The Man on the Outside


There is a man in the shadows. His clothes are rags heaped on top of rags, layers of coats and scarves and dirt. Quantity over quality, trying to keep out the biting wind. But the wind is clever. It finds gaps, kisses his bare neck, tasting his skin. It wants him. Wants to drag him down into its domain, where frost-covered faces stare out from endless halls of frozen souls, their fingers blue.

The man doesn’t mind being outside. He couldn’t see before, but now he sees the monsters, the tamers, the masters, the holders of the strings.

LOW LOW LOW, the store calls. A siren luring sailors to the rocks. Sometimes he sees people go in and doesn’t see them come out. The items on the shelves never change. Always the same cans of soup, the same cheap plastic spades, the same ill-fitting bright gloves. And yet the people come out with bags upon bags, plastic fluttered in the wind.

And there is the man in the orange jacket by the door. Every day, the same jacket, the same chair. But a different man.

Sometimes he tells people the things he sees, but they never listen.

Word Count: 197

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. 

6 thoughts on “The Man on the Outside

Add yours

  1. I must admit that although I liked the spooky, haunting feel of this story, I didn’t understand much of it. I think it is about consumerism and shopaholics, but who are these men? The first one seems to be a homeless guy, but the one in the orange jacket? Why does he change every day?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      I was going for an unreliable narrator in the homeless man. It might be that he personifies some things that might not really be alive and sees sinister patterns in ordinary things (like different people collecting while wearing the same jacket). Of course, it might also be that everything’s exactly as spooky as he describes it, but only he can notice it.
      Not sure how well this one came across, since I seem to have unnecessarily confused a number of people.

      Liked by 2 people

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