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Last night he slept in a cardboard box, the only shelter he could find. He is not sure how long he has been traveling. He knows he has felt snow flakes fall gently on his head and felt the cold deep in his bones three times. Sometimes he would think he would never be warm again. And then the scorching heat would come and make him wish for the cold again. His memory fails him, all he knows for sure is he wants to find his home. He remembers kind faces, his family. He is pretty sure there was another boy, who he shared a room with and a girl who he would play with on warm summer days. He has been alone for a long time, that much he is sure of, and that he is hungry, dirty and weary. He calls himself Jack, although he can not quite recollect if that is his name. Jack, hungry, dirty and weary, detects the sun coming up over the hills and decides to get up from a nights sleep, stretching his tired bones he starts out again on his long journey home – wherever that may be.

When Jack left his home he was not afraid, nor angry. He could just sense the world held something bigger for him and decided to leave. Without a goodbye, one cool fall day, he started out to see the world and thought he would never look back. He had so much fun; he was so free. He had many friends and would come and go as he pleased. He would stay in one place sometimes for a night and sometimes for weeks. No one cared where he slept, what he ate or drank (or even if he did at all).

Then one day something terrible happened, he was involved in an accident. He was asleep for long time, for how long he was not sure. When he finally awoke he had a terrible headache and his leg was injured. He needed to rest and heal but all he wanted was to go back home. Not able tell anyone who he was or where he lived., once he was able to walk he just got up and left, starting his long journey home. He really just wanted to go back home! And although Jack could not remember which direction to head, he somehow knew he was going the right way.

Heading towards the hills in the distance, because he is pretty sure he lived near the hills, he meets a fellow traveler who says his name is Riley. “Where ya going?” asked Riley “Home!” says Jack “Why are ya goin there?” asked Riley “What kind of question is that?” Jack answers suspiciously, and thinks to himself, who is this guy - who just walks up next to him as if he has known him all of his life and starts badgering him with questions. Riley replies “Sorry man, I was jist trying to have er conversation. Do ya mind if I walk with ya while?” “Sure” replies Jack, actually happy to have the company. Jack and Riley walk side by side for what seemed like miles. Riley, now afraid to say to much, walks silently along. Finally Jack breaks the silence “Look there is a food place, lets go look in the dumpster and see if we can scrounge up some food. I am starving!” Riley nods and they head over to find something to eat. To their relief and surprise someone has discarded several tortilla's and some red beans and rice. “Oh man, this here is my favorite!” Riley says with a smile. “Well then let us eat!” replies Jack. Laughing, Jack and Riley eat until neither of them can walk. Tired from the miles they have traveled and now that they both have their bellies full, Jack and Riley lay down under some boxes and fall fast asleep.

As the sun comes up Jack wakes to see Riley walking away, “Hey, where are you going?” Jack ask. “Dude, I can't go home with ya. I lives out here on the street. I sure enjoyed having the company, ya know it gets lonely out here, but you's and I are not headin the same way anymore. You's going home and I, well I'm goin nowhere.” “Oh” replies Jack, sad that he will be alone again. “Well, maybe you should come home with me, I mean you said yourself you have nowhere to go.” Riley, sensing Jack's sadness returns “Well, maybe I could jist walk with ya until ya git home and then I will go nowhere again.” “Thanks, I have just been so, well you know.” Jack replies with a chuckle trying not to sound sad. “Yeah, I know!” Riley says with a hint of sadness in his voice, understanding exactly what Jack means. They both start laughing, happy to have each others company. Riley and Jack start out again, together, to find Jack's home.

Nights and days come and go; they find food and shelter along the way. The snow begins to fall and Jack thinks to himself - four times, I have seen the snow come and go four times. He starts to cry and Riley understands, never saying a word.

The hills are close, and somehow Jack knows he is almost home. He tells Riley that maybe, when he finds his home, his family will let Riley stay awhile. Riley responds, trying to sound disgusted “No way man, I told ya already, I belong out here, on the street goin nowhere!” Waiting a moment for Jack to respond and when he does not Riley shyly says “Jack, I mean if ya really think ya would like havin me around, well maybe I could stay for a little while. I mean, if ya think the family will let me and all.” Jack looks at Riley suddenly realizing that Riley puts on a very convincing act and just wants Jack to believe that he is tough.. The truth, as Jack now sees it, is Riley has been hurt by someone that he was close to and he is afraid of being hurt again. “Awe Riley, I would love it if you would stay for awhile. You would surely be doing me such a favor, I have been gone a long time and I could really use a good friend.” “Well then, we better git move'n on. Ya think we are close don't ya?” Riley asks and Jack nods his head. They start running as fast as they can toward the hills. Riley, being shorter than Jack, has a hard time keeping up. He calls for Jack to slow down, but Jack can't he knows he is almost home. The hills, he just knows his home is close to the hills. He cannot actually remember them, they do not look familiar, but he can feel them deep in his soul. Despite his injured leg throbbing with pain Jack runs faster, then faster still. And as Jack tops the hill he stops in his tracks. As Riley nears he can hear Jack's sobs and walks up next to him. This time Riley tells Jack it will be OK and that one day they will find Jack's home. Jack looks at Riley, hangs his head in sadness and lays down on the soft grass. He closes his eyes, feeling the prickles of grass against his skin, the cold of the fresh fallen snow and the wind blowing in his hair, and wishes he had died the day he was injured and then after a moment, wishes he had never left home at all.

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