Thursday 360 Challenge – “Everyone Has a Story”


Photo “seattle rain.” taken 12/12/10 by Ryan Heaney. Made available at under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.


Several long hours had passed since I had first huddled down onto the slick sidewalk, shivering as the melancholy rain slowly drenched my clothes. Many thoughts tried to force their way into my mind, but I pushed them back. These days it simply hurt to think.

My heart lifted as a dark sedan slowed to a stop at my street corner. The window rolled down lazily, and a young teen waved a bill of some kind. Swallowing my pride, I felt a tear slide down my cheek as I stood painfully and hobbled over to the car. I reached out my hand…and with a burst of teenage laughter, the driver stepped on the gas and lurched back onto the street, spraying my face with filthy street water.

I stood, dazed, as the sound of raucous laughter drifted into the midnight breeze. Limping back to the sidewalk, I collapsed into a heap on the ground. I sat there for a long while, allowing the icy rain to wash the salted tears from my cheeks. The sound of young voices broke me from my reverie. A few yards away, a young couple strolled down the sidewalk, arms entwined.

“There’s a man on the street,” the young lady observed loudly. “Maybe we should see if he needs help.”

Her boyfriend steered her toward the street. “How insane are you?” he asked, incredulously. “The guy might be a mass murderer. You can’t just stop and hang out with homeless people!”

“But everyone has a story…” the girl attempted, to no avail.

They tried not to make eye contact as they scurried past, and my soul was plunged into a sea of loneliness.

“Stop!” I wanted to shout after them. “Just let me talk to you for a second or two, so I can feel… human again.” I desperately wanted to tell someone – anyone – my story. How I had been a successful investment banker, until an electrical fire had robbed me of my home, my family, and the use of my leg.

But no one was listening. My cries of despair echoed down the empty street, answered only by the pelting raindrops – cold and unfeeling.


This short story was submitted as part of the Thursday 360 Challenge, where participants are challenged to create a memorable work of fiction based on that week’s photo prompt using 360 words or less. 


17 thoughts on “Thursday 360 Challenge – “Everyone Has a Story”

  1. Great story, John. Thanks for the shout-out for the Challenge. 🙂

    BTW, the photo is licensed at by Ryan Heaney with an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic creative commons license and requires attribution in order to be used. Thought I’d let you know. Without attribution it could potentially cause legal issues, etc… If you want, you can just copy my attribution into the caption of the photo, use a link to the photo’s Flickr page as the image URL, and add a link to the license page in the caption. It’s a little bit of a hassle at first, but once you know how to do it, it’s not too bad.


  2. John, that is a beautiful but very moving story.I could feel the man’s hurt, and the shame he felt at the way he must now appear to others. You’ve written this beautifully. 🙂


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