The sun beats down on him, almost breaking his back with its contempt for him. It treats him no different than everyone else treats him.
At barely thirty he appears as an old man. Grey streaks his hair and his face. The desert of his skin is cracked and wrinkles cover it like sand dunes. He is bent, this man, as an old gum tree parched of thirst. A walking stick is leaned on lovingly as his sole support in life. His clothing is made from holes with barely enough threads to define them, and tissue paper would protect his feet better than what he claims to be boots.
He is ready to give up the ghost. His will for life has been stolen by the hatred of those better off. Sneers follow him as he walks, each one adding more weight to the burden of misery which hunches over him as if he were prey. Always his gaze sweeps the ground, searching, searching. Searching for what? An old coin perhaps, discarded by a child with pockets full of sweets. A bit of newspaper with which he can make what he calls a bed. Or perhaps he is merely looking at the only mother he has, who will embrace him in her cool, damp, earth arms when he has finally escaped his torturous past by fleeing to his welcome death.
In many ways he resembles the fabled character of Death. With little imagination, his walking stick is a scythe and his haunted stare becomes one that has seen every death there ever was. Even his face reinforces the grim visage, his translucent skin stretched so tightly over his skull that it's almost not seen at all.
Fate's kind smile looked upon him once in his childhood. Happy memories for eight young years before being blunted by the cruel lies and truths of the world. Slowly his parents died before his horrified weeping eyes. Quickly he fell from the pedestal of euphoria to the dungeon of depression. Never has he escaped from that dark, dank place. Always since then has his life been created from mishaps and misfortune, trials and tests beyond his ability to pass. No kind words are turned his way to ease his burden. Only scathing remarks often undeserved follow him, shooting off razor sharp tongues, cutting him to his core to allow fresh hurts and pains to ooze out.
Here, now, finally, his long awaited companion approaches. Oddly, he does not see his end striding near for searching the ground so hard for his grave. The grim reaper now walks beside him, and his steps begin to falter with increasing unsteadiness. Lo! Slips the walking stick from his hand and he falls forever forward, even as the one he resembles extends a skeletal finger and places it upon his shoulder. He watches as his body drops in the mud and is covered, creating a shallow final resting place. He turns to his companion, gives him a welcome nod, and receives the offered scythe. Behold the newly chosen grim reaper as the one who has vacated office melts into the void of nothingness. Behold he who strides away as his empty shell watches him depart with sightless orbs.
Behold the beginning of a new era of death, where those who once held him in contempt now have cause to fear.
I wrote this short story in the year 2000 for an English class.