The drifter sat down on the park bench that night, breathless with anticipation as he took out his prize, a small wooden box which would contain the joy he so craved and had been searching for for so long.
Earlier that day he had seen two children playing some sort of game with this box; they had opened and shut the lid ten times and then on the eleventh time the box was opened, their laughter congealed into a string of translucent pearls, each containing a spark of light.
The children were very excited of course, but after some discussion had put the pearls in the box and it was at this point that they looked up and seeing the drifter walking past took fright and ran away, dropping the box as they did so.
Cradling the box, he held his breath and slowly opened the lid with trembling hands…the pearls were gone!
He threw his head back and wailed, tears running down his reddened cheeks, sobbed uncontrollably, utterly bereft.
Based on a prompt from CreativeWritingPrompts.com and a prompt from: –