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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 30, 2010
"The continuing saga of Charlie and Mira"

Man of the House

The warmth of the brick felt good against his back. Despite the cold temperatures, the building had been warmed by the direct sunlight hitting it. They had slipped into a little alleyway that should allow them a few minutes to rest.

Mira knelt down beside Charlie and sat closely to him. The little kitten climbed into Mira's lap, turned three times, then laid down, tucking his head beneath his paws. Mira gently patted his soft head.

Charlie looked around him, making sure that no one had followed them. The had barely gotten away from the man at the restaurant. People walked past the opening to the alleyway, but as usual, no one paid any attention.

Charlie closed his eyes, wishing he was anywhere but here. In the distance, he could hear the sounds of Christmas in the city- bells from the Salvation Army kettle, carols being played in a myriad of stores, fake Santas "Ho, ho, ho-ing" at the passersby.

Charlie knew there was no such thing as Santa, but Mira still held out hope. Christmas no longer held any magic for Charlie. He remembered the cards the family used to get, the ones from relatives long forgotten.

"Ho, ho, hope you have a joyous Christmas!" beamed one. "Have a Merry Christmas!" crowed another. Inside the cards, if anything was written, were generic comments, meant to seem as though they were personal. Charlie knew that they held no meaning for the one who wrote them. Never did anyone express sympathy that Charlie's father was dealing with the holiday without his wife, the kids without their mother.

Dad had always tried to make Christmas special, and for Mira, it usually worked. After all, all she knew was her dad and her brother. Charlie, though, remembered the happy times with his mother.

As far as Charlie was concerned, Christmas was just another attempt by stores to get money selling people things they didn't need, and a way to guilt parents into buying their kids whatever the kids wanted. As the saying goes, "When you care enough..." and if you don't send that gift or that card, then obviously you don't care.

As Charlie looked around, a realization began to dawn on him. He recognized these buildings and knew, with a painful heartache, that they were only a block from the home they had escaped weeks earlier.

Charlie wondered if anyone had discovered his father yet. He tried not to think of his dad's cold, lifeless body still laying in the bed where Charlie had left him, the comforter pulled up tightly around him. Charlie hoped that someone would have come to the house and taken care of his dad one last time.

Dad's boss may have called to find out why he didn't show up for work. But since so many people his dad had worked with just didn't bother to show up, it was unlikely. Charlie had no other family. Well, none that actually cared about them. He wondered if anyone was bothering to look for him and his sister. If so, Charlie would make sure they were not found.

He was the man of the house now, even if they had no house. He looked down at his little sister, with her little kitten in her lap. This was his family. This is all that mattered in the world.

"Merry Christmas," Charlie thought to himself.

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