This is not a poem. It's a verse narrative. I think they are fun, you should give it a try and if you like it give my story 'It's A Generation Thing...' a go! (I know, I know but a little bit of shameless self promotion never hurt anyone...!)


STRAYS

He woke in a foreign bed.

In a foreign room.

In a foreign life.

The roof was cream coloured.

It was pure looking and had a touch of gold to it, shimmering: not actually there, but suggested.

He dragged a hand across his face wondering where he was. His long tan fingers massaged the tender skin around his eyes.

They noted the dryness of the skin and the bruise on his cheekbone.

He continued to study the roof. It wasn't the one he'd been waking up to the last two years.

There were no mould blooms eating their way across.

There were no bullet holes, dark reminders of dark, desperate times.

There were no suspicious stains and it wasn't a dirty yellow colour: stained by smoke.

He still felt tender, along with the bruise along his right cheekbone and the ache in his side from where he'd been shot were reminding him of the events of the… whenever it had been.

He'd lost time, he realised.

Didn't know how many days.

Or weeks had passed since he'd been shot.

He should be dead.

He'd planned on being dead from the moment the bullet had slammed into his side.

He'd thought it was his time. Clearly it wasn't.

Slowly, ever so slowly, he levered himself to a sitting position.

The quilt over him was a deep scarlet with subtle darker shade lines running horizontal across.

His memory sparked briefly and an image of his hand clutching his side, blood running in rivulets, pulsing through his clenched, increasingly pale fingers flickered to mind.

He shrugged the memory away and allowed his eyes travelled around the room.

It was neat and clean and uncluttered.

There was a small table on the left of the bed and a dresser against the far wall.

They were both made of the same dark wood, mahogany perhaps.

On the right wall were two closed doors, made of the dark wood, probably leading to a hall and a closet? He didn't know and his brain wasn't working well enough to speculate.

He scanned the room again, trying to work out something, anything, which would tell him where he was and who had taken care of him.

There was no one in his life that would care for him like this.

He had acquaintances of course, but on the street you couldn't be burdened with a sick friend and live.

That's why nobody had friends

It was on his second glance that his dark, gold specked gaze lit upon the woman sitting in a couch in the corner near the window on the left wall.

She was watching him, a blank look on her face.

He waited for her to make the first move.

He was defenceless, completely unarmed and weak; it had taken a lot of his strength to sit up.

A two year old could overpower him in this state.

'I don't normally do this, you know.

Take in strays, I mean.'

She said her voice low and soothing. She was stating a simple fact so he didn't take offence to her calling him a stray.

He was one. He didn't really have a home or somewhere to go to escape.

He was a squatter in an abandoned building, living from day to day.

Begging on street corners.

Performing like a circus dog for a few dollars.

It wasn't the life he'd wanted but it was the one he'd got.

He had the potential to be great, but it seemed he was destined for the streets.

While he hated it, at the same time there was nothing quite like the feel of his blood racing after a police chase.

The feeling of satisfaction after a long day of productive busking.

The feel of a hot meal in his stomach after days of eating stale bread.

It made him want things more but at the same time it made him aware of how little one can have and still survive.

It was complicated.

Not even he understood it.

'But I saw you lying there; clutching your side like that would help.

The blood seeping through your fingers. Your blood, running red, like that quilt.

Well, I had to help…'

She was almost talking to herself, didn't seem to be telling this to him.

He felt like an intruder in her thoughts.

She fell silent again and simply watched him.

He manoeuvred his body in to a comfortable position, sinking into the plump, dark brown coloured pillows which matched the wood throughout the room and in turn watched her.

She looked tiny in the chair, he wondered how she'd got him into this bed.

She was plain looking, hazel eyes: brown with a hint of green.

Brown hair with a hint of curl.

A not quite square but not quite round face.

Her features all fit perfectly, nothing was over or undersized but nothing was particularly special.

A thoughtful expression was now on her face as she contemplated him.

He knew what she was seeing: the broad, muscled shoulders, the tanned, golden chest where it wasn't covered in bandages.

He was good looking and he knew it.

It was how he got any money from begging.

People gave money to the handsome boy quoting literature or busking on a street corner far more readily than they would an ugly person.

That was life.

He was fortunate that he was also highly intelligent and had a good memory.

He often recited poems or passages from books to passers-by when he got bored of singing.

Occasionally he would act out Shakespeare, playing all the parts himself. It was tiring but fun and it made him a bundle of cash.

He didn't over use things though. Any street busker is careful to not overuse their talents. No one wants their speciality to become commonplace.

Another thing which worked in his favour about him was his looks.

He was part Spanish and that part showed in his midnight hair and dark, intelligent eyes.

It showed in his olive skin and straight white teeth.

It showed in his strong, unshaven jaw and high exotic cheekbones.

It was only a small part Spanish but it was there.

It was the exotic good looking young man that attracted people.

The one with the accent.

Never mind that it was put on especially for his shows.

People enjoyed it even more when he sang old classics in Spanish.

Women especially.

'Actually, you know, it probably wasn't that.

I've seen men in worse positions.

Especially in this city.

It was probably your expression.

You looked almost happy. Like you wanted to die.

That was what made me save you.' She stated finally. Decisively.

'Why?' he hissed, the first word he'd spoken in the long minutes they'd been studying each other.

His throat was dry and tight from lack of use.

He could feel the vibrations of his vocal chords as they made the sound and the way his mouth moved to form the word felt strange. Foreign, after a long period of no use.

'Because no one should want to die.

If you had of fought it.

If you had of begged me for help, I wouldn't have, you know.

I would have left you. Forgotten you.

But you didn't.

You looked almost peaceful. That's why I helped you.

No one should have such a bad life that they want to give it up without a struggle.

That isn't right.' She said.

Then she stood and he saw how small she really was, maybe 5'5" if she was lucky.

How had she gotten him into this bed?

He was 6'3" and not light. All the money he was given went straight to food.

He needed to eat a lot and even spending everything he begged for wasn't enough.

He was still slightly underweight for his size.

There wasn't an ounce of fat on him. It was all muscle.

He had to keep fit so he could run away from cops or others trying to steal his hard earned cash or food.

Obviously he hadn't run fast enough when he'd been shot.

It was dangerous, living on the streets.

It was a survival of the fittest society where each man fights for himself and where one day you can be a god and the next, dead.

He had survived a long time in that world, skulking on the periphery, not drawing attention to himself.

It had been his time to die, but he hadn't.

He realised he'd messed with the balance.

He wondered what the price would be.

'You didn't need to.' He said quietly.

'I was happy to die. I don't have anything to live for.'

She gave him a coded, indecipherable look and replied,

'Now you do.'

'I don't understand.' He murmured, pressing his hand to his wounded side. The pain came in pulses.

It came each time his heart beat.

It was like nothing he'd ever known.

Even breathing was difficult.

'I saved you now you are mine.

You have me to live for.' She said simply.

'I don't know you.'

'Of course you do.' She folded the newspaper she'd been reading carefully, setting it on the window sill.

Then she walked over and paused by the bed, half a metre separating them.

'Look at me.' She said firmly when his gaze slid down her to his hands clutched in his laps.

It was habit for him to avoid people's eyes.

They didn't like it on the street, it intimidated them.

They gave more money to people who didn't scare them.

Slowly he tilted his head back and looked into her eyes.

Up close, he realised, they weren't ordinary; they were beautiful.

A dark ring around the outside then they were a pale brown, almost golden which moved into a deep forest green surrounding her pupils.

Not plain at all.

'Look at me.' She repeated. 'A life for a life.'

'I saved you now you are mine.

It is how it must be.

I gave you my blood and now I am a part of you.'

'What if I just left?' he asked, not understanding her.

'You can't leave,' she said simply. 'You are bound to me as I am bound to you.

I could not let your lifeblood leave you.

I have nursed you for a week while you've slept.

I know every inch of your body.

I know all your secrets and you know mine.

There was nothing I could hide.

Blood speaks the truth. Always.'

'I don't understand! I know nothing of you! Not even your name!

How can I know your secrets?

How can you know mine when I've been in a coma?' he was growing frustrated and his agitation showed in the crease across his forehead.

She smiled slightly and he realised that her face wasn't plain either.

She wasn't beautiful but there was a light in her.

It showed in that tiny smile.

'My name is Adrienne.' She whispered.

Then she stretched out her slender arm and her soft, slim fingers traced the crease, pressing it away.

Then she leant down closer and fitted her soft pink lips to his.

A small, chaste kiss which was anything but.

He was amazed at the emotions and knowledge that awakened within him.

Everything she'd said was true.

He did know her secrets.

He could feel them in his blood.

He hadn't thought anything of it because it was now a part of him, just as his own secrets were.

He heard their echo in his mind.

He saw them draped around her like a cloak only he could see through.

He could feel them in the electricity between them, thrumming and sparking.

He could now taste them on his lips.

'I am Jack.'

Then he reached out a long, brown arm and wrapped it around her waist before she could move back.

He pulled her against him, ignoring the pain that intensified from his side as he pulled her against him and fitted her lips to his once again.

She was right, he was hers.

He couldn't leave her now.

She had saved him.

He knew her secrets.

She knew his.

A life for a life.

Then he realised when he heard the small noise she made against his mouth that she could not leave him either.

It wasn't a one way connection.

It wasn't something she could break.

It wasn't something she could leave.

He knew her secrets just as she knew his.

'You are mine…' he whispered in her ear.

He felt the slight shiver run through her body.

It was acceptance.

It was his, just as she was.

Just as he was hers...