The Hard Way

What is life when all sanity is lost?
What is life when there is no life to live?
What is life when the everything is against you?

Jacob is homeless.

You probably see him everyday... sitting there... with that dark realization of fear. With no food, water and no place to call home, he sets off on a journey, venturing the dystopian and ragged corners of society. He braves the elements, his own childhood, and the world is out to bring him down.

Jacob is homeless, it ain't no fairytale...


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2. Jonathan

“Sterling! Report to Sergeant Baxter’s office now!” bleated the intercom. The sound blasted through the dusty corridors of the police station, somehow drowning the sound the Wireless department. I at the time, apart from sneakily eating cheese sandwich, was writing a report in my own private office. Think about it, my own private office. The promotion appeared recently in my pigeon hole. I was ecstatic. Such promotions were rare in the London police department; the dusty, murky London police department. Why through my pigeon hole? We were all very proud of our privacy here. No daily announcements or assemblies. No stuffy board meetings, only mail.

“I repeat Sterling report to Sergeant Baxter’s office now!” Even the intercom sounded frustrated. As a child, I always wondered who spoke out the intercom. I was a lot less impressive now that I knew… I pondered for a second, like everybody else in this life of death situation. Going to the head teacher’s room is unnerving, some may say. Was it a sacking I was leading myself to, or was it another promotion. I doubt it. I tried to stay calm but before I could make for the door, I was already there.

I had no idea how I got there. I certainly didn’t go there myself. I couldn’t remember opening my door, or any other doors for that matter. I pondered again, until my natural instincts told my right arm to knock. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear… I felt quite volatile at the moment. If he shouted at me, would I shout back, or cry? In a ‘less fortunate’ meeting, if he cried, would I leave? Anyway, the door opened with an ominous creak…  I entered with a positive attitude with the sergeant quietly admiring a vibrant painting on the desk. He only noticed me when I sat down.

            “Sir. You summoned me…” I started,

“Mr Sterling!” he chirped, “I have something for you!” He slid a navy blue file across the oak desk. I stopped its path and sat down,

“What is it sir?” I replied, trying my best to hide my northern accent.

“Well I don’t know. It came through my pigeon hole! It probably came from Sergeant Carlson…” Again I pondered. What was it? I opened the file, examining the text and the badly-taken black-and-white images.

“We need you to…” he started to speak again, but I stopped listening there. Oh, I thought. It is just a brief.

For the next tiring hour, I was briefed by the sergeant. I noted how a teenager, about twelve years old, robbed a shop. Anyway I left the office and returned to eating my sandwich, which was now stinking of mould. A bell went, just like in school. And a stampede of officers left the building, including me. My home wasn’t too far away, only a few roads away from the police station. It was the end of the day, but I still had a task to complete. Find the thief. Catch the thief; simple. Well that was what I thought. The streets today are full of thieves, beggars and louts. They make the place stink. We policeman move them along, not in life, but just further down the same road…

Every day I stop at the same bakery, get the same loaf of bread and give the same sarcastic smile to the baker. I am not homeless but I don’t have much money. I live alone but I find my own company worthwhile. My job pays my wages and my wages pay off my bills. I get no tips and anyway, whose there to give them? Plus, I’m not allowed to accept them… The baker at the shop never notices me; I just leave the money on the run-down counter. The bread isn’t of top quality. Well that is not surprising because my life is not top quality either! Anyway, this all happened just by the corner shop which is about thirty paces away from the bakery. The street sign is barely readable and most of the other independent shops were boarded up and smashed. Still, I proceeded down the street, and that’s when it hit me…

The feeling was indescribable but my reaction proved helpful. I stopped walking. This wasn’t right. Glass littered the pavement and smoke crept round the end of the road. A bullet casing lay lifeless on a nearby bench and birds were everywhere, scoffing large chunks of bread in their mouths. I turned the corner again and what I saw as horrific. The window of the bakery was shattered and shelves hung out it. Bread was scattered over the pavement and the baker, who was still in a berserk frenzy, was going mental. As a policeman, you are supposed to deal with these ‘calamities’, but in my case, I had never been in the field. The baker noticed me, probably for the first time, and I noticed the raging inferno is his eyes. His shop and his life was scattered everywhere.

Then it hit me.

A boy, twelve years old, robs a bakery. Which bakery I hear you say, well, I can let you guess.

            “My first clue” I muttered to myself. The chase had begun…

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