Copyright © 2012 Alex Carter
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A young man, tall and bare-faced, laid on the ground. The dirt was soft from rain the day before. Next to him was a bag, a colorful patchwork thing reminiscent of the nineteen eighties, with its purples and yellows interlacing with the original greys and browns of later years, all overlaid with a tinge of sun bleach and dirt rubbed on thin and worn, until it all seemed to be built into the original design. It bulged at the seams just slightly, on account of a coat which the young man had taken off and put inside it. The bag was emblazoned with a name in big block letters, like an army bag: "DUKE," it said. The young man's name wasn't Duke, of course. Not in his mind. It had been so long since anyone else knew that, though, that he had long since started answering to it, on the rare occasion he met someone on the road. Soon, he might forget himself that he had ever been called something else at all. His shirt was a mottled grey, possibly heather, or possibly it too is weathered from the wearing to allow for any single solid color. He sat up, fiddling in his pockets for a moment before pulling out a sunlight-powered watch—useful since batteries started getting harder to find. He strapped it back to his wrist. In an hour or two, he'd find it restraining and take it off, thoughtlessly putting it back into his pocket, and so it would continue.