Story Contest 2nd Place: Snowy Grace

Sarah Usick / The Quill

The ragged man, ravaged by decades of delirium, rounded the ice-slicked corner to meet with another fluff of snow from one of the store roofs land on his hatted head. Winter was beautiful to him and he welcomed the white, crystalline precipitation. Even as the coldness of winter gnawed at any of his exposed flesh, which the ragged man was excessively bundled with rags to prevent frostbite or hypothermia, he couldn’t help but concede to the whiteness. It was one of those only limited sights where he could find hope.

In the crook of one arm, the ragged man carried a bag of some of his belongings – the other materials of his, he had left at a friend’s house. The house was not for him to live in though. His friend, of which he was fortunate to have as one of many, had a family of his own to care for. The ragged man made his home on the street with the other ragged ones, whom he would see on a regular basis at the local hot kitchen. There, he had also been handed a waterproof parka from a volunteer whose husband it would not fit. A parka to the ragged community was worthy of combating over, for on its own it would be a saving grace between remaining in this life or dying a chilly and excruciating death. Luckily for the ragged man, he was respected in the community, having done deeds for the ragged community and for those who had much more to be thankful for.

The ragged man softly passed through the snow beside a jewelry store, a shop of hardware, and a building whose inhabitants consisted of rescued animals and those who rescued them. The ragged man saw the figure of a woman and the figure of a child at the ending of the pathway he was on. He could not see in clarity, for there was enough falling snow to distort his vision. With the grace-giving parka hanging on his other arm, he continued to walk in the direction of the two figures.

Getting closer, the ragged man heard the child – a boy as it turned out – ask the woman if she could purchase a coat for him. Standing next to an outdoor clothing store, the two of them could have easily gone inside to make the purchase. The weather was of a mildness though, and the woman was talking to another lady who had suddenly appeared in the doorway. The interruption of the child brought forth a response from the first woman, “No son; and take mind of your manners as I speak to my friend here.”

The ragged man saw that this woman was fashioned in a fur coat reaching from her neck down to her knees and he knew this woman to be a disguised demon. The young boy shivered and he was already in a coat; yet still was chilled as his mother continued to rant with the other woman. “How cold this woman is,” thought the ragged man, nearing the boy.

Coming face to face with the boy, only with a few inches of falling snow between them, the ragged man smiled and lifted his arm with the parka dangling from it. There he knelt, wrapping the boy with the parka; and leaving the boy with a pat on the head, resumed his walk in the snowy city.