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Chapter Four
Safe Refuge

"He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth Him hath mercy on the poor."
~ Proverbs 14:31 ~

As the day wore on, Hannah searched dozens of shelters with no success. No one had seen any one fitting the streetlight panhandler's description. Weary of walking, Hannah rested on a park bench.

"Are you looking for Daniel?" asked a voice. Hannah looked up and saw a young teenage boy standing before her. His hair and clothing was styled after the fashion of the homeless youth that Hannah had seen so frequently that day. Contrary to his tough, adult manner and expression, Hannah was amazed to hear the voice of a child. He scratched his arm, squinting intently at her, as if to impress her of how important he was.

"Who is Daniel?" she asked. For one split second, her question took him by surprise. His face relaxed, and Hannah saw a little boy.

"You want to see him or not?" he replied impatiently.

"Yes, thank you," said Hannah. Even though this person might not be the streetlight panhandler, this was the first person she had met all day that claimed to know him. The boy led her down a street or two, and then made his way to a tall underpass. Hannah slowed her pace when she saw other homeless youth, mostly comprising of young adults, come forward to meet her guide. Hannah quietly looked at the young group. Three men stood talking with her guide, while the others just stared back. A blonde headed woman with a tattoo on her arm, stepped forward and looked Hannah over. Unlike the boy, she glared at Hannah with an intense hatred.

"Never mind her," said the boy, grabbing her by the arm, and walking her to the dark side of the underpass. While a strong stench greeted her nose, Hannah's eyes adjusted to the darkness. Before her lie the streetlight panhandler. His eyes were closed, and his chest was slowly rising and descending. Hannah immediately knelt down beside him and inspected the wound, careful not to remove the dresssing the hospital had applied. The doctors had sewn the wound shut, but some of the seams were not holding. No doubt, because he had been forced to move before it had sufficently healed.

"Will he live?" asked the boy, standing over her, his voice betraying a twinge of concern.

"He needs to go to the hospital," Hannah replied, thoughtfully.

"But they were the ones who kicked him out!" yelled the boy, indigantly. Daniel's eyes slowly opened, and looked about. When he saw Hannah sitting beside him, he froze.

"Look, he's awake," observed the boy. Hannah looked down. When her eyes met his, he quickly looked away.

"Are you in much pain?" she asked gently. Daniel did not respond.

"He can't hear you," spoke up the boy. "Daniel's deaf. He can read lips, though." Hannah looked sadly at the face who tried so hard to turn away.

"Mikey!" shouted one of the men. The boy left Hannah and Daniel, and talked again to the three men. Hannah watched as Mikey returned, shaking his head.

"Spider says Daniel must go," said Mikey, relaying the message.

"But," protested Hannah, "he shouldn't be moved right now. He could die!" Mikey glanced nervously over his shoulder.

"Lady, if you don't get Daniel out of here right now, he could die anyway." Mikey squatted down and whispered, "Daniel tried to break up a fight, and someone stabbed him. If that person finds he didn't die, he'll finish the job!" Mikey looked at Daniel's still averted face. "I told him not to butt into other people's problems. Look at the thanks he gets for trying to help someone!"

continued on next page...
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