soothing the pains from sleeping in an odd position.

He then sat up as straight as he could and gasped as the blood rushed from his head. His sight narrowed and blurred, then it re-focused again as he sat there thinking. He felt around for his newspapers, but slouched over when he remembered he had dropped them.

He wanted to go outside and see if they were at all dry enough to maybe use again, but he could hear the wind howling and he knew it would be very uncomfortable out there while the wind was raging. His box was shaking and it felt a little like being in a train, only ... he didn't know what that felt like.

When the wind had stopped its rampage, the man crawled out, only to bump into a wall. Apparently, his box had shifted during the night because he now had to push his feet against the cold wall to thrust the box away, creating an opening. He finally wormed his way entirely out of the box and stood up straight, stretching again. He looked down, and a box he had not seen before was sitting there. Upon closer inspection, there was an upside down clothes bin that kept it off of the wet ground. It had a note on it:


"To the one whom dwells in the box,
Your prayers have been answered and you will find warmth and nourishment inside of this smaller container. You can do whatever you would like with these, as they are now yours."


He shook his head and thought to himself that this must be a joke; it wouldn't have been the first. He opened the box anyway and actually cried at what he found: a woolen blanket that would definitely keep him warm through the frigid night air, a bag of dried fruits that was filled to the brim, and a plastic container with a loaf of bread inside it.

His mouth formed a huge arch and his eyes were wild with glee. He merrily threw the blanket over him like a grand cape and he pranced around pretending to be a king. Once he had had his fill of fun, he sank down to gaze upon the magnificent food that some kind soul had left for him.

He felt so good that someone would use their hard-earned money to buy all these wonderful things on him. He tied the corners of the blanket around his neck to keep from having to carry it. He picked up the box with the food in it and made his way outside of the Alley.

The streets were now loud and obnoxious as they always were around midday. People darted to and fro, going to various places throughout the city. Poor peddlers sat on the side of the street, feeling sorry for themselves.

The man was taking grand strides down the walkway now that he felt like a king. His head was held up high, and a big grin was plastered on his face. To others he looked like a criminally insane man walking around with such a face that pronounced to them that he had just been released from death row.

He slowed his walk, when he saw a boy, poor like himself, sitting on a bench. The boy was dangling his legs over the edge and staring down into the sidewalk. He had a small tin can in his hands and he was bouncing it up and down, listening to the coins jingling inside it.

He had a frown on his face that the man knew all too well; the boy was hungry, and he had no family to provide for him. The man opened up the container that had the bread in it and munched on a slice. A feeling of melancholy came over him now, seeing this boy.

Then, he had not expected what happened next: a man in a large black jacket, black jeans, black shoes, and a black cap blew into the scene. He snatched the can right out of the boy's hands and made off down the street, jingling it like the boy had done.

He started laughing as he sprinted down the sidewalk, around the corner, and then out of sight. The man's mouth hung limp and the piece of bread that he had been chewing fell out of his mouth. He looked at the boy, who now had his face in his hands. He walked over to the bench where the boy was sitting, he heard him crying.

He looked from the food, to the boy. He kept changing glances just as he had done with his bench and the alleyway. His heart started to beat faster and he started to sweat.

He took a deep breath and quietly placed the food down on the bench beside the boy. He remembered his blanket and swiftly threw it off, and onto the box of food.

He tiptoed away, to where the boy wouldn't notice him. He picked up a rock and hurled it at the boy. It struck the boy in the leg and he looked down and grabbed his leg where the rock had hit.

His eyes rose up to the blanket and he choked on a sob. He grabbed it and brought it up to his face and began crying into it again. His head slid to the side and he saw the other piece of his gift. His mouth went into an arch, just as the man's had done and he wrapped the box in the blanket, and shot off down the street.




The boy lay in his new blanket and his box of food was still there. He had only eaten about a quarter of all the food there, because he had learned how to preserve.

His snoring echoed off the cardboard walls of a large box with a small hole in the back. One of the newspapers that he had found earlier that day was wadded up into a ball and he was using it as a pillow.

The article in bold was a headline, it was the Obituaries. There was a picture of an old man, with scraggly brown hair, and a tousled beard:


"JOHNATHON ARTHUR MILLS,
Police found his body on the side of the street, with a big grin on his face. His family history is unknown, but he is believed to be the royal family's old smith (More on page 9). The only item he had in his possession was a small drawing of a boy with a blanket and boxes. Shortly after suspected time of death, police found another dead body three streets away. His death is a mystery to even the royal family's scientists; he was young, no diseases, and there were no signs of foul play. More theories are being developed ...."


A shingle then fell from the top of one of the buildings the boy slept by. There was the whip of what sounded like a cape and a small laugh.






I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did when I wrote it king
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PostSubject: Re: Selfish & Selfless   Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:41 pm

Oh! I read this on Goodreads! It's really good, Brent. And it seems very realistic to me.

The only thing I have to say about it--like I did before--is that you start a lot of the paragraphs with different versions of he. Such as "he" and "his". And when you did change, a few of the times you started with "Then, he..." or "The man". I'm not saying that's wrong, just that it seems very repitionary.

I loved it, though! And I think the title choice was great. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Selfish & Selfless   Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:04 pm

I changed the ending up since it was on Goodreads ... have you seen it?


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PostSubject: Re: Selfish & Selfless   Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:04 pm

Is this it? 'Cause I re-read over it, and noticed some of the changes, with the ending. It was different the first time.

Did you change something else that's up on Goodreads, but not on here?
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PostSubject: Re: Selfish & Selfless   Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:55 pm

Open up a Goodreads tab and read the ending on Goodreads, then read it on here; I made the "Obituaries" section longer.



king

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PostSubject: Re: Selfish & Selfless   Fri Dec 12, 2008 4:41 pm

Alright. I've read both.

I really like your writing. It's really good. Nice job.

Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Selfish & Selfless   Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:13 pm

You've read both versions? What did you think of the edited version?

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PostSubject: Re: Selfish & Selfless   Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:00 am

I liked it. But I liked them both, either way is fine with me. santa

Tee-hee. I can't wait for Christmas.
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PostSubject: Re: Selfish & Selfless   Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:17 am

Yes, Christmas is a thing to look forward to. Sadly, my mother is holding Breaking Dawn hostage from me until Christmas ....

Sad

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PostSubject: Re: Selfish & Selfless   Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:03 am

Oh my. That would kill me. It's an AMAZING book. Well, the writing is done really well, and I like the story. Just not some of the stuff that happens in it. Neutral If that made any sense at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Selfish & Selfless   Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:31 pm

Yeah, it makes sense.

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PostSubject: Re: Selfish & Selfless   Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:38 pm

Yea lol I understood it Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Selfish & Selfless   Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:36 pm

Good ... good.

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