The Burning Image

A troubled life followed the kid into his adulthood. Drugs and too much sex destroyed his


mind and his body. He was filled with guilt and now equally filled with a bad sickness. Lying on his bed filled with other  patients he wanted to die.

He blamed everyone for where he was today. He didn’t like his parents rules so he ran a way from home. It didn’t take him long to learn that he had made a mistake but his pride kept him from going back, so he learned to let the streets suck him in.

Having nowhere to go after his friend’s parents kicked him out he stayed at different homes eventually sleeping in cars. For a couple of weeks he found an abandoned garage and he curled up in some old blankets each night. Then he got busted and almost had the cops called on him but he ran faster and escaped.

During his travels he experienced what it was like to be used and dumped. He slept with whom ever offered him a bed as the nights turned colder. It wasn’t important to him who he stayed the night with. It was more about staying warm and free from snowy weather.

He found a small town bar and he began a routine of hanging out and playing pool. He used his wit to lure people into trusting him into their lives, even if for a short time. He not only let others use him, he traded sex for theft of money or valuables on his way out the door early in the mornings.

He used the money and sold his finds on the street. This fed and clothed him. The vicious circle consumed him and he began to drink so much he didn’t even remember who he had been with the night before.

Had he even had sex or had he passed out before? Did he sleep with her or him or were there several? He didn’t know and he didn’t care anymore. This was his life as he knew it and there was no going back.

One night as he was doing his trickery of getting into a safe warm haven he got the tables turned. Instead of him doing the joke the joke was on him. It was a Saturday night and he was in his favorite bar.

Drinks were flowing and lies were being spoken. Eyes were concentrating on what could be taken. The time was coming near for the closed sign to be placed. A group of both sexes got together and invited this poor kid to their place for a continuing party.

He didn’t hesitate at all. He grabbed his coat and hat and took off with them. As soon as they got inside more drinks were poured. Lights were dimmed and music began to mesmerize the mind.

One drug was taken out and the table cleared. Later more types of drugs were used. Needles were exchanged from one person to the next. The minutes turned into hours and although he knew he was being passed from one person to the next, his mouth could not open to stop it.

He felt rough hungry hands feeding his body parts lifting him to heights he had never experienced before. Pain seared his body but in some mysterious way brought him even more pleasure.

Darkness turned to dawn and when his eyes opened pain was piercing his entire body. When he tried to sit up he fell back to the spot he had secured for the night. He looked around him and saw people sprawled around him.

He had to get out of here. He couldn’t do this anymore. He had enough. He laid there and his body hurt so bad that he began to weep. He wept for what he had done last night but did not remember. He wept for his life that he refused to change because of his pride. He wanted to die.

People started stirring and he forced himself to sit up. People were looking in empty bottles to see if there may be one more drop. Some were eating left over foods that had set out all night.

Without saying a word he stood up and walked past the zombies and out the front door. No one said goodbye, no one cared. He walked down to the bus stop. Hopping on and taking the first empty seat he was dropped off at the city park.

Snow was falling gently and it was a few days before Christmas. He found a cold bench and sat down. Looking out through hazy eyes he spotted the sparkly lights from the biggest Christmas tree he had ever seen. The star resting on top seemed to be speaking to him as the lights bounced off of the snowflakes.

His eyes were locked on the glistening picture and he felt a strange heat coming over him. It made him afraid as it felt like something strange was entering his body. He continued to sit and watch the magic until his body became so cold he had to move on.

He walked without knowing where and his body followed his footsteps. He was now standing in front of a big church and he saw shelter. He made his way up the steps and snuggled up as close to the wall to keep the winds from blowing on him. He didn’t sleep and he didn’t rest but the nagging feeling that someone was following him could not be shaken.

Startled by the music he stepped a way from his spot and walked around to the front of the church. There on the virgin snow was a live manger. People were gathered around it in a circle with lit candles singing songs.

He stood just out of sight and listened. Words of love piercing his ears entering his soul and touching his heart. Your sins have been forgiven, Jesus loves you, I surrender all. Come to me and I will give you rest.

He slowly moved closer to get a better look at this group that was singing. Then he collapsed. The next thing he saw was two children leaning over him. candle3

Mom, he’s awake. Come look Mom. His eyes are open.

Through the next few days he remained at this family’s home. He was nursed with good hot food and a warm soft bed. He was sick though and fevers came and went. He eventually had to be admitted to the hospital.

. When a diagnosis came in he was moved to a special floor that held many patients with the same sickness as him.

He remained here for some time. He continued to feel as if someone was close to him but seeing no one he tried his best to ignore it. One morning he awoke to a burning temperature. He dreamed in and out of reality. One time he saw a man with a gentle smile. This man burned into his mind. He heard a soft whisper and a hand reaching out to him.


Inside The Marble

Glass marbles

Standing inside the glass

Ribbons of color blind me

I place my hands against

Trying to push my way out

But I feel trapped

Each way I look

Is all the same

The same feel

The same touch

The same emotion

Running through my soul

Pressed hard against

With my head leaning in

But I see no way out

No softness calling

To me I will

Remain here

For the rest of

My days waiting

For an exit

To run through.

Terry Shepherd