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The old beggar managed to slip through the crowd and knelt beside the boy. He whispered to him, “Are you looking for this?…
A feeble shaky hand lightly pulled the boy’s sweater, “Are you looking for this? Here it is.”
The terrified boy shouted aloud, “Dad! Dad!!!” He quickly ran to his father and buried himself into his coat, his eyes fixed on the scary old man.
“Hey you, stinky temperamental retard! Offer your dime elsewhere. Take a piece of bread and stay away from my boy!”
The old beggar took the bread and walked away from the store. For almost half a century, this beggar lived in the streets of this rustic town, going around asking for food and offering his dime to children.
Men and women shunned away from him like magnets of the same poles. Their prying eyes look down on this shabby mess that reeked of odour worse than a spoiled stew. Little did the townsfolk know that this was the last night they would see him roam.
The old beggar spent his last hours leaning on the brick wall observing the passing vehicles. As lights flashed in his half-shut eyes, with every slow blink, he saw his life as if it was flashing back in pieces.
A cabin… A woman… He smiled a bit. A crib… toy horse… carved wood… a long fence… The lights continued flashing. Wooden furniture. Chisel. Broken stick. Cigar. Soiled plates. The blinding lights kept coming. Money on the floor.
Bag of shiny nails. A tiny shoe. The door. Darkness. Honk!!! Then he snapped back to reality! The loud honk came from the trailer truck that was moving fast towards Mrs Miller and her son who, at that moment, were crossing the street. He saw the boy stopped in the middle of the road to pick up his toy. A loud screech. A loud thud. And then, it happened!
A loud shrill of agony was heard! All of the people in the street rushed to the scene. The boy was barely breathing. The mother was hysterical. People called for help. Bystanders were saying their prayers. In the midst of the commotion, the old beggar managed to slip through the crowd and knelt beside the boy. He whispered to him, “Are you looking for this? Here it is.” Soiled and covered with blood, the little fingers slowly moved and reached for the dime. The old man was dazed for a moment.
Tears welled up in his eyes as he touched the boy’s head. The old beggar met the boy’s eyes and, in that brief moment, he felt his pain. “Take it, my child, I found it.” The dime dropped on the ground and rolled away through the crowd.
The Last Wish [#ShortStory]
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