"Same Old, Same Old", Part One: A short story

Here's a story that I wrote about two years ago now, when I was thirteen. I remember I absolutely LOVED writing this. I was so proud of it, and I actually still kind of am, even though now I see that it has its flaws. It's not perfect, but I hope you guys like it. I'm going to be sharing it in two parts, as the whole thing is like 10,000 words and it would be too long to share in a single post.

Happy reading.

                                                                                                             

Jasmine

Same old, same old.

My alarm clock goes off at six a.m., a shrill ringing into the silence. I shut it up by hitting the button, then curl back under the covers. I close my eyes. I don’t want to wake up. Sleep pulls at me, trying to drag me back into a world of peace and quietness, but I know I have to fight it. I can’t be late for work again.

I sit up in bed, rubbing my eyes. I shiver. God, it’s cold in here. I almost can’t feel my fingers. I live in a small attic room at the top of an apartment block – it’s all I can afford. It’s tiny – just one small room with a bathroom attached – but what can you do? And it’s not like I have a lot of possessions to keep. There’s no central heating here and I can barely afford a proper fire, so it gets really cold in winter. I hate winter. It’s so cold, and dark. Right now there’s hardly any light outside – feels like the middle of the night. I want to go back to bed, but I can’t. I have to get going.

I drag open the curtains, letting in the thin, grey early-morning light. I have a fantastic view of a brick wall from my window. I don’t shower – I can’t face the freezing water this morning. I stand in front of my cracked mirror and stare at my reflection. I wish I could say that there’s something special about my appearance, but there really isn’t. I have long blonde hair, dull grey eyes and a complexion that I probably share with a million other girls out there. I look my age – fifteen. I’m not too tall, not too small, not fat, not thin. I’m just – average. Nothing special.

I struggle into my uniform. I work at a café in one of the posh parts of Little Oaks Town, and all us waitresses have to wear the same clothes – a black dress with a blue apron. I hate it so much. I’ve been working there ever since my parents died last year and I had to pay my own things. Here in Little Oaks Town, it doesn’t matter how old or young you are – you still have to work. Unless you’re one of the rich people, of course, then you get to parade around all day looking down on people who are not as lucky as you. I guess I was pretty lucky, getting a job in a café – the majority of kids my age end up in factories, and I’ve heard enough stories of what it’s like to work somewhere like that to know that I certainly don’t want to be one of those people.

I pull on my only winter coat and open the door to the small pantry. I don’t have much food stored there. I grab a piece of bread and cheese and stuff it into my pocket to eat on the way to work, then I leave my room.

Walking down the stairs to the building’s front door, I go past the doors to the different rooms and apartments. I can hear the sounds of people living their lives behind those doors – babies crying, children playing, people talking, arguing, laughing. I wonder what they can find to laugh about. I certainly haven’t laughed for a long time.

Outside it’s bitterly cold. I walk quickly down the road, past the old buildings. After a while, the buildings start getting newer, better kept. The café where I work is set in a square, surrounded by banks and businesses. The majority of people who work in those places come to our café for their lunch break – they’re the kind of people who can afford to eat out every day. They don’t even really have to work, they’re already rich enough – they just want even more money. They go about in smart suits, as though being well dressed makes you better than others. At least the café gets quite a lot of clientele – though that does mean I’m often rushed off my feet.

I enter the café using the back entrance us workers always use. It leads to a tiny space behind the actual café.

I’m greeted by Laura, the head waitress. “You’re late, Jasmine,” she snaps, glaring at me.

“Only by a minute!” I protest, looking at the clock on the wall.

She scowls. “Just get round the front, will you?” she growls.

I scurry through the door leading to the front part of the café, glad I’m not in any trouble today. The other waitresses, Sophie, Ruby and Clare, are already getting everything ready for when the café opens. I quickly start to help them, cleaning one of the tables.

They’re gossiping about something, as usual. They like to gossip, and I normally tune them out – I’m not interested in hearing rumours about people. But today Sophie says something I can’t ignore.

“I heard that they’re going to sack one of us,” she says casually. “Something about not having enough money to pay so many waitresses.”

“Really?” asks Clare. “Which one of us?”

“No idea,” says Sophie. “I don’t know all the details yet – I just heard Laura discussing it.”

I’m worried. Because if one of us is sacked, then I know that it will be me. I’m the youngest, and I’m late to work more often than not – everyone knows that Laura doesn’t like me.

And if I lose my job, then I lose everything. I’m only able to pay for my room because of the money I get working. If I don’t have that anymore then I’ll be out on the streets. The idea of being on the streets terrifies me. That can’t happen to me. It can’t.

Just then Ruby flips the sign on the door from ‘closed’ to ‘open’ and the first few customers start to come in, so I can’t think about it anymore. I get behind the counter, ready to serve people.

The people who come to our café drive me mad. None of them even look at me; they just place their orders like I’m not an actual person. They think they’re so much better than us, just because they have good jobs and money and they wear smart suits. Some of them are so rude to me I want to say something back to them, but I know that I can’t – I’d just get into trouble.

The only customer I can stand is a young woman who I think works at a building in the same square where the café is. I don’t know her name, I don’t know anything about her, except that she works nearby and comes to our café for coffee every morning at eight o’clock sharp. We’ve practically never talked, except when she places her order and I tell her how much it costs and she thanks me as she leaves. She’s tall, with dark curly hair and green eyes, and she has a dimple in her left cheek but not her right. She’s the only person who seems to notice me, smiles at me over the counter and thanks me as I pass her coffee over to her, as though she actually appreciates the fact that I find a minute every morning to make her a drink. Of course, I know that you can never know what someone is like just by looking at them – the whole kind, smiling personality is possibly just a façade, and inside she’s probably just as uncaring and selfish as all the others, but what the heck – I like her.

And yet I also feel a slight pang of jealousy every time I see her. See, her life is probably perfect. She’s probably got her own home, a good job, a caring family, maybe a boyfriend who cares about her. She’s probably never had to worry about having enough money to buy essentials. How I wish I could have a life like that.

I manage to get through the morning shift. We’ve got a lot of customers today. By the time my lunch break comes I’m so tired, I just want to go back home and sleep.

I eat my lunch in the tiny kitchen behind the café, sitting by a window and watching people go by. Inevitably I fall into my favourite daydream: imagining what I’d do if I were rich. Leave Little Oaks Town, definitely. I’ve been living in Little Oaks ever since I was born and everything that I’ve always wanted is to leave. I could travel – see the world, able to go anywhere…

I’m so absorbed inside my own fantasy that at first I don’t even notice the people wearing black mingling with the crowds. It’s only when I hear the first gunshots that I realise that something is very, very wrong.

The people walking around start to panic. There’s yells, shouts. More gunshots.

Inside the café, someone screams.


Lindsay

Same old, same old.

I switch off my alarm clock a second before it starts to ring. I’ve been awake for hours, lying on my bed. Last night was a bad night. I have a lot of those. I just wake up in the dead of night, and I can’t get to sleep again. Sometimes I wake up crying, I’m not even sure why, or if there is a reason why. Maybe it’s just a kind of reflex thing. I’ve cried so much these past couple of years, it feels almost natural.

I force myself out of my bed. Come on, Lindsay, up and at ’em – how bad can the day be?

I drag myself to the bathroom. My reflection stares back at me from the mirror. I stare at my own green eyes for a while, lost in my own thoughts. God, Lindsay, you look terrible. My dark curly hair looks like a bird just took up residence in there – a very untidy species of bird, too. And I’ve never really liked my face – the whole lopsided thing, a dimple in just one of my cheeks, what’s that about? I’m putting on weight, as well. I should exercise more but I just can’t find the time to. People are always telling me I’m pretty but people are also liars a lot of the time. Believe me, I know all about that.

I step into the shower. The water is so deliciously warm I seriously consider spending the rest of the day in here. Oh, snap out of it, Lindsay. I switch off the shower and step back into my room. I get into my usual work clothes, a crisp white blouse and black trousers, and go into the kitchen.

I place a couple of toast in the toaster and open the fridge, searching for something to spread on my toast. There’s an almost empty jar of strawberry jam, I should be able to scrape something out of it. I can’t have coffee at home, I haven’t been able to since the dratted coffee machine stopped working, maybe a few months ago – or was it a year now? Whatever, I can’t be bothered to get a new one; I just go to that café place just in front of where I work.

The toast is taking ages, seriously, why does it always take this long? I don’t have all morning. While I wait, I pace around the kitchen. I go over to open a window and the handle comes off in my hand. Honestly, this place is falling to pieces. The guy who sold me this flat assured me that it was brand new and everything was perfect. Of course, back then I didn’t know that everyone in Little Oaks Town is an expert at ripping people off.

Ah, what the heck. I like it here. The flat is spacious, the views are good, the neighbours are quiet, and I can walk to work in less than ten minutes. Not like getting up early is ever a problem with me, what with my insomnia, but still, it’s good.

At last, my toast is ready. About time. I sit down at the kitchen table to eat. I check my watch: seven thirty already, I’m going to have to get moving soon.

I’m not originally from Little Oaks Town. I come from the north, from a place called Blue Lake City. It might not be very far away from Little Oaks, but believe me it couldn’t be more different. Spies, killers, outlaws – those things are common in ol’ Blue Lake City. The whole world of spies and secrets somehow draws you in – it drew me in, anyway. I joined a secret organisation as soon as I was eighteen, and I spent three years hunting down the notorious Black Shadows, the deadliest gang this side of the world. And it was great, while it lasted – the risks, the adrenaline, that feeling of danger. But everything comes with a price. See, I made a lot of enemies, and one night some of them came to find me. They killed my family – my parents, my little sister. My sister was sixteen. She didn’t deserve to die. None of them deserved to die.

And it’s my fault they’re dead. If I hadn’t gone running into that world of danger, if I had only stopped and thought about it and not done anything reckless, the Black Shadows wouldn’t have come to our house that night. Sometimes I try to blame the people who killed them, to get angry, but the truth is that I have no one to blame but myself.

That’s when I decided I wanted to quit. No more dangerous missions. I couldn’t put more people in danger because of what I was doing.

But the thing is, in that line of work, you don’t quit. I mean, you can resign, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t still be people who would come after me. As I said, I made a lot of enemies. There are a lot of people out there who would like to see me dead, even if I’m no longer an agent.

When I left, I was advised to keep moving, to not spend too long in the same place. That way, it would be more difficult for them to find me. And that’s what I intended to do, at first. But then I moved to Little Oaks Town, and I got a job, and a home, and a routine, and I just didn’t want to leave again. It’s been two years since I moved here. I know that it’s dumb, and selfish too – if the Black Shadows came to get me, they wouldn’t just kill me, they’d kill everyone I work with and half the town, just for good measure. But I just can’t face leaving. Where would I go? And I like this life, this ordinary, samey life – I don’t want to go back to being who I was before. I’m fine here.

Well, that’s a lie. I’m not really fine at all. I’m lonely and I’ve been fighting off depression for the past two years. I don’t really have any friends, not real friends. I don’t want to have any. I don’t want to lose them like I lost my family, like I lost everything.

It’s strange that I already have so many bad things in my past while I’m still so young. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I’m amazed that I don’t see an old lady. I might look twenty-three but my soul feels a hundred years old.

I sigh and push myself off my chair. Time to get moving. I pull on my thick coat and take the lift down to ground level, then step outside into the chilly winter morning. I take a deep breath of the frigid air. I like winter – the cold wakes me up. I always feel more alive, somehow.

I enter the square where the place where I work is. Directly opposite is the café I always go into to buy coffee. I’m always served by the same waitress – that young blonde one who I always think is way too young to be working anywhere. She should be in school, college, whatever. But I know how things are around here. If you have to work, then you have to work. Only the rich kids go to school.

I guess I qualify as a ‘rich person’ around here. I have quite a lot of money that I inherited from my parents, and money that I was given when they died. As though money could fill the hole left inside me since their death.

After I’ve got my coffee I enter my workplace. I fix a smile on my face. I always try to be kind to the people I meet – why would I be rude to them? It’s not their fault my life is in tatters.

I work for a business that sells clothes. What I do is basically work out how much money we’re making. At best it’s dull, at worst it makes you want to fall asleep on the spot, but overall it’s okay. After everything I’ve been through, I like the way that it’s always the same.

I take the lift to the third floor, to my office, and switch on my computer, then I sit down on my chair and sip my coffee. I have floor-to-ceiling window in my office through which I can see the square outside. Now in the morning it’s packed with people going to their workplaces, teeming with life. Later on it’ll go all quiet, before getting busy again at lunchtime, and then again in the evening, when everyone goes home. That’s something I like about this place – it’s predictable. Every day is the exact copy of all the others – there’s rarely even the smallest change.

The morning slips by as I get on with what I was meant to be doing. Before long it’s lunchtime. I get up from my desk and go to the window. I might go down to that place down by the river for lunch, the sandwiches are delicious. I let my gaze wander around the people milling about in the square below. They look tiny from up here, like little ants dressed in black and white.

Something catches my eye, I’m not sure what at first, and then I realise what it is, and my blood feels like it’s turned to ice. Mixing with the crowds are people wearing black. It’s been a long time since I last saw them, but I’d recognise members of the Black Shadows anywhere. I can tell them apart from other people from a distance.

As I watch, they pull out guns and start firing at people. I can’t hear the people’s screams from up here, but I can see them panicking. The Black Shadows are also saying something – if only I could hear what.

I can only think of one explanation. They’ve come for me. I suppose what they’re doing is a distraction, and that some of the others have entered the building, looking for me.

I go into the corner of my office and pull up a floorboard, then I grope around inside until my fingers touch something. I bring out a small gun. I put it there when I first starting working here, and there it stayed, hidden. I’m not sure why I kept it there. I guess I always expected this. It was only a matter of time.

The sound of footsteps comes from behind me. Someone is approaching my office.

The door flies open, and standing in the doorway is one of the Black Shadows. He’s holding a gun, ready to fire at me.

I’m ready. Before he can shoot, I shoot him first. He crumples to the floor.

I stay on my guard; there could be more of them behind him. But it seems that he came here alone. Typical Black Shadow. They’re so cocky, they don’t even consider the idea of having backup.

I go back to the window. The Black Shadows are already retreating, melting into the alleyways. They probably had everything planned, timed perfectly.

The square is still in chaos, however. There are people who are badly injured. I don’t think they actually killed anyone, but I can’t tell from up here. I know that in Little Oaks there aren’t many doctors, and most people don’t know much about first aid – they’re going to need my help down there. I still remember the things I learnt when I was younger.

I shove my gun into a pocket and take the stairs back to the square.

                                                                                                   

Well, I hope you enjoyed this! Please comment your thoughts on it, I love getting comments on my writing!

I'll be posting part two of this within the next few days, so keep an eye out for it.

-Indigo

Comments

  1. Talk about a cliffhanger! I can't wait for part two!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked it! I'll be posting part two in a couple of days, keep an eye out for it! :)

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    2. it's much better than anything I've seen a thirteen year old write. Can't wait for the part two. loved it, totally!

      Delete
    3. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'll be posting part two later today, so you don't have long to wait :)

      Delete

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