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.


God Give Me Strength

English: Seen in a downtown eastside vicinity ...

She was lying half-dead in the alley behind the bar. Only moments earlier she had shot up. Her earlier fix was beginning to wear off. She could hear a noise from behind her but her body did not want to move.

A bag of cement felt lighter than she did. Her eyes closed, needle laying in her hand. Soft rain falling on her bare legs the soft cry continued. God help me or kill me. I don’t want to end up dead like the others were her thoughts.

Less than an hour ago a stranger had taken her to this alley and stuffed some bills in her hand. He pleasured himself at her expense and then left her there. The only way she knew how to rid the guilt and shame was to forget it through  a drug.

Sara had been kicked out by her mom a year ago. Her mom was an alcoholic. Sara couldn’t even begin to count how many men went in and out of her mom’s bedroom door. All it took was one guy, one jack-ass to say they could have more fun if they could just have the house to themselves; and out on the streets she went.

She was too young to get enough pay to have a roof over her head. All she knew how to do was be a stupid waitress. The pay  was squat. Through customers she had met another young girl like herself. They got to talking and in no time at all Sara moved in with her.

What the new friend omitted from the conversations  was that she was a hooker. Through learning how to dress and apply her make-up it took very little time and Sara was out hooking also.

She still had very little money turning her profits over to her John. But she did manage to have enough money to pay her half of the rent and put a little food in her gut. Now she was here lying in the dark left to die.

Oh please dear God hear my cry. I didn’t mean for this to happen. I never wanted to be my mother. Please help me Lord. I know I don’t usually talk to you, but right this minute I am dead serious.

She floated in and out of sleep. Her body healing once again. The drug having kicked in she was a little more stable. When her eyes did open she could faintly hear the cry in the background.

Where is that coming from? It sounds like a baby? She somehow managed to pull herself together and sit in an upright position. She was leaning against the big rusty dumpster. She heard the cry again. Help me Lord. Someone needs my help, please Lord help me do this.

She stood on wobbly legs and saw the syringe in her hand. She looked at it and then threw it as hard as she could down the alley. I don’t want to do this anymore God. I need you right now.

The dumpster was about two feet taller than her. She found some old plastic milk crates and stacked two of them and climbed on top and peered down into the trash. Oh my god, there is a baby laying there. She leaned over as far as she could but she couldn’t touch the baby.

She went and got two more crates and standing on them she was able to grab the baby.  She pulled it up and out and hugged it to her chest. She had no idea how long the baby had been there but the little one was cold.

Sara had nothing to put on the baby. She laid it down on and dug through the trash. She found a few newspapers that were cleaner than the others and wrapped the baby up and as she hugged him she kept muttering, it’s going to be ok baby. It’s going to be ok. Hush my little baby don’t say a word. I won’t let anything happen to you like it did with me.

Sara didn’t really think anymore. She took the baby and went to her apartment. It was quiet. Her room-mate must be out on a job. She ran some warm water in the kitchen sink. She got one of their clean dish towels and one of her own tank tops.

Gently she lowered the baby into the warm water. Singing Rock-A-Bye-Baby she took great care to make sure the baby was clean all over. She found two bobby pins and used these to keep the home-made diaper on. She carefully placed the shirt on. Then she got a bath towel and wrapped the baby up.

The two of them laid on the bed and then both drifted into sleep. Soon the front door opened and her roommate came in. She stood in the bedroom door way with mouth gaped open.

“What in the hell is this? Who’s baby is that? Did you take up baby sitting now?” the roommate asked.

“I found him in the alley. He was crying. I had to help him.”

“You can’t keep no baby here. What are you going to do with him? What are you going to do take him along with you on your job?” the girl asked with laughter.

” I’m going home. I don’t want this life anymore. I am done with drugs. I am sick of men. I never asked for this life. You forced it on me”.

” What, you think you’re going to keep that thing? You, a mom? Don’t make me puke!”

Sara ignored her as her fingers played softly with the baby’s fingers. She got up off of the bed and took her suitcase out of the closet. Anything she could stuff in it, she did. Her roomy threw her arms up in the air saying, ” Girl you are a lost cause. Don’t try running back here when you sink out there. I gave you a chance and now you are blowing it.” She turned and left the room.

Sara grabbed the baby. Threw her purse over her shoulder and with the other hand grabbed her bag and the two left the apartment never to look back.

Actually Sara was not going home. She was not welcome and she didn’t want this innocent baby thrust into that atmosphere. She walked for blocks. Her legs were becoming weak. The drug had worn off, but she didn’t care. She was done with it all. This baby needs me. I need this baby.

It was getting very late and the chill of the night was going straight for her bones. She drew the towel closer around the baby. She had walked about another block when a police car pulled up to them.

” May I help you?’ he asked after he rolled his window down. At first Sara ignored him. After all he was a pig. Pigs were bad. Pigs put you in jail. The cop snailed along beside her. She kept walking.

She heard his car door. He was getting out. Then he was standing right in front of her. ” What’s going on here Miss? Are you in trouble? Look I can help just tell me what the problem is.”

Sara looked in to the officer’s eyes. She knew that she had no where else to turn. She spoke softly, ” I found this baby. I took him home with me and gave him a bath. I dressed him. He needs me and I need him. I am going to take care of him. Can you help us?’

The officer’s heart melted. He recognized the woman as a hooker. He had arrested her many months ago. He hadn’t seen her on the streets for so long he figured she had gotten her act together.

He led the two back to the car. He radioed in that he had a female with him and he was going to a homeless shelter to drop her off. He started the car and they went to the home. Before letting her out he told her, “It is late lady. I will be back tomorrow afternoon. We will then take the baby to the hospital to have it checked out. I will go back to the station and see if I can find any info out on him.”

Sara nodded and got out of the car. The officer carried her bag and let the two in the front door. He explained to the woman behind the desk that these two needed a safe haven for the night and he would be back tomorrow to pick them up. Then he said, “good nite, see you tomorrow”.

Was this cop for real? He didn’t even take me in to the cop shop? Who was this guy? I am not going to stay here and delay the obvious fact that he will take my baby tomorrow. I must leave now.

It was as if someone had a hold of her shoulders keeping her in place. Her mind wanted to flee but her feet stood their ground. The lady led them to a small room. It had a twin bed and one shabby dresser with paint chipped off. There was a portable closet where she put her bag.

The lady left them and Sara laid on the bed putting the baby on her stomach. She could feel the grumbling of the baby’s tummy. Food, oh my god, this baby is probably starving. How long has it been since he has eaten? What does he eat?

She looked at him trying to guess his age. She looked in his mouth but saw no teeth. She got up and took the baby back to the front desk. She explained to the woman, ” We had to leave in such a hurry I forgot to pack the baby’s bottles and food. Is there any way you can help us?”

The lady said,”just a moment, let me go check. We have a pantry back here where people drop off donations”. A few minutes later the woman came back with two jars of baby food and three pre-filled bottles. She handed them to Sara with a smile, ” I hope this helps.”

Sara thanked her and returned to her room. She was looking at the baby food jars when a knock at the door sounded. When she opened it there was the woman with a baby spoon, some baby clothes and a box of diapers.

Tears welled in Sara’s eyes. She had only known this baby a few hours and yet she loved him more than life. Grateful for the items she took them and thanked her.

She opened the one jar of applesauce and fumbled the first few tries of feeding the baby. It was if she could not get the food in that sweet little mouth fast enough. Afterwards she opened up one of the bottles and the baby drank until it was empty.

Sara took the towel and the tank top off. She put a clean diaper on and dressed him. Her heart fell to her knees as she picked him up and he smiled at her. She placed him next to her heart and whispered, ” I love you baby. I am going to name you Joseph. I learned about him when I would go to that church when I was a kid. Joseph, yes it fits you perfect.”

The two laid back down and sleep came easily. The next morning the woman appeared at her door with new bottles and two more jars of baby food. She had also brought Sara a tray with some boxed cereal and a cup of milk. One cake doughnut was there also. Sara smiled at the woman. ” I will never forget you mam. You have done more for my baby and me than my own mom.”

” I know life can be tough. I have had my share of sorrows in life too. You two just rest until the officer comes back.”

The baby napped and Sara got her bag out of the closet. She took some clean clothes and went into the bathroom and washed up as good as she could with what she had. She came back out to check on Joseph. She thought back to how her own mom had kicked her out so easily. Was a man’s attention so powerful that it overtook your own children? I would never do that to you little one. No matter what happens in life I will never do that to you.

Lunch time came and a sandwich and chips and a carton of milk were given to her. After she ate the door sounded and when she opened it there stood the officer. She let him in and he stood gazing out the one window. It was if he was trying to figure out the correct wording he wanted to say.

He turned to Sara and said, ” I have checked the files. There is no report of any lost or stolen baby. The hospital has no records of anyone coming through the ER for maternity care. I have a feeling this baby was plain not wanted. It is a darn shame when things like this happen. I think some kind of miracle happened here. What do you think?”

Sara looked at him and then lowered her eyes. She wasn’t sure where he was going with this conversation. She went to the bed and picked up baby Joseph and rocked him in her arms.

The officer could see that this woman cared for this baby. He tapped his fingers to his lips and then said, ” I have an idea. Do you want to hear it?” Sara nodded. ” I know of a place about five miles from here. It is a home where girls go to have their babies. Now this place is a little different. The people there teach you how to properly care for a baby.  They exam the baby and make sure he is alright and they make certain medical care is provided. They set you up with counselors and help you get a job. The state comes in after paper work has been approved and pays for your transportation and baby care. What do you think about going there?”

Sara had fat tears streaming down her cheeks. She quickly thought back to the alley. The alley where she had almost killed herself. The blackened space where she cried out to God for help. There must be a God. There has to be a God. This should not be going this way. Oh God you have answered me. You have heard my cries.

She told the officer,”Yes, I will go there. I need all the help I can get to be the best mommy ever to Joseph.”

“Joseph? You named him already? Now I want to remind you of something very important young lady. This is not a permanent situation. The search will continue to find who this baby belongs to. When we find the mother, you will have to give um Joseph up. Do you understand?”

Sara nodded but for the first time in her life she felt confident that she was going to be Joseph’s mother for the rest of her life.

The officer waited for her to gather her things together. After helping her get everything in the car they drove the silent drive to their new home. A large white house with black shutters adorning each sparkling window. A huge wrap-a-round porch with a porch swing and several rockers spaced around.

They were led into the house by the house manager and shown to their new room. She gasped as she saw the pretty pink bedspread with ruffles all around the edges. Pink matching curtains stood surrounding  the window. In one corner was a rocking chair. Beside the rocker was a crib. In the crib was a stuffed animal and a quilt for the baby.

There were not one but two dressers for their clothes and a closet you could walk into. Sara laid down little Joseph in the crib and walked over to the house parent and gave her a big hug. With tears rolling down her face she said, ” thank you so much for helping us Marge. Thank- you God for hearing my prayers”. The manager glanced over at the policeman and saw watery eyes.

It just so happened that this officer was not only a policeman protecting the city, he was also a teacher for high-school students at a church near by. The policeman bid his farewells and are you surprised to know that they never found that baby’s mother? Are you shocked at the miracle that has been performed by our almighty father in heaven?

God works in mysterious ways. His ways are not our ways.  His reasons are not our reasons. But when he knows we are sincere and we are ready to make a change for the positive he can move mountains.

There was a rumor about a year later that one of the ladies at the homeless shelter was starting her first year in college. Her baby was walking and had quite a vocabulary at such a young age.I sure hope it was Sara and Joseph, the officer thought to himself.

Picture It And Write It, July 8th, 2012














I dare you! Come on, floor it! Put the pedal to the metal! Come on you coward, what are you waiting for! Hit me, run over me!

These sickly thoughts were spinning round and round inside of her head. She wanted to die, and the driver was stalling. Testing her spirit, staying back, causing her legs to feel shaky, she stood her ground.

This was my life back in 2010. I had run away from home when I was 14, and had been living my life on the streets. Every part of my being had been used at the gain of others pleasures. I had been blindfolded and forced to endure the pains of needles and the relentless dreams and nightmares these illegal drugs had brought into my mind, until I had gotten to the point, I could no longer function as a person, without these administrations of drugs.

My father had been the talk of the town, a loser, an alcoholic, and my mother stayed hidden at home, behind closed drapes, hooked on drugs. Children learn from their parents, and I had learned from them that life was worthless.  They didn’t ever notice if I was there or not, so I left.

I wanted someone to care, to love me, to hold me. I was a pretty girl, slender, tall. I had what others wanted.  I spent the first night alone on the street, hidden away by the shadows of the trees behind the school-house.

The second night, I made it into the center of downtown, and was sitting on the steps of one of the businesses, when a group of young women came by me and sat down next to me. After talking for a while, I stood up with them and followed them into my stages of hell.

They took me under their wings and taught me how to dress and wear my make-up. They introduced me to their boss, who then introduced me to the life my mother knew so well. I slept all day and used drugs to stay up all night to endure the pain.

One night when I was out standing on my well-known corner, I was arrested for doing business with an under cover officer. He took me to jail, and as I had no one to call, I had to sit here and wait out my sentence.

While in there, I was able to talk to others, who had been arrested for the same things, and heard their tales and woes. I ended up in the corner of the cell vomiting, as the words I had been hearing, were the words of my life. I wanted to die, I wanted out, but had nowhere to turn. I ended up on the cot, with my eyes closed, but my ears were still honed into the conversations around me.

Two days later, I was released, and walked out into the brightness of day. I knew I didn’t want to go back to my temporary home, and I could not go home. I wandered the streets, stopping at a cafe for some food, and while there, trying to figure my way out of this. The more I thought, the more confused I became.

That night, I walked towards the interstate, and as a few cars passed by, I entered the highway and stood there, waiting to get hit, to kill me, to rid me of my pain. The car did come, but it stopped. I screamed at the car as it continued to keep its headlights centered on my person. Neither of us moved for what seemed like hours.

Another car pulled up and within seconds an officer was standing before me. He placed his arm around me, and I wanted to hit and kick him, but his words reached my aching soul. He spoke of caring, and confusion, and I heard words being spoken that I didn’t really want to take my life.

I was tired and confused and the pain was over bearing, and I found my body turning towards him, and placing my head in his shoulder. I could hear myself sobbing, and I could feel myself shivering.

The officer took me to a shelter, and after filling out the needed paper work, I was placed from there to a help-center, where I lived for the next year.

I don’t know who that officer was, but I wish I could thank him for saving my life. Soon, I would look him up and tell him thank-you in person.

Thank-you Ermilia for another chance to write for you.

The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken", ...

Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”, 1874 – 1963 (Photo credit: Tony Fischer Photography)

Help me, help me. Robert reached out his hand to each one who walked by. One person stopped, and threw him a five, and along with this offered him some advice, get a job, loser. Robert hurriedly grabbed the money and stuffed it in his shirt pocket, making sure that no other would get to it first.

Robert had been a success in his own eyes. He had started out with nothing, and was taught , that if you want something, you work for it. He had been raised by his aunt and uncle from the time he was a young teen. They had taken him in out of pity. Robert’s parents had been in an auto accident, and both had been killed. Robert had been raised in a country setting,  his parents poor, but proud. They lived off of the land, and were also God-fearing people.

After the accident, Robert was moved into the city, and had no idea on how to interact with city kids. He felt lost most of the time, only making one  friend in his new school. The new kid, Ryan, took Robert under his wing and showed him how to become a leader. Ryan would constantly teach Robert, that you had to do what you could, push others out-of-the-way in order to get to the top. The goal, to be worshiped and admired, to have envy from others of what you owned, which was power.

Robert’s aunt and uncle didn’t have much money, but the little that was left to take care of Robert, was enough for them to take him in. They let him live his own life, not getting involved with the finishing of raising him. Their  interest lie more with the check that they received at the beginning of the month for Robert’s care.

Robert and Ryan were like teacher and student. Ryan showed him the ropes. He taught him  selfishness  was the way to gain power. Many times Robert left his mark behind, as he robbed houses, and broke into businesses. The mark he left was in sorrow and sadness as people and businesses tried to move on with their lives from the damages  he had caused.

It wasn’t long after Robert graduated that he had accumulated a small gathering, a following of men who wanted to be just like him. Robert had eyes for the ladies also. There was one in particular, that had the face of his mother. She, didn’t want anything to do with him at first, but he didn’t give up. He kept finding her out, learned where she lived, and where she worked. He had to make her his. Each time they talked, something would soften inside of him, and eventually, Lorna, did get to know the person that he showed her.

Less than six months later he married Lorna, and he kept  her safe at home while he went out and did his work. He loved her, he was putty in her hands, but he had a reputation to keep, and he had jobs to perform, and so his secret life was kept hidden from her.

The monies were flowing in regularly now. He had people who watched his back and people that he could trust. His leadership was no secret on the streets. Drugs were his main income. Purchasing and selling. He didn’t rob homes or businesses any longer, as they didn’t prove enough income for him.

Soon he had enough money to move Lorna away from the city. He purchased a home, hidden by trees, that lined a long path to the house. He moved Lorna and their new baby boy to the country. This gave him comfort as he knew that she would always be out of harm’s way.

Lorna knew that he had another side to him, but she didn’t know what it involved. She took care of the house and their new son, and spent many hours in prayer, praying for her husband to see the light of God, and to give up what she knew was bad for him. When Robert walked through their door, she could see a rough exterior, but with her gentle personality and her love for him, he would relax, show her he loved her, and hold his son.

One day, during business, a client had not paid on time as he should have. Robert sent his partners to the client’s house to get him to pay up. The client, knowing how Robert was, and fearing for his own life, was prepared to fight. When Robert’s thugs knocked on the door, no one answered. They were standing in silence, waiting for the door to bust open. When the door was forced open, the shots were heard. Firing rounds until all that been moving were now lifeless.

These clients wanted Robert off of the streets and out of their lives.They wanted a chance to be in charge, so they left the lifeless in the house and made their way to where Robert and his family lived. They barged in and took over the house, taking all that Robert had including his family, then after cleaning house, they started the house on fire. It was a tragedy. It made the head lines that very night.

Robert ended up being alone. His partners in crime had deserted him out of fear. He had lost his beloved wife and baby boy. His power was gone. All he had left was this tiny office that he held meetings in. He got his liquor bottle out of his desk drawer, and began to drink himself to death, but death didn’t win. Sometime, the next day, he ventured out into the daylight. He was headed out to see what remained of his house. When he reached his car, three thugs were waiting for him. They didn’t want to kill him, they wanted him to suffer. They shot him in the legs and arms, then they fled, leaving him there to bleed. A passer-by came  near and saw that he needed help, and called 911. Robert was taken to the hospital and survived his gun shots, but the shots had left him disabled.

When Robert was released a few weeks later, no one was there to offer him a ride or a place to stay. He was alone and found himself on the streets. He had lost everything due to his selfish greed and the wants for power. He made his way onto the sidewalk and walked, heading toward his office, when he collapsed. He was still weak from his injuries. He laid there on the sidewalk, and the tears started to fall. He knew he had messed up good. He knew that he had lost everything that ever mattered to him. He realized that he needed help. He reached up his hands as strangers passed by, asking for help. One passer-by threw him a five, and off him some advice, hey bud, get a job loser.