Through The Eyes Of An Outlander

An alien, a foreigner, an outlander, that's what Leo calls himself.Living in the homeless world of London, Leo tells us his story, his fall from fame. Here you will be taught to see through the eyes of an outlander.

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1. Outlander

Outlander!

The ache in my back against the cold hard floor, matches the ache in my stomach. I lean against the cold hard concrete, shivering as the howling wind ran down my spine. I cling to my sleeping bag; it's all I own . A glitzy night club looms in front of me, opposite where I sit crumpled on the pavement like a rag doll. Nights were long and cold on the streets and all you could do was wait until morning; even then you had no release from the numbing pain of homelessness. From the continuous slow drumming of your heart to your vision never being anything but grey as you stare down at the concrete, cracked and weak from the world's cold harsh footsteps. 

I watch as they saunter in the night club, with their painted faces as if they couldn't see me, as if I was part of another world, molded into the littered street and the darkened shop doorway.

Sound is drowned out to the dull whisper of rain, battering the gutter like a hail of bullets. I stare at the floor with it's ominous shadows as people walk past smiles and laughs plastered on their faces, ready for a night on the town. Nobody looks, nobody even glances, nobody knows I'm there. I'm invisible, an alien alienated in this ignorant uncaring world.

I remember at school once when they taught us about homeless people. It took a sad video to make anyone care about them and by lunch no one remembered, no one cared, no one wanted to care. No one knew. I didn't know. The rain hammers relentlessly like the drumming of a thousand nails as it falls against the shop window.

A tear runs down my cheek as I sit alone in the ominous darkness with a heart beat that no one can hear. No one would want to hear. I watch as countless lovers hide under the cover of the darkness like a warm embrace. To me darkness is lonely, deadly. To them darkness is happiness,shelter. While they wonder love sick in the night, I wage wars with myself about where my life could have gone, where I would be now if things had been a little different. The wind howls as if crying with me. I'm frozen in fear every time I hear footsteps, either a helping hand or a beating boot. Anyone could appear from the shadows. The street lights flicker in the distance like a spotlight. But I'm not under it, not now, not any more. I look down at my bowlers hat a reminder of the adrenaline of performing, the fists pumping in the air, the smell of dancing, of singing, of laughter. The feel of being in a French restaurant you can't pronounce the name of, the bubbling of champagne. The smell of chocolate and the taste of lemonade. The feeling of having everything and not even realizing it.

I watch as someone drops a bag of chips into the bin, I run towards it. The first thing homelessness took away from me was pride. But I wasn't fast enough, someone got there first. Well it was a free country, right? Funny thing about homelessness was that once you were kicked out of society, everything was free. You needed everything but you wanted nothing. I needed clean clothes and a bed, a home. I needed food and drink but I wanted nothing. I didn't want a phone upgrade or the latest video game, I didn't want hair gel or an Xbox, I needed a house, a home.

I remembered my first night on the street because it had been like all the others. No, it had been worse than all the others. When I was evicted from my flat I thought I was ready for this, for homelessness but I was like a child back then, naïve and stupid. I thought I could make some money busking. Get back on my feet again, but I know now. To be homeless you had to make yourself invisible or people would just knock you down. I was sitting there on the curb of the street.

Back then I wasn't a true homeless person, at least I didn't look it. My hair was still dyed black and more spiky than Sonic the Hedgehog's. My earring were still silver and my clothes were still intact. I had a suitcase, a suitcase for crying out loud. As if I was going to Turkey or booking in to a five star hotel. But the only hotel I was booking into was the local shop doorway. I lent against my suitcase, my guitar lain on the pavement in front of me. I had sung and played all day and as I looked into my bowlers hat all I saw was a swirl of coppers. Suddenly I heard shouting from across the street, probably just some drunken dossers, I thought to myself. And then I remembered, I was a dosser. They stumbled through the streets, in their blinding abyss and I shrunk back. I felt vulnerable without the four walls of my studio flat. But suddenly my guitar gave a twang and their eyes turned to the shadows that no longer protected me.

“Oi, look over their at the dirty dosser!” One of the men said, I shrank back further.

“Na, look, it's just some kid!” The other laughed, “Your a little far from home, aren't you Dorothy?” He went to grab my guitar but I pulled away.

“What's the matter, cat got your tongue,” Snatcher's friend said.

“Look, I don't want any trouble...” I began. They were on either side of me now and as I took another step back I felt the shop door hard and solid against my back. Right then, I wished it could melt away.

“Well we do!” Snatcher said and he reached for my guitar again. I was terrified so I lifted my guitar slammed it into his head and made a run for it. But of course his henchman was right there waiting. Next thing I knew I was pinned to the wall and the rest is a bit of a blur. Other than the pain of course, the excruciating pain as they kicked me about like a bin bag. They grabbed my suitcase and guitar and fled from my bleeding body. They took my guitar, my career. They took my suitcase: my clothes, my belongings, my identity. That was when I realized, what homelessness really was.

Tonight it was to begin again, my journey to find someone who didn't think I was a scam or a druggie, someone who would believe that I was a starving man, looking for salvation in a cup of coffee and a chocolate muffin. But no thanks to all those fraudsters, for the homeless, for me, it's us against the world. I feel as if I'm eroding in the rain as every turn down smashes my heart into smithereens. I remembered once upon a time being on the same side as the painted people, the high flyers but one good thing could turn into a blood-curdling nightmare. All they did was take, take, take until I had nothing to give and they left me on the curb to curl up here and die. My heart beats like a leaking tap with no plumber to stop it, no one to care. I'm wet, cold and hungry and I just want to go home. But home is a foreign word to me now. Just like I'm a foreigner in the cold foreboding world, an outlander.

All I wanted was for some help, anything to teach me how to live again. I could use someone that hasn't forgotten the art of not judging a book by it's cover, someone who will see me for who I really am.

Before, I looked down at everything I saw, when I was superficial, when I was one of the painted people. But now I had no choice but to look down because I was down, falling down an endless spiral. I was just apart of the ground as the dead leaves and the littered cans that lay on the floor. Right now life wasn't worth living, so I was just drifting forward because in the end, I had no choice. I just had to take one step forward. Then another. Then another, until the end.

I opened my eyes and it looked like finally, after seven months of hell,I was being set free. She reached out her hands, her soft smooth, pampered hands towards my ruff, calloused ones. I pulled away at first not believing what was happening. I felt like an animal being let out of it's cage.

“My names Coral, what's yours?” Said Coral. Coral, like the seaside, fresh and airy. She looked safe, like she would protect me but I wasn't sure, I hadn't talked to another human being in months.

“Leo,” I mumbled, my voice nothing more than a throaty rasp. I had been deprived of any water unless it was from the sky.

“Leo..well your as tough as a lion that's for sure, that's a nasty cut you've got there,” She said, gently skimming her hands over my arm.

“Sleeping on glass takes its toll I guess,” I mumbled.

“Well Leo, you won't have to worry about that any more!” Coral said, her big blue eyes staring at mine. I had noticed she had crouched down so that we were level. She wasn't like the painted people, to her, we were equal. Her velvet coat brushed against my leg reminding me of the feel of mum's sofas.

This was my light at the end of the tunnel, my other place, beyond the dirt and grime of the street. She reached her hand out towards me again and with a shaky sigh of relief I grasped it. Finally, I was going home, I would be an outlander no longer. I was ready now.

Inspired by Kings Of Leon Use Somebody

 

 

 

 

 

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