Like an ancient ruin, he is the last of his kind

The peaceful silence of night is broken by a slow series of cold echoing thuds.

An inconsistent rhythm of his cane striking pavement. Tap. Tap. Tap.

He emerges, stumbling beneath the light of an old flickering street lamp.

Draped over his frail shoulders is an old coat that once would have been an indication of wealth or sophistication - now drenched in rain and mud.

He is the last of his kind, the last of his family.

His vacant green eyes meet those of frightened children, cowering behind the safety of their window sill.

Like a resurrected corpse, he wanders onwards, his entire body weight suspended by his extravagant cane that alludes to his past.

Air hastily escapes his lungs as his tired body collides with the cold wooden bench.

In one hand, he holds his cane; the other tightly clutches an empty bottle.

A thin frail arm ascends from the jacket, raising the whisky to his mouth in an attempt to savour the few remaining drops that mostly evade his mouth, running downwards through his thin scraggly beard.

The same drops that devoured his brothers and sisters, the drops that will soon devour him.

Faint voices call to him from the pub across the road, the only source of light or sound in the otherwise desolate village - a place that was once his second home.

A faint smile makes its way across his worn leathery skin, revealing expression lines that should have belonged to a happy, content man.

Like an ancient ruin, he is crumbling away, quickly decaying, but remains as a sad reminder of what once was.

Through the clouded window of the pub he sees himself, sitting with his brother and sister as they ate and laughed together - another fading memory that plagues his rotting mind.

He draws in a breath of frosty air, but his attempt to respond is immediately silenced by his old lungs, worn down by decades of tobacco.

A pathetic wheeze and a plume of moisture is all that escapes his cracked lips.

With great strain, the dark figure casts aside his bottle and ascends from the bench to resume his nocturnal roam.

 


 By Alex Marriott, Year 11, Bayfield High School


 

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