M K Lee would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

An Uncounted Statistic

By M K Lee All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Drama

Chapter 1

He sits in the shop doorway trying to disappear into the background under the glare of the soft orange street light. His hands absent-mindedly wind the thin fabric of the dirty tattered blanket he’d stumbled across yesterday around his long, chapped-from-cold fingers. A thin layer against the night was better than nothing, and hopefully he’d still be able to feel his fingers by morning unlike the rest of the past week. Tucking the edges around himself – under torn canvas trainers, around frayed jean bottoms, under his back as he lays as foetus-like as the doorway allows – he rests his head back into the hood, thankful that at least this part of his parka jacket remains intact.

He likes to watch the stars when there is no light pollution from above; on a clear, balmy summer evening it temporarily takes away the reality of his surroundings and he can lose himself in his own tales of far off places and distant worlds. But now is mid-December and the small amount of heat that for some reason radiates from this shop might just be the few degrees between life and death by hypothermia.

He thinks back to the warm but flavourless coffee someone had kindly given him in the morning. Although he can’t bring himself to beg, he must have looked forlorn enough for the passerby to realise he was homeless and he is temporarily heated by the flush of his own shame. When he first became homeless he had been so adamant to himself that he would do all he could to not look homeless. Washing in public toilets, carefully cleaning his hands and combing his fingers through his hair so he looked unkempt but not like an undesirable. And of course, once the beard fully grew in it helped keep him warm in the cold of the night. Long hair had suited him once and it could again, even when peppered with premature grey. Somehow he managed to keep his two sets of clothes relatively clean for the longest time but now, after eight months on the street, he blends in with all the other homeless around him. He can no longer pretend he is any different.

He is a failure.

He is nothing.

He has nothing.

There is a glimmer of pride within him still that he hasn’t resorted to drinking – although the thought of forgetting the world to the bottom of a bottle and sinking into a restless sleep has felt more appealing than he’d like, and he didn’t even drink much when he lived his ‘previous’ life. He hasn’t stolen either, living on scraps from bins, the occasional soup kitchen and the generous meals provided by shelters when they can. If he’s lucky he gets a bed once a week, but only if he is early enough. It is soul-destroying to think you are going to have temporary shelter and then to round the corner and see twenty sets of desperate eyes staring back into your own, ahead of you in the queue. Not your turn for warmth. Not tonight. That thin, lumpy mattress and well-used duvet you’ve fantasised about all day is the privilege of another of the city’s nobodies this evening.

His stomach growls but somehow the hollowness of hunger doesn’t bother him as it once did. Sure, it’s so much harder to ignore in the winter because it is so cold, but, he’s always had an active imagination, so when it gets really bad he conjures up elaborate meals for himself with gluttonous calorific content and glorious limitless seconds.

He fights the urge to rehash the how, the when, and the why yet again. How did this happen? When did he lose everything? Why hadn’t he turned himself around yet? Because it made no difference. This was his life, currently. Another uncounted statistic. The hope that tomorrow would bring something, any glimmer of change had long gone; he just lurched between days and shivered through nights, wondering when it would all end. If he would have the strength to end it himself.

Because truly, what other way out was there?

Some homeless ‘got lucky’ and got help. He didn’t really know how. He’s never seen it happen to someone he knows and so he wouldn’t even know where to start looking for it. Are there actually places that would help? He has no idea.

No idea about anything.

Except that the temperature is dropping. That he is alone in the world. That he is huddled in a shop doorway under the orange glow of the street light, fighting to stay alive.

He must stop asking himself why he bothers to even try.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, M K Lee
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

heavyonbooks: I admire your creativity. You have written a great piece. I want to promote your Inkitt book for free to my list of newsletter subscribers. If that is alright by you then please email me at exzordersplrwso AT gmail.com to book your spot, thanks.

zoheusher20: What more can I say? The writing style and little details drew me into the book and for the entirety of the story I was Juliet. I felt her turmoil and emotions and every trouble or triumph as they arrived. This story was very different and had quite a few little but unexpected twists that made it...

jaihov: I love the book, and I know that you didn't mean to offend, and you didn't, but my best friends name is Ireland. She was actually named after the castle called the Luttrell in Ireland. Her full name is Ireland Luttrell. Just thought it was funny because the main character thought that it was such...

William Elliott Kern: Whew. one telling his story, in the Bar, to his friend, who questions some circumstances that need clarity, The Confusion comes from a man, carrying his dead friend Chappies, while conversing with himself, and Chappies, and his alter ego......a broken mind, not yet forgotten..........The Author ...

Ashley Kimler: I love the drama and the darkness of this story. Sadly, I was distracted my editorial errors and couldn't delve into it. The grammar mistakes kept me from being able to forget where I was and immerse in the story. If not for that, I think I would have given this chapter 5 stars. My advice to the ...

_Dusks_kiss: I never knew that one of my favourite childhood cartoons could turn into such a beautiful story. Tho there are many grammatical errors and writing errors, this story warmed my heart to 100%. I would definitely want this book to get published and I would also buy it. It’s amazing character develop...

Dessie Williams: I read the first book and now this one, they both are really good stories. love the characters,. loved painting the story in my head, the ending was awesome. Hope the series continue . Great job .... You Rock!!!

More Recommendations

Isha Chaudhari: Amazing book ...the most beautiful part is the kind of relationship Carla has with Peter. However, the epilogue was the one that surprised me the Most....Carla getting married to Peter....when in the book her relationship is mostly discussed with Ridian.Was a bit confusing thus.Lovable book that ...

Alkira Joan: Great story, I found it hard to read especially the dialogue. You just need to fix up some spelling errors and the gramma .I enjoyed this book. was a little hard to get though.,.,..,.,.,,..,.,.,, , , , ,.,, , , , , , , ,., ,,.,,,,,

ArgyrisMetaxas: Thrilling story which builds layer ontop of layer. A few mis spellings every few chapters.What I found special was that it took a modern day problem and took it to its logical conclusion and plays this realism with gritting precision. I'm always on edge ready to shout from adrenaline. This is gre...

sujitha nair: What's so distinct about this story was that it could easily be real.Praveena can be your classmate, neighbor or that girl you saw at the coffee shop today. The important decisions she makes and the dilemmas she faces, remind us of our own twisted lives.

Lydia Sherrer: I first read The Speaker almost a decade ago when I first discovered author Sandra Leigh. I loved it then, and I still love it now. It is a simple, easy read, yet deep in meaning and rich in storyline. I do not know what kind of research or prior knowledge Leigh has of First Nation tribes, but sh...

{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.