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Second Hand Cross

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I'm Francis Drake. I left my home when I was fifteen. The beatings, abuse and frequent stenches of alcohol endorsed in tobacco made me sick, physically and, I suppose mentally. From the moment I snuck out the door to the day I died, I held in my memory, every day, the one kind thought that kept me from suicide for ten years; my NES. I only had one game, and its name wasn't important but as I never managed to get past the second-last level, I kept it as a thing to resort to in my saddest hours. There was just one problem with the NES, it had an engraving, a mark, a cross engraved into it, as if scratched with a fingernail, but it was bright red whereas the rest of the console was blue, slightly purple. It didn't mean much; it had never affected the game, and the console was second hand anyhow.

My arms and legs hurt for the time I was homeless, for I walked and walked and carried and carried myself and what few belongings I had through pain and what little happiness there was. My father's words echoed in my mind, every last minute I was awake before sleep: "You're alone in this world; I'm all you have, all you'll ever have." and the words always trailed off into nightmares, but that was okay. That wasn't real anymore.

I survived on scraps in bins, kind-hearted civilians who would spare a quarter for me, and the shelter of the 54th street Subway for two years, until news came through a week-old newspaper I found for comfort reading that my dad had died. Plane crash, a list of casualties and deaths were in bold black print. 'Arthur Drake - deceased.' it read. I wasn't eighteen yet, so, I became an orphan. My mum had gone to the beatings of my father, and she died but a year after she left in a hit and run. So I was an orphan. It didn't change anything, but it did mean one thing: I could go back to my house without fear and grab my NES, perhaps I'll find a place to play it, perhaps I'll squat in an abandoned house and play it, just once more.

I found it, after I shook up the courage to walk inside. Buried where I left it under the undisturbed, yet still chaotic pile of ripped clothes I was forced to wear; I never went to school after all. It was covered in a layer of filth, and even a spider found its place to die underneath, but I found a thick plastic bag and brought it into the streets, the streets that I used to find a place to squat, and play, just one last time. I couldn't bear to play anymore in the house that neglected responsibility, love and kindness in any form.

30 Franklin Avenue, apparently was abandoned, as I saw on a noticeboard deep in the city, and I took every detour, back-alley however unnerving, and every shortcut I could think of to get there. Unfortunately on the way I tripped, on a rock? No, a foot.

"Boy, where are you going? Where's your mummy?" he said, calmly, yet sadistically.

"She's dead. Along with my father." I managed to grunt, not knowing why I'd tell them about my father.

"Can I go? I have to..." my voice trailed off.

"Go where? It's nearly evening, there's no hospice this side of town. Where are'y goin'?"

I gave an accidental glance at the plastic bag. "Haha! What's this? Precious delivery, ey?" his voice shunted out, as he glanced around to see if anyone was watching.

"Leave it alone!" I weakly yelled, my voice was sore from dryness. I should have picked up supplies from home. I guess I was too scared to stay any longer.

The moment when he opened the bag was the strangest moment. His expectant, greedy eyes vanished, and what came over him was fear, and he pointed, but said nothing, pointed more, said even less at what was just my old NES. He ran away, after a few moments of this apparent change of mood.

"Whatever." I thought, all these back-alley dwellers were crazy anyway. I found the house at last. It was small, a bungalow, boarded up, and much like a house used for regular squatting. For this reason I was wary when approaching; its door seemed to do the opposite of welcome; the handle was rusted and so far away from the edge of the porch.

I wondered inside. There was nobody there, I shouted "Hello?" just in case, after my primary, careful sweep of the house. No answer. Plugged in, and ready, the game started up nicely, but I hadn't noticed the cross. The fingernail-cross that signatured my NES shone like it was made from a neon-light, still red, mind. I started to play. The title screen was tilted to the left but I didn't mind; it was probably the TV. I just wanted to play, and remember my innocence.

My saved game loaded up, and with that the universe apart from this small, 13 inch screen, vanished into an abyss. Hours I played, hours and hours, I forgot hunger, and thirst alongside my dry throat. I lost any perception of time.

My left hand hurt. Every time I pressed the action key, a pain rippled through my body from my fingertips; it hurt, but I knew it would be okay. Sometime I will win, I will win and it will be okay after that. The last mission was difficult, and I died many times, but never once caved in. The game was all I had. The last time I remember it telling me 'Game Over', the screen flashed an abnormal shade of pink, blue, then blood-red, as if the screen was bleeding, as if it was hurting. I collapsed in a fit; my body shook violently and I through my controller, unwillingly, over the top of the screen.

I woke up later, it was morning. Picking up my friend, the controller, I noticed a smudge of blood on the D-pad, I watched that smudge for give-or-take ten minutes, with this blank, cold stare. The D-pad morphed into many shapes in that time, like one of my mother's eyes; her eyes were always so big, so colorful yet tired. 'I'm so tired...' I thought. I continued to play. And play I did, for the rest of my innocence, I played.

Forgetting life has its consequences; my mind scraped the bottom of the barrel that is my body for energy, and I collapsed, and with my last hazed vision of consciousness, I saw the fingernail marking, and out of it drew a fingernail, then a finger; dirty, long, spotted in blood, and pointing at me. I'm Francis Drake. I left my home when I was fifteen. The beatings, abuse and frequent stenches of alcohol endorsed in tobacco made me sick, physically and, I suppose mentally.

From the moment I snuck out the door to the day I died, I held in my memory, every day, the one kind thought that kept me from suicide for ten years; my NES. I only had one game, and its name wasn't important but as I never managed to get past the second-last level, I kept it as a thing to resort to in my saddest hours. There was just one problem with the NES, it had an engraving, a mark, a cross engraved into it, as if scratched with a fingernail, but it was bright red whereas the rest of the console was blue, slightly purple. It didn't mean much; it had never affected the game, and the console was second hand anyhow.

My arms and legs hurt for the time I was homeless, for I walked and walked and carried and carried myself and what few belongings I had through pain and what little happiness there was. My father's words echoed in my mind, every last minute I was awake before sleep: "You're alone in this world; I'm all you have, all you'll ever have." and the words always trailed off into nightmares, but that was okay. That wasn't real anymore.

I survived on scraps in bins, kind-hearted civilians who would spare a quarter for me, and the shelter of the 54th street Subway for two years, until news came through a week-old newspaper I found for comfort reading that my dad had died. Plane crash, a list of casualties and deaths were in bold black print. 'Arthur Drake - deceased.' it read. I wasn't eighteen yet, so, I became an orphan. My mum had gone to the beatings of my father, and she died but a year after she left in a hit and run. So I was an orphan. It didn't change anything, but it did mean one thing: I could go back to my house without fear and grab my NES, perhaps I'll find a place to play it, perhaps I'll squat in an abandoned house and play it, just once more.

I found it, after I shook up the courage to walk inside. Buried where I left it under the undisturbed, yet still chaotic pile of ripped clothes I was forced to wear; I never went to school after all. It was covered in a layer of filth, and even a spider found its place to die underneath, but I found a thick plastic bag and brought it into the streets, the streets that I used to find a place to squat, and play, just one last time. I couldn't bear to play anymore in the house that neglected responsibility, love and kindness in any form.

30 Franklin Avenue, apparently was abandoned, as I saw on a noticeboard deep in the city, and I took every detour, back-alley however unnerving, and every shortcut I could think of to get there. Unfortunately on the way I tripped, on a rock? No, a foot.

"Boy, where are you going? Where's your mummy?" he said, calmly, yet sadistically.

"She's dead. Along with my father." I managed to grunt, not knowing why I'd tell them about my father.

"Can I go? I have to..." my voice trailed off.

"Go where? It's nearly evening, there's no hospice this side of town. Where are'y goin'?"

I gave an accidental glance at the plastic bag. "Haha! What's this? Precious delivery, ey?" his voice shunted out, as he glanced around to see if anyone was watching.

"Leave it alone!" I weakly yelled, my voice was sore from dryness. I should have picked up supplies from home. I guess I was too scared to stay any longer.

The moment when he opened the bag was the strangest moment. His expectant, greedy eyes vanished, and what came over him was fear, and he pointed, but said nothing, pointed more, said even less at what was just my old NES. He ran away, after a few moments of this apparent change of mood. 'Whatever.' I thought, all these back-alley dwellers were crazy anyway. I found the house at last. It was small, a bungalow, boarded up, and much like a house used for regular squatting. For this reason I was wary when approaching; its door seemed to do the opposite of welcome; the handle was rusted and so far away from the edge of the porch.

I wondered inside. There was nobody there, I shouted "Hello?" just in case, after my primary, careful sweep of the house. No answer. Plugged in, and ready, the game started up nicely, but I hadn't noticed the cross. The fingernail-cross that signatures my NES shone like it was made from a neon-light, still red, mind. I started to play. The title screen was tilted to the left but I didn't mind; it was probably the TV. I just wanted to play, and remember my innocence.




My saved game loaded up, and with that the universe apart from this small, 13 inch screen, vanished into an abyss. Hours I played, hours and hours, I forgot hunger, and thirst alongside my dry throat. I lost any perception of time.




My left hand hurt. Every time I pressed the action key, a pain rippled through my body from my fingertips; it hurt, but I knew it would be okay. Sometime I will win, I will win and it will be okay after that. The last mission was difficult, and I died many times, but never once caved in. The game was all I had. The last time I remember it telling me 'Game Over', the screen flashed an abnormal shade of pink, blue, then blood-red, as if the screen was bleeding, as if it was hurting. I collapsed in a fit; my body shook violently and I through my controller, unwillingly, over the top of the screen.




I woke up later, it was morning. Picking up my friend, the controller, I noticed a smudge of blood on the D-pad, I watched that smudge for give-or-take ten minutes, with this blank, cold stare. The D-pad morphed into many shapes in that time, like one of my mother's eyes; her eyes were always so big, so colorful yet tired. 'I'm so tired...' I thought. I continued to play. And play I did, for the rest of my innocence, I played.




Forgetting life has its consequences; my mind scraped the bottom of the barrel that is my body for energy, and I collapsed, and with my last hazed vision of consciousness, I saw the fingernail marking, and out of it drew a fingernail, then a finger; dirty, long, spotted in blood, and pointing at me.I'm Francis Drake. I left my home when I was fifteen. The beatings, abuse and frequent stenches of alcohol endorsed in tobacco made me sick, physically and, I suppose mentally. From the moment I snuck out the door to the day I died, I held in my memory, every day, the one kind thought that kept me from suicide for ten years; my NES. I only had one game, and its name wasn't important but as I never managed to get past the second-last level, I kept it as a thing to resort to in my saddest hours. There was just one problem with the NES, it had an engraving, a mark, a cross engraved into it, as if scratched with a fingernail, but it was bright red whereas the rest of the console was blue, slightly purple. It didn't mean much; it had never affected the game, and the console was second hand anyhow.



My arms and legs hurt for the time I was homeless, for I walked and walked and carried and carried myself and what few belongings I had through pain and what little happiness there was. My father's words echoed in my mind, every last minute I was awake before sleep: "You're alone in this world; I'm all you have, all you'll ever have." and the words always trailed off into nightmares, but that was okay. That wasn't real anymore.




I survived on scraps in bins, kind-hearted civilians who would spare a quarter for me, and the shelter of the 54th street Subway for two years, until news came through a week-old newspaper I found for comfort reading that my dad had died. Plane crash, a list of casualties and deaths were in bold black print. 'Arthur Drake - deceased.' it read. I wasn't eighteen yet, so, I became an orphan. My mum had gone to the beatings of my father, and she died but a year after she left in a hit and run. So I was an orphan. It didn't change anything, but it did mean one thing: I could go back to my house without fear and grab my NES, perhaps I'll find a place to play it, perhaps I'll squat in an abandoned house and play it, just once more.




I found it, after I shook up the courage to walk inside. Buried where I left it under the undisturbed, yet still chaotic pile of ripped clothes I was forced to wear; I never went to school after all. It was covered in a layer of filth, and even a spider found its place to die underneath, but I found a thick plastic bag and brought it into the streets, the streets that I used to find a place to squat, and play, just one last time. I couldn't bear to play anymore in the house that neglected responsibility, love and kindness in any form.




30 Franklin Avenue, apparently was abandoned, as I saw on a noticeboard deep in the city, and I took every detour, back-alley however unnerving, and every shortcut I could think of to get there. Unfortunately on the way I tripped, on a rock? No, a foot.

"Boy, where are you going? Where's your mummy?" he said, calmly, yet sadistically.

"She's dead. Along with my father." I managed to grunt, not knowing why I'd tell them about my father.

"Can I go? I have to..." my voice trailed off.

"Go where? It's nearly evening, there's no hospice this side of town. Where are'y goin'?"

I gave an accidental glance at the plastic bag. "Haha! What's this? Precious delivery, ey?" his voice shunted out, as he glanced around to see if anyone was watching.

"Leave it alone!" I weakly yelled, my voice was sore from dryness. I should have picked up supplies from home. I guess I was too scared to stay any longer.




The moment when he opened the bag was the strangest moment. His expectant, greedy eyes vanished, and what came over him was fear, and he pointed, but said nothing, pointed more, said even less at what was just my old NES. He ran away, after a few moments of this apparent change of mood. 'Whatever.' I thought, all these back-alley dwellers were crazy anyway. I found the house at last. It was small, a bungalow, boarded up, and much like a house used for regular squatting. For this reason I was wary when approaching; its door seemed to do the opposite of welcome; the handle was rusted and so far away from the edge of the porch.




I wondered inside. There was nobody there, I shouted "Hello?" just in case, after my primary, careful sweep of the house. No answer. Plugged in, and ready, the game started up nicely, but I hadn't noticed the cross. The fingernail-cross that signature my NES shone like it was made from a neon-light, still red, mind. I started to play. The title screen was tilted to the left but I didn't mind; it was probably the TV. I just wanted to play, and remember my innocence.




My saved game loaded up, and with that the universe apart from this small, 13 inch screen, vanished into an abyss. Hours I played, hours and hours, I forgot hunger, and thirst alongside my dry throat. I lost any perception of time.




My left hand hurt. Every time I pressed the action key, a pain rippled through my body from my fingertips; it hurt, but I knew it would be okay. Sometime I will win, I will win and it will be okay after that. The last mission was difficult, and I died many times, but never once caved in. The game was all I had. The last time I remember it telling me 'Game Over', the screen flashed an abnormal shade of pink, blue, then blood-red, as if the screen was bleeding, as if it was hurting. I collapsed in a fit; my body shook violently and I through my controller, unwillingly, over the top of the screen.




I woke up later, it was morning. Picking up my friend, the controller, I noticed a smudge of blood on the D-pad, I watched that smudge for give-or-take ten minutes, with this blank, cold stare. The D-pad morphed into many shapes in that time, like one of my mother's eyes; her eyes were always so big, so colorful yet tired. 'I'm so tired...' I thought. I continued to play. And play I did, for the rest of my innocence, I played.




Forgetting life has its consequences; my mind scraped the bottom of the barrel that is my body for energy, and I collapsed, and with my last hazed vision of consciousness, I saw the fingernail marking, and out of it drew a fingernail, then a finger; dirty, long, spotted in blood, and pointing at me.

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