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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The Little Vagabonds

by Scott

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a piece of a longer writing project. You can view the entire project here: The Little Vagabonds

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Scott on December 15, 2010
"This chapter explains what happened to Charlie's dad, and how he was forced to grow up."

Growing Up

Charlie's heart felt as if it would burst. Behind him, Mira was sniffling and he knew that she wanted to stop. But she surprised him by continuing to run. Behind Mira, the little black kitten, with the little white mittens, was running as fast as it's four legs could carry it.

They had been running for about five minutes. The farther away from the restaurant the better. Charlie knew for certain that the manager would be calling the police. Once he did that, they would be looking for Charlie and Mira. And when they found them, they would split them up for sure.

Charlie had been searching through the dumpster looking for something to eat. He had just stuffed some half eaten bagels, a couple of croissants, and some sausages into his pocket when he heard a noise. Charlie looked up and into the face of a young looking man. He was close enough that Charlie could see his name tag. On it was the name TJ. The name tag indicated that TJ was the manager.

Charlie's blood froze, and it nothing to do with the cold weather. He grabbed Mira's hand and yelled, "Run!"

"Wait!" Charlie heard the man yell. "Come back! If you're hungry I'll give you something decent to eat!"

The man sounded sincere and Charlie almost turned back. Almost, but no. Charlie knew that there would be questions, and with questions, he would have to provide answers. If people knew what happened, then he and Mira would be separated. There were two promises that Charlie had made to his father. And taking care of Mira was one that he would keep no matter what.

Charlie had come home that day from school, just like any other day. Mira was outside playing with a friend from next door. Later, Charlie would be glad that she had not come inside.

"Dad, I'm home!" he called. He put down his backpack and opened the refrigerator, grabbing a root beer from the top shelf. He popped the can open and took a long satisfying swig of the drink.

"Dad? I'm home!" he called again. When his dad didn't answer, Charlie walked up the 16 stairs to the second floor of the house. He walked swiftly down the carpeted hallway to the last bedroom on the left.

Charlie knocked on his dad's door and slowly opened it. His dad was laying in the double bed, covered in the navy blue comforter his mother had picked out shortly before, well, before.

"Charlie," his father rasped. His eyes were barely open, but when they did, they were red and strangely cold. His voice sounded harsh and forced. Charlie knew that he had been having trouble breathing, but this was different.

"Charlie," his dad said once again. Charlie walked slowly to his dad. Charlie's chest suddenly felt heavy, as though being squeezed by a vice. His heart began to pound. He knew something was terribly wrong.

"Charlie, I ain't doing so well." Ain't. Dad never said "ain't". He hated that word.

"I know, Dad." Charlie's voice squeaked as he spoke.

"Charlie, I don't think I'm going to be around to take care of you much longer. You need to promise me, Charlie. Promise me you will take care of her."

"I promise, Daddy." Streams of hot tears ran down Charlie's face. First his mother, now his dad. What kind of life was this for a little boy?

"Promise me, Charlie." His dad said again, his voice becoming weaker with each word. "Promise me you'll take care of your momma."

Charlie knew then that his father was beyond help. He held his father's cold, limp hand and whispered through the tears and sobs, "I love you, daddy."

"I... love... you... too." His father's eyes shut and for the first time in weeks, his face seemed at peace.

Charlie reached down and caressed his father's cheek. The stubble from not having shaved was rough on Charlie's hand. Already, the skin was becoming cool. Charlie bent and gave his father one last kiss on the forehead. His time of being a child was at an end.

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