A man sits at a desk. Everything is in its place. The curtains let just the right amount of sunlight in as each pencil waits patiently in its holder. Plants ponder pointlessly in the corner, letting out a low hum of pleasure. Papers rest in neat stacks underneath paperweights put perfectly in the center. Not too far to the left, not too far to the right, just right in the middle. The man's tie is straight, his shirt ironed and collar just right. Each hair on his head is in its place and everything is as it should be. It's perfect.
In front of the man sits another stack of papers. This one is marked with red ink, so much so that it seems to bleed and stain the wooden surface of the desk. Words like "important" and "past due" dirty its clean, white surface. He fingers a pencil for a moment before touching its tip to the page. Just as the words start to flow from him, a voice shatters the silence.
From outside his window, it floats up through the cracks of the curtains. An old woman stands far below, hanging her laundry out to dry. Dressed in ripped and dirty clothes, she hums a tune as she pins up shirts and pants. They move like flags in the wind as she dances, snapping her fingers. A smile is carved into her face as she continues to sing, now moving on to socks and bras.
"Beware those who wander. Beware those who don't walk straight. Beware the odd ones and those who don't know their place." She sings, starting to clap her hands. "Watch for those who are lost. Watch for those who can't be found. Watch for the broken and those who spend their time tending the ground."
Alwin stands up, his inspiration gone.
"Damn it, be quiet! Some of us are actually trying to get work done!" He yells, slamming the window shut.
He sits down at his desk once again, everything in its place. He picks up a pen and tries to write, but can't seem to find the words. He looks up at the book that lies alone on his bookshelf, its simple leather cover glaring at him. He picks it up and opens it to the first page. There, written in simple ink, it says, "To my Riley, wherever you wander."
"I'm sorry, kid," Alwin whispers, going to his window.
Far below him, the woman is still singing. She belts out one last lyric before she goes inside, singing, "Look for those who fall. Look for those who are broken. Look for the lost ones and what they've taken."
YOU ARE READING
Meet the first wanderer, Jordan. She's the lost one, the one with no home, nowhere to go back to. Just an old, dusty trailer and a trash heap- quite literally. Keeping her head down and her earbuds in, she lives her life alone, just the way she like...