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The Homeless Man and the Christmas Gift. A Billybuc Challenge


Manatita is an esteemed author living in London, UK. He writes spiritual books, flash fiction and esoteric poetry, his favourite genre.

Bill's Challenge

Bill Holland has given us a challenge to kick-start our muses ... to complete a poem or prose, according to the following:

"I’m going to give you three photos below. (The first photo was not included)Those are your prompts. I’m going to ask you to use all three of them in your story. The length of your story is up to you, but it must relate to the photos. And yes, if you are a poet, feel free to write a poem about the photos rather than a short story or flash fiction.

That’s it! Easy Peasy!" - Bill Holland

Below is my contribution

Sleeping rough


It was a chillingly cold winter night, and Lazarus drank coffee after coffee to stay warm, as the wind stabbed into his face, head, neck and shoulders. He would rather be anywhere else than the ‘pits’ of ‘down-town’ Brooklyn right now, but his life-story was a bitter tale indeed, and all he could afford at this moment, was the dark, stark challenge of an alley-way pavement, on the corner of Church and Remson Avenues.

Pale, shivering and at the mercy of the elements, this strong, burly man, barely survived the night. Unable to sleep well, mainly due to the coffee and partly due to the extremely rough conditions in which he found himself, Lazarus rose quite early and made his way to the nearest coffee shop.

The owner was a good man and very kind to him. He knew him well! Way back in the days when Lazarus was a dapper hand at smart dressing, charming looks and expensive colognes. Yet he was kind and cheerful, always a good laugh and the shop owner remembered this, with love and gratitude.

Post his free coffee and two slices of toast, Lazarus bowed in thankfulness and continued on his way. He knew intuitively, that it would be another cold night and he needed to prepare well. As he walked, he came upon a turf with scattered leaves, a pink crate, a broom and some broken boxes.

The homeless man finds some needs


Lazarus's Past

Lazarus felt lucky. Gathering courage, he painstakingly filled the crate with numerous leaves, sealed it in one of the boxes, thereby creating a pillow for his head. Next, with the masking tape taken from his ragged grey garments, he used his past ability and vast experience, to create a cardboard bed, strong enough to protect him from the wind. Job done, and with some coffee and toast in his tummy, he felt a whole lot better.

That night was less harsh, thankfully, and as Lazarus lay all wrapped up in his make-shift cardboard bed, he felt a bit warmer and had time to reflect on his former life. He had an adorable, beautiful wife and two children. He lived in the suburbs of Silver Springs, Maryland, surrounded by beautiful trees and lush green foliage. The cars were state-of-the-art, and the vicinity was serene, soothing, peaceful and full of outer opulence.

The pleasant suburbs


The Struggles

He was a prominent architect and well known, as he frequently gave advice to the people in his neighborhood. One day, Lazarus left work early, unknowing to his wife, and came home, only to find an extra company in his bedroom, that triggered his almost fatal heart attack, which began his slow demise.

From that day Lazarus rarely spoke of his problems, and no one truly knew what happened. But once recovered, he left his home to the wife and children, and headed for New York, where he rented an apartment. Story goes that Lazarus began a life of gambling, drinking and neglect, until his money ran out some two years later, and he ended up on the streets of ‘down-town’ Brooklyn.

Whenever Lazarus sees a stop-sign these days, especially in a posh neighborhood, it reminds him of the infidelity-blow his wife dealt him, and takes it as a sign, that he should always be wary of women. Funny how the mind works!



A Christmas Gift


It is Christmas eve, two years later, Lazarus has become used to his rather quaint old friend of a collie dog, his bedding, crate-of-a-pillow, and his cardboard bed. Yet he yearns to see his two children, asks himself many questions in deep reflection, and has been praying for months! He goes to bed and dreams of his wife and family, or so he thinks.

For he opens his eyes, looks up to see a woman and two grown-up children standing over him. They are accompanied by a man in policeman’s uniform. Lazarus sits up and begins to stare as the woman looks strangely familiar. “Let us go home, my husband,” she says lovingly. “Let us go home.” It was a beautiful Christmas gift and the tears of Lazarus’s gratitude, soared upwards towards heaven.

-Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. 11th December, 2020


A Prayer

As the harsh winter comes, or continues in some places, let us remember, support - if we can - and pray for those who may need our thoughts and healing ... our physical support, in these days of numerous challenges now, at Christmas and New Year.

© 2020 manatita44


manatita44 (author) from london on December 11, 2020:

You enjoy it Dear? A Lazarus indeed!! Red the poem for the challenge also. sStay well. Peace

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on December 11, 2020:

What a beautiful story of loss and redemption. Your Lazarus "died" and then was brought back to life. A Christmas blessing indeed.

manatita44 (author) from london on December 11, 2020:

Oh, Hi Louise! Norfolk, eh?

Yes, try Bill's challenge. Pictures 2 and 3 are easy to save, put pic 1 has to be changed into a JPEG file. Merry Christmas!!

manatita44 (author) from london on December 11, 2020:

Hi Nell,

Good to see you. Wonderful!! Please stay well and safe. Thank you so much!! - Lantern

manatita44 (author) from london on December 11, 2020:

Yes. These cases exists, but are truly rare indeed!! I feel for you guys, as the statistics are scary!! You need a unified response. Kennedy, Emerson, Lincoln and jefferson would have done that. We are better as one people than divided. A hard message to learn. We have problems here too and India is struggling. So it's everywhere. You have my prayers and good wishes. Thanks Peggy

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on December 11, 2020:

Beautiful story, Manatita. I shall look into Bill's challenge!

Nell Rose from England on December 11, 2020:

Such a great story, and so relevant at this time of year. there are a few homeless people living on the streets in my small town. We always try to help them.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2020:

This story touches on so many emotions and is timely as we approach Christmas. The percentage of homeless on our streets, who end up with a happy ending, is probably relatively few. I fear that there will be so many more homeless in the months to come due to the loss of jobs, the pandemic, and our government's response. Lazarus, in this story, is fortunate.

manatita44 (author) from london on December 11, 2020:

Indeed, Bill. The government tries on nights when the winter is severe, but the message don't reach all. I saw a message recently, on a very cold night. An S.O.S was sent out. But if I, with a computer saw it so late on Facebook, what about those on the streets?

Thanks a lot, Bro. So I took your challenge on both. Feeling generous, I suppose. Haha. Much gratitude.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2020:

A beautiful Christmas message, so very timely in these days. Thank you for writing this. I just wish there were happy endings for most of the homeless. I have been there; I have friends who are there now; as a society, we must do something.

Blessings always my friend!

manatita44 (author) from london on December 11, 2020:


Thank you so much!! Happy Christmas!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 11, 2020:

This is a wonderful story, and you certainly did meet Billy's challenge. Lazarus finally received a happy ending after he went through so much emotional pain. I truly enjoyed your story, Manatita.

manatita44 (author) from london on December 11, 2020:

Indeed Ann.

I do see them and help when I can. Appreciate your good thoughts.

Hi John,

Yes. I had the homeless in mind and it is an excellent time to remember. Thanks.

Ann Carr from SW England on December 11, 2020:

A miracle for Lazarus. Lovely story for Christmas. However, there are still those on the streets to which this never happens. They do indeed need our support.


John Hansen from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2020:

It was nice to read a story such as this with a happy ending, particularly at this time of year manatita. Another fine response to Bill’s photo challenge.

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