It was still dark enough for the neon lights to reflect off the paved road, throwing crooked shadows off potholes that scattered like puckered pox scares on the coal-black tarmac.
Across the road, to the left of an abused public toilet, a huddled figure lay, prone, dead to a sleeping world.
From afar, the weak light failed to hide calluses and deep cracks, which could only have resulted from walking bare foot for months on end, on the figures feet. Large, mutant-like mosquitoes can be clearly seen perched on the exposed softer areas of the feet, which strangely, was a little further up the foot than normal. The mosquitoes sported distended tummies and swaggered with the delirium of the high that comes from ingesting too much human fluid.
The figure, a man judging by his built, appeared to be immune to the bites of these giant vampires, for apart from the occasional gentle heave of chest, he lay perfectly still.
An attentive watcher, coming closer, would also notice the way his patched lips seemed to move in silent mime to whatever song was playing in his dream world.
The sleeping man, haggled by a thousand internal demons, turned involuntary in dreamy stirrings that revealed an impossibly deep wound on his shin. The wound was fetid and crawling with maggots.
The wound had probably gotten to that stage beyond pain for the man’s stirrings pressed it on the jagged side of a broken pavement stone, and a darkish red liquid ran off and formed a small spreading puddle beside the stone.
A few feet away, loomed a sprawling mountain of refuse, which bestowed a peculiar fragrance over the entire scene.
Beyond this, was the bridge; huge and grey, a solid testimony to man’s engineering genius. The bridge, a traffic interchange that links the road from the airport to the one from the port and both to three others, from afar, appears nondescript, without identity, a lonely sentinel, with only the earth base and dirty canal water for comfort. But closer, it took on a distinct identity, calling attention to its animate family, and silently attested to its right to be called home by those who take solace and shelter under its concrete wings; the so-called homeless who have found a home where none but the earth can rightfully claim to own.
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