I arrived at Westminster, London around seven o’clock on Sunday evening as the sun set below the horizon and the lampposts lit the gloomy streets. I had been evicted from my cottage in Gillingham for refusing to pay my rent and had come to London seeking advice from my parents in Highbury. I had only a few pounds left, just enough to catch a bus, as most of it had fallen through the holes in my pockets. I would head for Highbury tomorrow using the bus to get as close as possible but for now I would have to find somewhere to stay.
I had searched the town cautiously for a safe place to sleep, as I had read about the alarming crime rate of this city and knew that it had been the scene of many assaults, murders and robberies. So after exploring the busy streets and hiding from many suspicious characters, I finally decided to spend the night on Westminster Bridge. The icy winds swept across the blue, sunlit river and stirred several waves and ripples, while brown autumn leaves floated through the air in each direction. I was able to relax by gazing at the captivating sunset and smelling the fresh, salty ocean fragrance that permeated though the air.
I rested, listening to the cries and mutters of the busy community near me and watched several cars zoom across the bridge. My body trembled from both the breeze and the idea of being ambushed in the night, so I curled up in a ball to stay warm and checked my surroundings for any threats that emerged. As the sky darkened, the full moon shone above me and the stars appeared brighter than usual, shining and twinkling in the clear black sky. I heard animals howling and people muttering in the dark misty night. The wind grew fiercer now, whistling between trees as it raised the leaves from the floor.
As I lay curled on the bridge with my eyelids firmly shut, I reflected bitterly on the events that had led me there. I felt as if I would no longer live the safe comfortable life I knew, with shelter, nourishment and a nice warm bed, at least not for a while. But most of all, I missed my wife, who had left me many months ago. With the low income we received and the financial problems in which we soon found ourselves, we would both be on the streets if we had stayed together. I could not bear to be separated from her for too long, and I knew she was worried sick about me.
I needed to get home and buy back my property before anyone else moved in, but where would I find the money? My mind raced with thoughts and questions before I drifted off into a dreamless sleep. I woke under attack in the darkness and recoiled in shock as a painful blow struck the side of my head. Still half asleep, I glanced at my attacker as he came into focus. He wore a black outfit almost invisible in the darkness but I recognised his unusually pallid face glaring back at me. My stomach began to churn and my heart thumped like a drum blaring away at my chest as he crept towards me, pointing a rifle directly at my forehead.
I shrieked and cried out for help but my assailant lowered the trigger to my lips and fastened them. He threatened to shoot me if I uttered another word before he grabbed my luggage and dashed out into the night. Still slumped onto the sidewalk, I sobbed uncontrollably, a surge of tears pouring down my cheeks. Now I had been completely derived of support. Life seemed too hard. I had been struggling to survive before, but this experience had become more distressing than I could bear. Lying in these violent, discomforting streets, I had no shelter, no family and no life.
I spent what seemed like hours trembling and sobbing before I fell asleep once more. The following morning, I was woken by the community around me, who were on their way to work. I held my nose firmly as cars zooming past left the stench of petrol behind to pollute the air. I slowly made my way on my feet and walked through the town until I heard many cars screeching and people shouting in the distance. I was getting closer to the main area of the town. As I approached the elegantly dressed people in their luxurious cars, I realised I had become the centre of attention.
Everyone around me glared at me as I passed them. As I stared timidly into their angry eyes, I knew that I needed to find my parents today and get home as soon as possible before I was gravely injured or killed. As I stood at the nearest bus stop I could find, the other passengers eyed me sternly with the same cold, accusing stare. I ignored them and waited anxiously for the next bus. As I boarded and paid my last few pounds to the driver, I was determined to get my life back and vowed never to sleep in this ruthless environment again.