Surveillance (200 words)
Old Crazy was a fixture of Liberty Park, a landmark as recognizable and immutable as the mermaid fountain in the square.
“They’re watching,” he’d say with faraway eyes and a discordant tone of immediacy.
If you asked him who was watching or why, you’d never get an answer. But people generally didn’t ask – like most of the homeless population in the city, Old Crazy’s prophetic rants and physical presence went ignored.
All the kids were scared of him, except my brother, Zeke, who wasn’t scared of anything. He was twelve, carried a jackknife, and always tried to lose me when he walked me home from school.
I hiked up my backpack, tightening the straps. The buckles didn’t work since before it was Zeke’s, but mom insisted it was perfectly good. I gripped the straps up by my collarbones. It made me feel less afraid to hold onto something.
“Check this out,” Zeke said, pinching my arm too hard.
We were passing the eagle statue that Old Crazy sat under. The bird stared down at us in stony disapproval, but even when I knew it would be bad, I did nothing to stop Zeke as he crept up behind Old Crazy.
This is a submission to Sunday Photo Fiction, a weekly challenge where writers post a story in 200 words or fewer in response to a photo prompt, shown above.