The Boy With No Name

The Boy With No Name (January 2019, Round 3, Day 4)

The boy with no name shivered and moved further back into the corner, disappearing in the shadows. He didn’t trust the big men lumbering about between the dumpsters nearly as much as he trusted the rats that ran over his legs. Four-legged creatures had never hurt him. He couldn’t say the same for two-legged ones. 

He’d always lived in the shadows, and always on his own. He found what he needed most of the time and didn’t know what might have been missing. Yesterday he’d slept in a doorway. Tonight, he was going to sleep under the long bench at the far end of the park. Once the men left – he wouldn’t leave his spot until they were gone.

It took a long time for them to give up. They were looking for something and getting mad at each other while they hunted. The boy with no name didn’t like anger. He knew when it was there – voices and bodies were different when they were mad, and those differences made the air feel strange around him. He stretched his mouth into a smile and willed the men to be done with their anger. It didn’t seem to work. They left the alley grumbling at each other and taking the strange air with them. The boy with no name let his face relax.

Night had landed while the men searched so the alley was dark except for the pools of light cast by the few security fixtures that still worked. The boy with no name wove his path between those pools, staying in the darkness that felt safer. It wasn’t good to be seen by men – they were dangerous, especially in the alleys. It wasn’t always good to be seen by women, either – even though they liked to give him food, they also wanted to bring him inside. Outside was where the boy with no name had always been. It was where he felt he belonged. 

He paused at the mouth of the alley, scanning for people who might have posed a threat. The sidewalk was quiet except for one small person. The boy with no name crouched down, hidden again in the shadows, and watched. This small person was alone and scared. Fear was something he felt often enough to recognize. He could tell from the small person’s body and from the smell in the air. The boy with no name put on his smile again and sent happy thoughts to the small person. Unlike the oblivious angry men, the thoughts seemed to work and the small person turned around to face the boy with no name, even though he was well hidden. 

It wasn’t like him to leave his hiding places, and it wasn’t like him to approach strangers, and it certainly wasn’t like him to touch other two-legged creatures. Still, he stepped out onto the sidewalk, in plain sight, and walked over to the small person who, he could tell now that he was closer, was a boy like himself. 

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