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...


3. Reasons

It wasn’t my fault I’m here. It was my fault about what happened to the bakery, but it certainly wasn’t my fault that I did it. My life is a cycle, but I don’t mean the giggly subject in biology, I mean that I spend money, and then I need it again. How I get the money is the biggest problem though. Steeling? No unfortunately. I only do that for food. I can’t get a job and that means I have no livelihood.

That is all thanks to Gregory.

Good old Gregory. The mention of his name still has an effect on me. His greasy hair, his alcoholic breath; his black leather jacket… My Mum was a good person, the best person in my life. Gregory was bad. He left me sleeping rough. He hated me so much that he locked me out of the house. He would moan how that I was wasting his money by not getting a job however it wasn’t his money, it was Mum’s money. He spent the money on gambling, drinking and who-knows-what. I didn’t like to interfere…I couldn’t be bothered to make amends with him; he couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge my existence. Maybe I was too kind to him; maybe he was too kind me. Doubt it. In this situation anyone would run away, I promise you would…

Well, I have had no education; I’ve never had a job. Anyway, my life is mine to deal with…

After the robbery at the bakery, I snuck through the backstreets of London. With the weather bearing judgment upon me, I searched eagerly for shelter, no matter what it was. At this time of day, restaurants would dispose of their waste food products. Even when not eating out of bins, I feel like a rat, a vermin, a disgrace to the human race. I ran over the cobbles, rats scurrying out of my way. ‘Company...’ I thought sarcastically. The ruined street lamps guided me to low-lit square. The shops surrounded the square were filled with people; normal people. I felt their dagger-like-eyes digging into me; I created a mess, not just with my life, but on the streets as well.

 Some coins jingled in my pocket, tempting me to enter the vast array of retailers, but home was important. To keep my mind on track I took another bite of the stolen bread from in my jacket. Stolen food tasted good, apart from how mouldy it could be… I struggled to pass through the crowd without drawing attention to myself. I passed a butcher and noticed how it’s back gate hung on its hinges. The butchers itself was buzzing with life, the garden was a different story. I looked passed gate, noticing how this entire back garden had been forgotten about; the brown grass, the rotting apples underneath the dead tree… Home I thought and I entered the abandoned garden. Immediately I saw that someone had been here recently. Rats were everywhere scoffing chunks of rotting food from packets. Oh well.

Upon further inspection of the area, I found a cellar hatch. It was almost invisible under the protective ivy and bramble but it was easily accessible. An unfamiliar stench hung desolate in the air; a sort of mix between alcohol and rotting compost. The actual hatch itself was old and rusting, it’s wooden frame infested with rot, mould and bugs. I looked over my shoulder, making sure no one was following me. I liked my privacy and I’m sure they’d like theirs too. I weighed up my chances of opening the hatch. The lock was rusting but I didn’t trust the strength of my legs. I am severely underweight; you can literally see the grooves of my ribcage. You can literally play the xylophone on them! I lashed out with a kick, and thanks to my experience of urban street fights, the lock flew off the door, snapping the surrounding wooden frames. The rotting door creaked open and I got a stronger blast of the smell.

Looking into the cellar, I saw rats eating open packets of food and upturned crates. It wasn’t clear at first. On the first step down I noticed lanterns hanging from the ceiling and blankets lying idly on the floor. Then it came clear. Someone or something had been here before and judging by the food, had only just left. In this situation I’d run, but no I stayed. That is when bad things happened…

            “I wouldn’t do that if I were you…” said an ominous voice behind me. I stood rigid, feeling the hairs on the back of my neck spike up. Apart from the fact I had no idea what I was doing to offend him (or her) in the first place, I was standing in someone else’s home, their life, and that could kill me. I turned slowly, looking up the rotting stairwell at the black silhouette. The person was probably over six feet tall, and the definition of his shoulders certainly posed a threat to my miniscule strength. Like me, his clothes were ragged and from the tone of his voice, he wasn’t well. He took one step down the steps. ‘It’ was either chronically drunk or addicted to drugs but the way he swayed his arms around when it walked and the way it’s head was lop sided definitely gave me an advantage. I took on a combat stance, readying my fists for either a punch, or an incredibly risky block from a concrete fist.

This wasn’t my first fight. I had done many times over food, money and in this case, sleeping areas. If I was an animal, this would be a territorial standoff, a godly brawl to decide what goes. I didn’t like my chances. It’s muscles rippled beneath it’s torn shirt and the heavenly moonlight acted like a floodlight, easily reflecting off the person’s bald, scarred head.

            “Now I don’t want to fight.” I mumbled hazily, giving the impression of a helpless idiot. I could have done better, but acting like an escaped asylum patient is a bit offensive. I too swayed my arms and staggered wearily, but still keeping my eyes on the figure.

            “Sure you don’t…” the man said. ‘A man…’ I thought. I wouldn’t help however I gave myself mental praise. In a giant leap, the man landed with a thud and an unsatisfying crack. I was ready to fight; he was ready to fight. This was going to be a big one…

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