The brown stained carpet was ripped in several rooms. Wall paper torn. Windows broken. Birds spoke to each other at four in the morning. An hour and a half before sunrise. The moon was still shining through clouds. Shined on the house that had a sign saying no trespassing. That didn’t stop some from entering.

On walls inside there were words spray painted in red and blue. Short sentences of anger. Stay Out, was stated on one wall. And, We Warned You, on another. There were also drawings of stick figures with blood pouring out of them. Guns and knives drawn on the walls as well. A real scene of violence.

Over in the corner the kid slept. Blankets and coats thrown on him. May’s chill made him shake. The old man kept a fire going in the middle of what was once a dining room for fancy dinner parties. He hoped it keep the young man warm. He’d put his hands up to it and sing throughout the night. Kid liked his singing. Reminded him of his mother putting him to bed when he was younger.

Upstairs a few folks stayed up all night and slept during the day. Pictures hung on the cream colored walls of a family that once lived there. The squatters kept them up as a sign of what used to be. They too once had families. Loved ones. Now they just operated as scavengers. Going through dumpsters and collecting tossed out food for the house. Dumpsters picked clean behind McDonald’s, Long John Silver’s, Golden Corral. The men gathered while women sold themselves to the streets. Bringing in money for cigarettes and cheap vodka.

This house. This old place that some called home would soon be gone. The City Council deemed it could be of better use. Perhaps a parking lot. It will be missed. The vagabonds thought they had it made. Paradise comes in different forms.

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