It seemed hardly any time had passed since things were very different. Less a year ago his business was booming and he sat behind his brand-new desk in his brand-new office making an honest living for his brand-new family.
The wind whipped around his shivering body. Arthur reached under his tattered overcoat and pulled out a frayed blanket and a small tin-cup. Other than the clothes he stood up, or fell down, in they were the only other possessions he owned.
He closed his eyes to this new-found reality, but the tears still came.
Life was cruel.
The coins hit the metal cup with a tinny clang, which shook him from his thoughts.
“God bless you, Miss,” he said to the young woman, who smiled and nodded her head as she quickened her pace down the empty street.
He scooped the coins into his pocket and stared up into the grey sky. Something was coming, something from the other place. He felt it in his cold bones. The staccato clip-clop of the woman’s heels faded as another set of more substantial footfalls filled the air with an altogether different resonance. A man, or at least something with the appearance of a man, was approaching.
“Spare some change, Governor?” Arthur said, holding up the empty cup. It was his standard ploy to attract the attention of passers by. More often that not it would result in verbal abuse instead of monitory gain.
The man jumped backwards. His eyes widened as Arthur waved the tin cup.
Arthur coughed and pulled the dirty woollen blanket up around his wheezing chest as old memories floated round his head. The sound of his son’s laughter and the scent of his wife’s perfume filled his thoughts. But now his company, his family, and his life were all gone. Even the soggy old business card was gone now and all he had left was a head full of broken dreams. Life was good before the dreams, before the voices, before…