Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a community of writers from around the world who post 100-word stories every week, based on a photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

This week’s photo by Stephen Baum evokes the city walkways and tunnels where homeless people occasionally take refuge. You might see an aging veteran pull up his collar against the wind, or a weatherworn grandmother with a plastic garbage bag to keep out the rain. Or you might notice a man talking to no one in particular (and unaided by a Bluetooth headset). I’ve often wondered who’s on the other end of that conversation. If the voices are in his head, are they any less real?

Photo Copyright: Stephen Baum

Photo Copyright: Stephen Baum


by Jan Brown

My daily walk through the park led through some sketchy places. In one of several tunnels, I was routinely greeted by a lively old homeless man. He never begged, just offered a friendly “Good morning!” He always carried a satchel, brimming with tablets of scribbled calculations. In our conversations, I learned that he’d been a scientist–but he never said where.

Yesterday as I walked away, I heard him whispering: “Yes, tomorrow….Yes, I’ll have the data.”

This morning he said, “I’ve been waiting for you. I wanted to say goodbye.”

In a flash of brilliant light, he was gone.


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30 thoughts on “Visitor

  1. Looks like his scribblings paid off! I bet he was fired from his job for pursuing “mad” ideas – now he’s had the last laugh. Nice of him to stick around to say bye 🙂

  2. Great take, Jan. Living anonymously among the tunneled homeless would be an excellent disguise. I’ve often wondered about that one-sided conversation, too. If we could hear the other side, what would we hear. Great story!

  3. I really loved this one, Jan! The ending was entirely unexpected, and so creative and original. I’ve had a lot interaction with homeless men and women, and I’ve often been moved by the mystery of their lives before this point… the idea of mixing such gritty reality with magic, makes for a very good story!

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