The Commuter (280 Words)

Rain drums on the roof, streams down the windscreen. Its coming down so hard the wipers can hardly keep up.
He is stuck in nose to tail traffic. The price you pay for having a house in the country and a job in the city. 

Still he curses his luck when the lights change to red, another minute or so added to the already tedious journey.
He absent-mindedly looks out of the drivers side window. 
The orange glow of the street lights and rain streaking down, distort reality, passer-by's look like shadows of ghosts creeping in and out of clarity. Hugging themselves to fend off the rain, keep the cold out of their bones.

Then he sees him, sat cross-legged, head bowed looking at the floor, seemingly oblivious not only to the weather but everyone and everything around him. Holding a tatty piece of cardboard, as most homeless people do these days, this sign is different it doesn't plead poverty or desperation, doesn't guilt trip you, all it has on it, in immaculate handwriting is "Be Afraid"

Suddenly this ragged stranger looks up and makes eye contract, safe in his steel and glass bubble he stares back, wondering how you end up out there on the streets. What it is you have to lose to become so invisible.

He doesn't notice the light change to green, its only the driver behind him leaning on the horn that makes him look away. He puts the car into gear and slowly pulls off.

Its later back at home, safe and warm in his bed that the he starts thinking about the stranger again and the fear starts to eat away at him.

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