Hold my hand, hold my heart.
Click, click, click, my heels announced my lone presence as I made my way home, racing against the fast coming night. Each step I took on the dimly lit street punctuated my racing pulse, as I made haste to escape the darkness and all evils that came with it. The echoing clicks of my heels were the only sound of life on the empty street.
And then I heard them. The lighter, less sure sound of a worn heel hitting the cold concrete. The click of a heel, the beat of my pulse, and the whispered sound of another unknown presence. One click, one beat, one tread. Click, beat, tread. The three fell into an unlikely pattern, creating a solid rhythm. Click, beat, tread. Each player kept their pace. Not one was willing to let up, and so we played on.
The light treads sped up to a frenzied pace. So did the clicks, and so did the heavy beats of my heart. We made music, the kind of music that spoke of a foreboding climax. The kind of music you cannot tear your ears away from. The kind of music that has everyone wondering what would happen next. But the click, the beat and the tread, none was ready to let up just yet.
I cast a glance at the shadow that pooled around my feet. The shuffling presence had taken over the tempo, and the dark outline I cast against the pavement now had two pairs of hands, and two pairs of legs. As our shadows merged, desperately moving to keep up with the uncertain tempo, sound and light came together.
I stopped. So did the shuffles. The beating of my heart, it went on in earnest, and in between each beat, the silence pressed against me.
The reckoning. An uncertain hand moved towards mine. The little boy moved out of the shadow. Hunger. Dirt. Hopelessness. Sadness. Desperation. Injustice. I was surprised he had been able to keep up my pace at all. All the street urchin wanted? Money. Ten shillings. Five shillings. Anything to take home to his mother. For if Oliver Twist returned without any takings, he knew he would have to play to a whole different tune. When he held onto my hand to implore me in earnest, I knew, what he was really trying to do was to hold onto my heart.