A REEDSY PROMPT
“I’m trying to find my way. Can you help me?”
‘I’M TRYING TO FIND MY WAY. CAN YOU HELP ME?’
by John Yeo
……….This remark was addressed to a figure who was just visible lying prone amid the debris under the arches close to the riverbank.
A tall man was struggling to keep his balance against the strong wind that had whipped up within the last few minutes. He pulled his smart tailored cloak around his shoulders and turned up the brim on his stovepipe hat. A hat and cloak that was rarely ever seen on the streets anywhere this century. A fashion that had long since disappeared into the realms of history.
‘That stupid coach driver obviously had no idea of where he was going,’ he thought. ‘Here I am stuck in the middle of nowhere.’
Charles Dackens was a gentleman farmer, his business had gone well today and he was heading for the Eagle Star, his favourite coach house. Somehow a thick mist had descended from nowhere and the driver had taken a wrong turning. Sadly the lead horse had lost a shoe and the horse-drawn carriage could go no further. The coachman had given him some garbled directions and he was completely lost.
The day had started roughly for Bengy, he had pains all down his shoulders and in his bones. Harshly, all his days seem to begin this way lately. It hadn’t improved in the hours he had spent on the streets all day. This latest sleeping spot was not up to his usual requirements, here under the arches there were at least ten rough sleepers on any one night. ‘Still, at least there is safety in numbers, unlike my last situation,’ Bengy mused. ‘Those devils were merciless in their drunken taunts, the painful kicks and blows are still ingrained in my memory. I am almost afraid to go to sleep now in case they come around here.’
Bengy jumped at the sound of this voice that seemed to emanate from somewhere in the swirling mists on the street.
‘Eh? What’s that? Who’s there? I have no money, nothing of any value. Please don’t hurt me.’
Charles Dackens stepped forward and doffed his hat to the prone figure.
‘Please don’t be frightened. I said I’m trying to find my way. Can you help me? I find it such a struggle to keep my balance in this high wind, please can you direct me to the Eagle Star coach house. It can’t be far away, I think I took a wrong turning somewhere. I will make it worth your while, I promise you.’
Bengy regarded this strangely dressed figure sleepily, he had had no sleep so far this wild windy night. The mist was now quite thick and he could barely see the man who was asking the question, but the voice sounded friendly enough. Bengy didn’t feel threatened.
‘Sorry Sir, I can’t help you. I don’t get far these days now I’m out of work. Since my dear wife passed away and I started gambling, I’ve lost everything. I could probably lead you to the nearest coach station where you would certainly get directions.’
The stranger said. ‘Thanks my friend, I would gladly make it worth your while. I better introduce myself, I’m Charles, what’s your name?
‘Bengy’s my name, I’m sorry if I seemed suspicious, I took a wrong turning sometime ago and I’ve been struggling to keep my balance ever since. I’m the one who desperately needs some help to find my way.’
At that point, to Bengy’s utter surprise a coach drawn by two magnificent grey horses drew up.
‘Ah, there you are Sir! I’ve been searching everywhere for you. I managed to find a blacksmith and I got the horseshoe fixed.’
Charles Dackens turned to Bengy and said, ‘Jump in Bengy! I’m sure we’ll soon find our way together.’
Bengy didn’t hesitate, and the coach and horses disappeared into the swirling ever-thickening mist.
Copyright ©️ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.