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Hobo Willie, Part 1

The leaves rustled in the cold January breeze just off the railroad tracks as Wilburn stood beside his bothers. The three boys lined up before their father, Nelson, and waited in silence for him to speak. Wilburn’s heart drummed in his chest, his palms grew slick, and his blood surged. Nelson stopped in front of him, looked deep into his eyes, and let out a resigned and weary sigh. He could feel the weight of his father’s strong, calloused hand as it rested heavily on his head. Nelson paused long enough for him to feel the warmth seep into his skull. He watched his father move on to his brother Woodrow, repeating the gesture. Only this time Nelson’s hand rested on his older brother’s shoulder.