Hobo's Lament

As I walk down the empty streets, past the broken houses of American dreams, I wonder what has happened here. It's cold and dark; a few pinpricks of sickly yellow light permeate feebly through the night from ugly, concrete streetlights. The people are all gone, leaving behind only their shadows and the stench of piss and cigarette butts. I wonder where all the people have gone.

The world seems different since when I last awoke-so much colder. I wrap my battered old coat tighter around my body and trudge wearily forward. My brain screams, trying to claw its way out of the prison of the skull through the back of my eyes. Still I press on walking blindly in the dark. I know not why but I feel as though something is calling me.

I walk for what seems like an eternity. My feet howl at me to stop, but I ignore their pleas. Finally a light shines from the edge of the eastern horizon. The sun spills into the sky and orange light floods around me. I find myself standing in the ruins of an entire civilization.

I stand amidst concrete cadavers, shards of shattered glass, twisted bodies of machinery-the American dream buried beneath the rubble. The last remnants of skyscrapers and proud towers stand erect like grim monoliths marking the passing of the dream, 'Here lies America: home of the free and land of the brave.' I laugh in its hilarity.

A finger taps my shoulder and the laugher dies in my throat. I turn and see woman, her face hidden beneath the wiry fence of her long tangled hair. She is smiling, I realize though her features are hidden to me. "What happened here?" I ask.

She points behind me and says simply, "Look."

I turn and suddenly everything is as I remember. People mill frantically through the streets like confused ants. Cars crowding the roads like cancer cells, honking loudly their confusion. The people talk in hushed cries, each struggling to be heard above the noise of the din. I catch whispers of war drifting in the wind.

The woman taps me again, "Look up."

My eyes turn toward the heavens and I see the faint light of holy fire encapsulated in a pointed green vessel. It strikes against the pavement and erupts in a crimson flash. The holy fire rises and scorches the sky. The proud skyscrapers explode in globes of fire, rise and shatter, raining death.

I stare at the burning sky and can do naught but cry beneath its beauty. I reach up towards the heavens and cup the fire in my hands. My own shining star! Euphoria lifts my heat and I begin to laugh; joyful, rich. I celebrate in my ecstasy and I cry and cry until I am blinded by my tears.

A kick to my side shocks me out of my ecstasy. I blink away my tears and find myself lying the street again. The light stings my eyes and every noise of the city drives a stake through my skull.

"Just a dream," I whisper, the smell of booze clinging to my breath. I lie down and cry, wishing that I could hold the burning sky again. I lie there and wait, praying for the holy fire, praying for the eternal war to end.

Author's Note: Something I wrote for my gr.11 English class.