Disclaimer:  This story contains adult themes and implied sex.  If you are not of age where you live then don’t read it.  

Copyright 2003 by Thorns…HCFU T

I wish to thank my friends, all HCFU, who have given me time and guidance in this and so many other things.
Live, Love, Laugh.

The city, from the air, its roads like ribbons spread in all directions. The river bisects the land; a ragged scar on the face of the earth.  Trains follow tracks, cars follow roads, feet pound sidewalks, the city pulses with life: a million lives each the same, each so different.  At night there is no rest, movement is less, roads less congested, sidewalks less traveled, the river flows in satin silence.

Old man Kris walks endlessly through neighborhoods and down alleyways.  Alone every day, alone every night. You have seen him; the scary old man, Crazy Kris, mumbling and talking to himself.  Using a staff carved from a tree, not a cane, like other old people. No one knows where he sleeps, no one knows what he eats, no one cares where he goes.  No one knows his pain.  He is unseen, just a cipher, society’s debris, a nothing to step around on the street.  Walking, walking, walking to the east. He could be walking in ancient Rome, or in modern Athens, or in Paris, the Eternal city; the same haunted look in his eyes for centuries.

His tattered wool cloak blowing in the cruel wind, wet shoes confine his feet, hands blue with cold or blue with dye from long lost gloves.  No shopping cart of treasures, no bundle of bags, nothing to slow his gait.  Talking continually, providing both sides of the conversation.  Mumbles to those around him, lucid phrases in his head; oblivious to the streets, oblivious to the sounds, Kris is oblivious to our world.

Streets and lines like cobwebs tangled and branching getting thinner and finer the farther from the convoluted center he travels.  His mind like the city; the cobweb between insanity and genius, the thin line between schizophrenic and psychopathic and a finest line of all between functional and inept. What way does Kris tilt?  What way does his world pitch?  Windmills of his mind churn endlessly repeating motions around and around.

Belief and faith are all he has left.  Kris has a mission, faith that his life has not been in vain.  Alone.  So alone.  Doomed to walk the streets; a pariah of society.  He loved once, and for that love became forever outcast.  Unwelcome in a home, unwelcome in our world.  A record haunts him from years ago, long forgotten but not forgiven; trapped forever, marked the permanent suspect, always alone.  All for love; forbidden love.

Each night the sidewalks lead to the river, a rippling mirror to the stars.  A partner to the jetsam of society, no barrier to the desperate, Kris forges ahead, to ford the chilly water, grasping his staff to aid the crossing.  In his mind his mission: his tender burden to safely deposit on the bank.  In the cold yellow light from an industrial site, he emerges from the water, confused there is no burden to lower to the ground, he turns and retraces his path, to the river, to the city, retracing his path to the west.

All night he returns along the sidewalks and streets, crossing alleys and parks, crossing the heart of the city, west, seeking solace from sins.  Wet shoes, wet pants, wet cloak, chilling him, killing him, one step at a time.

Near dawn he arrives at the loop in the river that nestles the city, in liquid embrace.  Still wet he fords and forges ahead, feeling his mission crushing him like his sin.  The bank beckons and Kris lost in his world, sobs at no burden to place, and retraces his path to the east.

Daybreak sees Kris huddled and shivering near a vent by the road.  The smell of hot oil blows rancid and reeking across his still form.  One person, a man dressed all in white, gives cold doughnuts and coffee, left from the night.  Kris mumbles his way through this ritual.  Alone with his thoughts, alone in his mind, he sees manna.  Oblivious to the man, oblivious to the smells, Kris dries a bit and sleeps a few hours away from his pain.

The day grows colder and snow from far in the north falls gently on the city.  Hiding blemishes, hiding sins under a mantle of pristine white.  Kris stirs from his spot and moves on his path.  The sidewalks beckons, he has faith in his mission.

Damp footprints show where Kris has passed, east towards the river.  Faltering steps show weakness, the staff more leaned upon.  Evening approaches as the riverbank nears.  Kris pauses and looks, longing, languishing along the snowy shore.  Something is different, something out of place; something pierces the fog of his mind.

>From the river a voice crying in the night.  A plea for help from the icy darkness of the water before him. In the swirling snow a small form is dimly visible.  Clinging with fading strength to snow covered flotsam: a boy, tiny arms, drenched and exhausted limbs ready to fail.  Kris steadily fords ahead and plucks the boy from the current and lifts him to an embrace, raises him to his shoulder.  Moving ahead with single-minded purpose Kris has his burden to safely deposit on the bank.  With renewed strength he fords the icy river, lifts his boy down into the golden light and drives his staff into the ground and kneels beside the boy to tend his needs.

The ritual is broken and with clarity unknown for years Kris strips the boy of sodden rags, and swathes him in his suddenly dry and perfect cloak, and holds him tightly to his chest.  Giving the boy his warmth, giving his very life.  The trembling child shivers and shakes, and Kris can feel his breath grow weaker and then stop.  A fading pulse in the child’s neck triggers memories.  The kiss of life, the ecstasy of sharing breaths, memories flood back from his one love, of the kiss that goes on forever.

Suddenly warmed with heated breath the boy returns the kiss, no chaste peck but a kiss to the soul.  Kris arches his back and in a moment of lucid love’s glory, releases madness and rises up to a blinding white light. Hand in hand, man and boy, pass through the light to love.  At peace now for all eternity.

Dawn breaks over the city; the body of Kris is surrounded by shivering public servants of death, a homeless man with no coat, one more grim winter statistic.  His lifeless frozen form enfolding an outline of a snow angel and a strange tree growing at his feet.

“It’s a miracle!” says a bag lady who stops and sees the palm heavy with fruit, a circle of warmth, a circle of green on the riverbank.

“An anomaly,” says the medic with an indifferent stare.

“Science,” says the driver, with a shrug.  

“Who was he?” asks the medic with a bored look.

“That’s Crazy Kris, he called himself Hagios Kristos, or something like that.” said the police officer with a shrug.

With callous indifference and smooth efficiency, the lifeless husk is loaded and carried away.  Heading west.  Alone.  Oblivious to the streets, oblivious to the sounds, Kris is oblivious to our world.