Open the Cage

He walked with a purpose he did not feel. The world was grey and bleak, and despair clutched at him, causing his breath to catch and strain within his chest.

The buildings disappeared away into the clouds, and the crowd massed around him, amorphous and unsympathetic.
‘I’m wide awake and dreaming,’ he thought, ‘and I’m somewhere I don’t want to be.’

He stopped abruptly and was hit on all sides by the people around him.
‘Watch where the hell you’re walking!’
‘Damn fool; nearly tripped me up!’

He was jostled out of the flow and against the wall, and he stared into the sky, willing the building to fall and crush him where he stood.

A sweet sound dropped his gaze, and he walked closer. A man was sitting cross-legged playing a guitar, singing with a pure joy and a wide smile. The man watched in silence, staring like an automaton through red eyes. He thought he should smile in return to the busker’s generous expression, but his face was not ready.

A little girl stood in the audience watching him intently. She came and stood beside him, watching the busker from his side.

Confused, he looked down on the little person. Her presence tugged at the cage holding the pain in his heart, and she reached up and held his hand.

‘Please don’t be alone,’ she said, and the cage fell open letting tears flow.

Constructive criticism welcome. © 2008 Damian Herde

Open the Cage


Toowoomba, Australia

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Artist's Description

For the Twisted Tales comp on the theme of On the Streets

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