2022 Writing Contest

Josh takes my hand as does Ollie, and they lead me to Mums room. Walking inside my nose fills with the smell of bleach. Sitting up on the bed is our mum, within her hands a real paper book. It's open so I move and close it before taking her hand while saying, "good morning mum, I hope you slept well" She doesn't move, so I check to make sure the machines are working well. The last remains of the money we had went into keeping Mum alive and keeping this apartment. I softly kiss my mother’s hand. My brothers do the same before Josh asks, "When will mom be better?" I ruffle his hair while I answer, "Once you two do better in school" Ollie begins to tug me, clearly wanting to get some grub before school. I need to get more kibble. We lock up and leave the apartment, Ollie and Josh carrying their supplies for class. After walking for a bit we enter a small family-owned restaurant. They’re a good place for kids. Much better than letting them inside the Screaming Trout. We take a seat in a booth, and place our orders. While it's not a big meal, it's a treat they’ll enjoy. The rest of the money I have will go to the apartment and necessities. Once we get the food; powdered eggs, and some kind of meat. Ollie and Josh begin digging in. I pay up the bill before savoring my meal, it really is divine. The meal ends too soon, and we head out to their school. Upon arriving at the building, I pull Ollie and Josh in for a hug and kiss their foreheads. Then they rush into the building to not miss any classes, and I begin to walk away when I hear a voice ask, "That you, Zeke the Freak?" I wince at the nickname but turn back to see the guy who called me. His hair is constantly changing colors now, a flashy enhancement that is utterly pointless. I reply, "I just go by Zeke now, Shawn" Shawn rubs his forehead as he stands before me so I ask, "want something, or you just in the mood for a beating?" Shawn raises his hands defensively while commenting, "hey hey man, that a way to treat an old friend? Anyways, I was looking for you" "Why you looking for me?" "I know you need some money, and a friend of mine needs some help with a problem" "Your point?" "I'll pay you" "Then talk to me after work" I begin to walk away as Shawn says, "I’ll do that, as long as you wait for me” Fuckin shit bag, calling us 'friends'. I should have roughed him up a bit I hurry down to my job and enter inside the building. Getting into my uniform and grabbing my supplies, I get to work. I dump the trash outside. As I glance back into the job site, I can as the screams and shouts get louder. It’s going to be a long day. I head back inside to get to cleaning today’s latest mess. I acknowledging my other janitors as we keep this place clean as a whistle. Well, as clean as we can since there’s always a new mess for me to clean up. Its hard work and not illegal so I can't complain much. The pay is still shitty, so I try and pocket as much money as possible from a few drunks and people not paying attention. They have enough money to spend here after all, and it's not like they'd miss losing a few bucks here or there. But by the end of work, I still couldn't take much money, unfortunately. Since my shift is up, I put away my supplies and uniform before I walk away from the building.