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