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fic : beginnings 2/4

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  • s.riley@southampton.gov.uk
    for details see part 1. 2/4 Scott shivered and hunched deeper into the filthy blanket he huddled under. The sharp scratch of the brickwork behind his back was
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2001
      for details see part 1.


      Scott shivered and hunched deeper into the filthy blanket he huddled
      under. The sharp scratch of the brickwork behind his back was oddly
      comforting. It reminded him that the only danger he faced for the
      time being would come from one direction only. His life had begun to
      develop a pattern. Find a town, pass yourself off as blind, avoid the
      local street gangs as best you could and try not to be noticed so far
      as possible. When the local gang did find you either brazen it out or
      curl into a ball and hope they stopped kicking when they got bored.
      Scott had found that he had a pretty good talent for finding his way
      around with his eyes shut. He had a sense of where things were once
      he got his bearings. He also had a knack for taking money off the
      other street kids in the amusement arcades where they tended to hang
      out during the day. Table hockey and trick shots on the pool table
      for money earned him enough to eat, if not well. The downside to
      doing that was obvious enough. If he set the shots up he was okay, if
      they insisted on doing it he didn't stand a chance as he couldn't see
      to check they weren't cheating him. Then there was those who didn't
      like getting suckered by a blind kid anyway. That's when the beatings
      usually came. The first few times he had tried to fight back. Again,
      his spatial awareness helped him, but there were usually more of them
      than him and he'd taken a far worse beating as a result. He'd found
      quickly that curling into a ball and playing possum was his best
      defence. The hardest thing by far was keeping his eyes closed during
      the beatings.

      Things had been harder in this town, the street gangs more violent
      and less prone to be amused by a blind kids tricks. He'd had to
      resort to begging and that drew attention. Unlike the other kids he
      couldn't run away when the cops appeared to move him on. Hunger was a
      constant companion and he had to be careful with little things like
      not standing too quickly for fear that dizziness would overwhelm him.
      He was starting to get sick too. He needed to move south toward
      warmer climes where his breath wouldn't steam in the air once it got
      dark. Too little clothing and precious little shelter from the
      elements was taking its toll on his body. He could only sleep in
      snatches for fear of being discovered, being shaken out of fitful
      sleep and opening his eyes. Scott coughed, his breath hitching as he
      fought to bring his breathing under control and not retch up the
      precious little food he'd eaten in the last few days. Some of the
      bigger towns he's drifted through had soup kitchens that had
      sustained him, or shelters he'd been able to take advantage of for at
      least one night. This town barely tolerated the homeless let alone
      fed them. The local cops were almost as dangerous as the roving gangs
      they kept an eye on.

      A clatter down the alley drew Scott out of his introspection and
      back to reality with a start. He froze, head canted and desperately
      listening for a repeat of the sound or some idea of what was
      happening. Something or some one had knocked a trash can over. He
      concentrated on making himself smaller as muffled laughter reached
      his ears. He knew his back was to a wall and he was hidden as well as
      he knew how in the shadow of a dumpster, just another pile of rags
      and trash as far as a cursory inspection went. There were always
      those times people looked closer though. Scuffed footsteps drew
      closer and something heavy clanged against the dumpster making it
      shiver against his side. Slurred curses followed and then a warm, wet
      sensation seeped through to his shins. The laughter trailed away but
      still he lay still, listening. Finally sure it was safe he sat up and
      sniffed in disgust. A couple of drunks looking for somewhere to take
      a piss. Scott shivered again as the cold air stole any warmth,
      leaving his leg cold and clammy. He didn't care enough anymore to
      actually move. Finding somewhere else to sleep out the remainder of
      the night would take effort and risk of discovery. It just wasn't
      worth it.
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