Walking Through The Past
Sarah Edson, Grade 9, Marymount College
Warm puffs of air floated silently towards the dead sky. A young boy stood motionless outside the broken doors which bode him shelter from death.
It had been years since the time he lived within those walls. But he had no other place to go. The shelter was full; the streets were littered with officers on patrol, officers that would take him away, far away if they found him.
A small hand reached out. The wood was cool to the touch, beckoning winter eagerly. A shudder and a creak as the door swung open heavily and the small body hurried inside.
It smelt of decay. It smelt of death. But it was the last place; he would surely freeze and die that night if he were to risk another day within the small confines of the dumpster behind the building.
It had been years since the time he lived within these walls. Years since his father had come home, years since his mother had chased away his bad dreams. Upon the pale floorboards, he could still remember the stain of his parent's lives ebbing away. The red, the screams. He could still remember it all.
He shuffled through the broken down building quietly. The rugs were torn up, the wallpaper was peeling. It was dark and damp and cold, and nothing he knew to resemble his sanctuary remained intact.
His parent’s room was bare. It smelt of dust and glass covered the ground, but the boy trod painfully over to the corner and sat, huddling into himself for warmth.
In the growing still of night he was left alone to his thoughts. Why, why hadn't he stayed? He had ran, but he could have stayed. He could have mourned his parents until the police finally arrived. He could have told them who did it. But he didn't.
He had ran.
Not a day passed that he hadn't regretted his actions. Not a night passed where he slept restlessly, the horrors of that night following him like a plague, eating away at his soul.
He sat there in silence, his pale eyes staring out into the darkness. He remembered this room all too well. The way his mother would dress herself up and ask him how she looked, the many times his father would adjust his suit in the large mirror which now lay scattered across the floor.
The memories hurt. But the cold hurt more, stinging his nose and his eyes. It was winter. It was snowing. He had barely more than the clothes on his back, clothes which he had retrieved from poor souls who didn't survive the last winter. The bear he had dug out of the trash lay limply in his arms, its fur matted, its eye hanging from its thread.
He slept restlessly once again, his fears stronger, as if brought back in the flesh by the very place he now stayed.
He didn't wake until late in the morning. His skin was dry and his muscles were sore. He dare not move from his spot for hours yet. He trod back over the shards of glass, back down the frozen halls, back out the front door, back into the real world.
The sun hung low behind the grey clouds; everything during winter appeared much darker, much more sinister.
Down the streets only the cats travelled carefree, their heads held high as they scampered away from civilization.