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Framed

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The rain spilled off the dark concrete bridge as Damien huddled with his wife, Mary, and his son, Julian. Under the thin fleece blanket you could hear the patter of the rain, threatening to evade their dry shelter and end their chances of ever returning to the normal world. The year is 1929, place Ingleburt, England, it was an unusually stormy night in the city, but the Cruses have faced far worse threats than dull rain. The Cruses were not like the usual family for many reasons. The majority of that is because they are hated, homeless souls with nothing but the clothes on their back, some sheets, and each other. If the Cruses were any more hated they would be England’s public enemy number one. The Cruses did nothing wrong to earn their rank, it is only because they aren’t as liked or nearly as wealthy as the rest of the population of England’s finest town. How the Cruses made it in this dog house of a town? You ask. The simple answer is they run, they run because if they stay in the same place for too long then they will be found. The Cruses are hated, wanted, but uncatchable.

The bugs skittered across the hot ground as Damien walked out of the coffee shop. With coffee and newspaper in hand he walked over to his family who was now sitting on the park bench playing tic-tac-toe. His son, Julian, loved playing in the local park with his friends, but they could only visit the park a few times each month, for they were one the run. The streets were lined with men on horseback or carriages for the richer folks. A large white stallion sparkling in the bright sun strolled up to the Cruses. Julian hastily jumped up and ran towards the horse. This horse belonged to old Mr. Riffleton. Mr. Riffleton is one of the few people that have actually gotten to know the Cruses and was a good family friend. “Well, hello Mr. Riffleton! What brings you to this part of town?” asked Julian, excited to see the old man. “I was just out getting some groceries. How’s life treatin’ you, Damien?” “Good Mr. Riffleton, thanks for asking. How’s life been to you?” “Oh you know, same old thing.” The conversation went on for a while. Suddenly, there was a trumpet playing! The Cruses ran under a bridge with a quick goodbye as Mr. Riffleton lined up next to the street with everybody else. A white carriage with gold decorations emerged into the road and all the people clapped. The white carriage belonged to the Prince of Ingleburt. The prince made his rounds every day and checked upon his people. After a few minutes of the carriage rolling down the street and the prince talking to a few people, the roads crowded back and the day continued as normal. The Cruses slowly crept back around the bridge and approached Mr. Riffleton. “That was a close one, I think we should be more careful next time,” said Mary with concern in her voice. “I am sorry I held you folks up. I’m afraid it’s time I go back home,” concluded Mr. Riffleton. His sparkling white stallion turned gracefully and clopped away rhythmically. The Cruses held sad looks on their faces as Mr. Riffleton disappeared into the distance. “I guess we should head to sleep,” announced Damien. The Cruses headed off to bed under their bridge under their filthy, thin blankets as the sun slowly crept out of the orange-purple sky.

The Cruses were awoken by loud shouts then the ring of a bullet hitting metal then another shot with a dull thump following it. Damien groggily jumped to his feet and went to investigate the loud disruption. He rounded the corner and saw a sliver of a man dressed in all black rounding the corner. There was a man lying on the ground in a pool of scarlet blood. The man on the ground wore a formal suit and a bluish-blackish tie. His shiny black suit was ruined by the blood leaking from a nickel sized hole in his head. Damien ran to the man and checked his neck for pulse and his mouth and chest for breathing. The man’s pulse was absent... so was his breathing. The family came running and Damien hung his head in respect for the dead man.

The smoky lobby of the police station held a receptionist’s desk, a few chairs lined up against the wall, a small coffee table, and a few limp magazines. Since the murder Damien has been so worried about what would happen to his family since he turned the body in. Would they be put in jail for the small crimes they committed, like taking a fruit or two, or a small loaf of bread from the bakery? They needed these things to survive, but no one understood because they had plenty of money to take care of themselves and their families. Interrupting Damien’s thoughts, came Mr. Fulkerson, the captain of the Ingleburt investigations team. “Hello, Damien decided to stop by or did the cat drag you in?” Mr. Fulkerson insulted. “Well, it looks like you haven’t gotten any taller since we last met,” remarked Damien. “Now you know that it’s not my fault I’m short!” bellowed Mr. Fulkerson. “Now, boys don’t be getting in any fights,” said the receptionist smoothly. The men sat on opposite sides of the room waiting for results of the murder. A short stocky man with a cigar in his mouth stepped into the cramped waiting room. “We’ll he’s dead,” the short man announced with a heavy Irish accent. “Thank you James, but we know that. So could you please tell us what we have discovered,” said the captain agitatedly. “Just messing around with you captain, you never could take a joke could you? Anyhow, we found some fingerprints on the body that should help us with the case. He’s got himself a nasty bullet wound in the noggin and evidence of a struggle from cuts on his hands and a few scrapes on the arms,” announced James. “Thank you, James, you may leave now,” said the captain, and the short Irish man left the room. “You do realize we are going to have to keep you at the police station until the case is solved?” asked the captain. “Yes sir, but it would be a waste of your jail space,” replied Damien. “Nice try, but we can’t be sure that the killer isn’t in this very room,” said the captain suspiciously. “I can assure you captain, that I did not kill that man,” said Damien, calmly.

The hot room was illuminated by a single interrogation light shineing in Damien’s face. “Why’d you do it!” yelled the captain. “I didn’t sir, I swear!” retorted Damien. Damien has been here for a few hours now being yelled at by the captain. The investigation team found a set of fingerprints on the body and they matched Damien’s fingerprints. Damien was yelling that he was innocent and there must have been a mistake. Of course no one believed the homeless man. What made it worse was that the person who was murdered was a famous politician that was running for a spot in Congress. At first the investigation team believed him, then it only got more suspicious and the press got more anxious, that the team could only charge Damien for murder. They had to accuse someone why not the one who had nothing to lose. Or so they thought. Damien actually had a lot to lose, such as his family or those times they went to the park and played on the various obstacles. But no one cared about the homeless one, the one who knew hardship, the one who was innocent. Oh, that man has no friends, people thought, but the truth was he had various friends such as Mr. Riffleton. But now all hope was lost and the little that he had was now gone...forever.

The bright spotlight swept across the dark courtyard watching the prisoners of Ingleburt’s maximum security jail. This place was dangerous; it was for cold blooded killers, but not for innocent people like Damien. The prison was guarded heavily and large fights broke out daily. Damien didn’t belong here, he belonged on the streets, he belonged with his family, the ones he missed and loved, the ones that knew his troubles and faced them daily. Damien couldn’t die here, he just couldn’t. They weren’t going to left him free anytime either. So that left one choice… Damien was going to escape from prison.

9:00 a.m. May 5, 1929
The light fog settled over the courtyard limiting the view to a minimum. Damien walked around the edge of the yard just studying the walls and cracks. Today I must break out, Damien thought to himself. There hadn’t been much planning that had gone into this but it would have to work somehow. The guards eyed Damien suspiciously as he stared at the bleached walls. The other prisoners smirked and whispered to each other. Damien didn’t care, for he would be out in a matter of hours.

1:00 P.m. May 5, 1929
Damien sneaked out of the mess hall to the deserted yard. Now was the perfect time because all guards were in the mess hall eating or guarding the prisoners that are eating. With one end in hand Damien tossed the weighted end of the sheet made rope over the wall. He climbed the rope triumphantly and rolled over the fall. He hit the ground then stood up. The freedom he felt drowned out the shouts coming from behind him in the jail yard. He would probably be put back in jail, but for now he didn’t care he only cared about the present, not the past not the future, but the present. He walked back to the streets, back to where he belonged, back to his home.





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