This is my first attempt at writing short story. Constructive feedback and comments appreciated.
The dream keeps coming back to haunt him. Digging a hole, he lies down peacefully waiting for death to come. He is not sure why this dream bothers him anymore.
Peering out of his shelter he looked at the gray sky, pregnant with a hint of impending storm. A light drizzle had started to fall, saturating the damp earth. Wind was blowing hard, he could see the tree tops bending to the onslaught of the raging storm. He could not hear the howling wind anymore, his lost hearing now substituted by distant thunder of gunfire in his brain. Maybe he is suffering from PTSD.
There was a time when he looked out of his kitchen window and marveled at the beauty and fury of nature as storms raged outside. He could not hear the howling wind then also, the sound of the storm muffled by thick, double paned glass.
As he tried to adjust the tarpaulin, he remembered vividly the day when he signed the paperwork for his first home. The realtor and the loan agent shook his hand, proclaiming that he was a homeowner now. He had achieved the American dream, they said.
Soon thereafter the owner of the small business he worked for drove up one day on his gold colored Mercedes and announced that he would have to declare bankruptcy to save his business. Unfortunately he won’t be able to save any jobs. The bank called soon after and said that the house would be foreclosed as he defaulted. He tried to call the realtor and the loan agent for help but did not get any response. He does not have a phone any more, a luxury he can’t afford.
First few days in the shelter was really hard on his wife and little daughter. “Thou shall not steal”, how many times he had told his only child as he tried to teach her the gospels.
He could only look impotently as the social services came to take away their daughter, their only child. His wife must have hit her hard because the little one had stolen a piece of cake from the shelter pantry. Guess hunger overruled the teachings of the gospels that fateful day.
Earth had shifted from under his feet when police took him to the morgue to identify the corpse of his wife. How at peace she looked, her blood stained clothes pressed to her body by the car that ran over her. The driver of the car that hit her as she was panhandling in the busy intersection was never apprehended. He was busy at that moment, cleaning up and getting ready for his first job interview in years. Otherwise he would have joined her, as he always did, panhandling to survive.
He is a fighter, not a quitter. He looked around him, he had chosen the shelter spot carefully. The steep embankment of the road has sheltered him well from the raging storm. Water running down the embankment is sipping through the cardboard. He put more layers of cardboard that he got from the nearby grocery shop trash can on the floor. As long as the tarp on top holds, he is safe from the rains.
He sighed deeply and closed his eyes, trying to catch some sleep that eludes him now a days. The recurring dream disturbs him a lot. Digging a hole, he lies down peacefully waiting for death to come. He is not sure why this dream bothers him anymore.
He was a fan of Andy Warhol at one time. In his disturbed sleep, he chuckled thinking about his fifteen minutes of fame. It is fortunate that he did not see the headlines in the local newspaper next day morning. He had not read newspapers in a long time. The headlines screamed, “Homeless man buried under tons of mud as the road collapsed due to incessant overnight rains”.
His fifteen minutes of fame had no name.