“You know” Anders began; “I don’t even know why I got in.”
“I hear that more often than you think.” The cabbie said with a small smile. “I consider this a special taxi. It draws in people that need it.”
“Well, I don’t think I really need it at the moment”
“Maybe not now, but I have a feeling this is not the only trip you’ll make with me tonight.”
“I really don’t think so. But ok.” He replied being used to the many strange people you meet in the big city he lived in.
Looking around he noticed many small marks that looked like pictograms of a sort in places around the interior.
“What are all those? They look a bit like burn or engraving marks.” he asked pointing at the roof.
“Those are memories. You see, you meet many people being what I am. A lot can use a bit of help. This is what helps me remember the ones that succeed in getting it.”
“People need to earn your help?” Anders asked while being unable to keep the disapproval completely out of his voice.
“Not exactly what I said or meant. Ideally, people should learn to help themselves. The best thing is to not just hand someone the solution, but being shown the road to it, and then finding it for yourself.”
life is complex & there are no shortcuts.
Some vampires because I’ve been watching Castlevania.
Ba-dump*, it was faint, but he could hear it. A smile tugged at his lip, lifting his nose slightly he sniffed the air. Her blood wafted through the air, AB-, rare and delicious. He slinks through the night, hunting her down. *Ba-dump; Ba-dump; Ba-dump* the thumbing of a scared rabbit, he could almost smell her fear, intoxicating really. As he moved through the forest and into the old churchyard, the scent intensified and hushed breathing reached his ears. His tongue slid over his fangs gently.
Slipping through a broken window, he entered the derelict church. The breathing got louder, the scent flooding his senses. He was so close, excitement bubbled through his veins. Slowly, he walks past the pews, making his way to the back of the church. He pulled open a back closet door, in the corner of the small room sat the one he’d been looking for.
Gentle blue eyes looked up. “Found you,” he chuckled, holding a hand out for her to grab. “You cheated,” she huffed, allowing him to pull her up. “I’m using my resources, that’s not cheating,” he countered, pecking her cheek as they walked out of the church. “Whatever,” he laughed, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.”
“Anyways,” she started, looking up at him. “The sun is coming up in an hour, we should get home.” he nodded.
// Aoife Kaelin
I don’t know anything about casinos or gambling so excuse my glossing over of the subject.
Jared slowed his car to a stop in the parking lot of the Lucky Jack casino, climbing out to make his way inside. He smiled at the inviting warmth that surrounded him, gambling tables and slot machines bathed in the warm glow of the crystal chandeliers. “Hey!” he turned, stumbling slightly when he was surprise hugged. “Long time no see!” Lyla exclaimed, squeezing Jared’s forearms. “Yeah, been super busy. Glad to be back though,” he chuckled, following her back to the counter. And after a short catching up and a chip transaction, Jared was off to score big.
2 hours and $4,050 later Jared is ready to call it a night. He’s not about coughing up his winnings to the IRS. “I’m out,” he lets out a satisfied sigh, leaning back in his chair. He piles up his chips, standing to cash them in. “thanks for the luck,” he kisses the cheek of his dice blower, a fanciful blonde with a heartwarming laugh. “Oh, come on now,” the table quiets, the newcomer approaches. In a snazzy three-piece, blue velvet suit stands the owner, Lucky Jack. “Bet you can win double if you stay,” he tips his hat to Jared with a coy smile. “No thanks,” Jared shakes his head, Jack sighs. “Tell you what,” he places a hand on the small of Jared’s back, staring down at the table where the game continues. “You and me, whatever game you want, if you win we can keep this between us,” he offers, Jared’s interest piqued. “And if you win?” he asks, crossing his arms. “That’s for me to know,” he winks, lifting his hand for a shake. Jared chuckles in disbelief, deciding to take the deal.
A quiet table in Lucky Jack’s private office, the owner sets a pair of red dice in the middle. “Fancy,” Jared comments as he reaches out to grab them. He flinches when Jack grabs his wrist, the man wags his finger with a tongue click. “These are my lucky dice, I roll them first,” he rumbles, releasing Jared’s hand.
The game begins…
// Aoife Kaelin
Here’s day ten, a bit of a long one. It’s supposed to be an olden times setting, but I think I failed. Hope you enjoy though.
The cool breeze of the coming Autumn flushed through the alleyways and cobblestone streets of the small village. Dying leaves turned their warm colours as they cascaded to the ground in large multicoloured piles. In the death of luscious life sat Adelaide, having run away from her lover’s home in tears.
“Hey,” she flinched, wiping away her tears as she looked up at the rather handsome noble dressed stranger. “You’ll catch a cold if you stay out here dressed like that,” his voice is deep and smooth. She looked down, blushing when she realized she was only in a cotton chemise. In her haste, she hadn’t even realised she was in such little clothing. “Sorry..” she mumbled quietly, shivering as her adrenaline died down. “Here,” he removed his fur-lined cloak, kneeling to wrap it around her shoulders. “Come with me, I’ll take you someplace warm,” he helped her up.
They came upon a small coach, Adelaide slowed her pace. “Forgive me for asking, but why are you down here sir?” she looked up at him as he opened the door for her. “I love the fall colours, they’re so much prettier up close than up on the mountain,” he climbed in after her. “But aren’t you surrounded by forests?” the man chuckled, turning his attention to the small window to look outside. “I guess, it’s just different down here,” he shrugged, Adelaide hummed nodded absentmindedly. She tugged the cloak around herself a little tighter before turning to stare out the window as well. Watching the autumn colours pass smoothly as the carriage moved along its path.
“What’s your name milady?” Adelaide turned, slight blush dancing across her pale face. “Adelaide Blythe, sir,” she answered quietly, he nodded, gently taking her hand and placing a kiss on her knuckles. “I am sir Isaac Hale, the king’s honourable advisor.” Adelaide gave a little bow in her seat.
The carriage arrived at the foot of the mountain, stopped in front of one of the few great homes of the King’s great men. Adelaide was helped out by the coachman, guided inside by maids called upon by sir Isaac. “Dress her warmly, and bring her back,” he instructed as they pulled the young woman inside.
Adelaide is reacquainted with Isaac who leads her outside amongst the orange and red trees that surrounded the mountain. “They’re beautiful!” she exclaimed, taking in as much of the scenery as she could.
Her Autumn was much brighter than she expected this year.
// Aoife Kaelin
Sorry, this one is so late, yesterday and today were really busy. But, better late than never am I right?
Arthur woke up to the incessant knocking against his workshop door. Sitting up, he hissed at the pain that shot up his back from sleeping in a hunched position for so long. He pulled his goggles off his face, rubbing his eye and yawning. The person knocked again, prompting the brunette to speak, “One second!” he called, before pushing himself up. He walked to the door, hissing under his breath when the sun hit his face. “Good Lord, when was the last time you came outside?” Oliver asked, chuckling to himself. “Last week, to grab more supplies,” came Arther’s response as he allowed his friend inside. The blonde was in awe at the progress the brunette had made on his most recent project. “Can it move yet?” he asks, examining the completed torso of the automaton. “Not yet, but I’ve put all the gears in the joints.” Arthur grabbed a screwdriver and fiddled with some of the joints. “Anyways, take a break. I want to take you somewhere,” the brunette looked up, his interest peaked. “I have to finish this,” Oliver sighed, shaking his head gently. “All that thing is going to do is play piano, it’s not the end of the world.” he reasoned, wrapping his arms around Arthur’s shoulders. “Come on, just for the day. You can have all of tomorrow to work on your little gearmen while I sleep in your bed and wait for the next train.” he offered, nuzzling his nose in Arthur’s curly locks. “Fine,” he rumbled, blushing slightly. “Yay! Come now,” Oliver straightened up, walking back towards the exit. Arthur follows, tossing off his gloves and workman’s apron, replacing them with his smog mask and goggles.
They walk through the bustling streets of the iron city, crossing through streets and alleyways to get to their destination. “Where are we going?” Arthur called as they slipped into Oliver’s landship. “You’ll see,” was his answer as he drove onto the main road.
Arthur stared outside boredly until he began to recognize the route they were taking. Excitement bubbled in his gut as he turned to face his friend. “We’re going to the airship docks aren’t we?” Oliver smiled, keeping his mouth shut as he continued to drive.
The airship docs came into view, great dirigibles stationed for maintenance and cargo exchanges. Oliver parked, climbing out and grabbing Arthur’s hand. He pulled the brunette along till they got to where the smaller ships were docked. Wrapping his arm around Arthur’s shoulders. “Isn’t she beautiful?” he pointed to a hot air balloon ship. “It’s yours? How did you even pay for it?” Arthur walked forward, in awe at the craft. “I won it in a duel.” Oliver climbed aboard, offering his hand to help Arthur aboard. “You always said you wanted to fly, now I can make that happen anytime you want.” Oliver hummed, watching the dock workers untether his ship and give him the okay to take off.
// Aoife Kaelin
I enjoyed this one a lot, a very sweet little story to combat yesterday’s bit of gruesomeness. I quite like Lukas and Lucy. They might make a few more appearances throughout this year. Anyways, hope you enjoy!
Lukas awoke to the nasally voice of his sister who’d made her way onto his bed. “What time is it?” he mumbles quietly, rubbing his eyes as he sits up. “2:45,” Lucy answers, sliding off the bed and grabbing his uninjured hand. “Come on, I want to show you something!” she whisper shouted, tugging his arm gently. “Just show me tomorrow,” he groaned, attempting to lay back down before Lucy tugged at him a bit harder. “It won’t be their tomorrow Lue, you have to come now!” she whined, grip tightening on his hand. The ginger boy sighed, giving his twin a subdued nod. Lucy cheered, helping her brother out of bed. She wrapped her arm around his waist before they made their way into the hallway. The pair stayed as quiet as possible as they passed their parents room if either woke up and found them out of bed after their little glass fiasco the other day it would not be good.
Careful footsteps descended the stairs, they stopped to rest at the bottom because of Lukas’ leg. “Let’s go,” he signified that he was ready, Lucy nodded. They walked through the kitchen to the back patio door and stepped outside. A shiver travelled up Lukas’ spine as the cold night air assaulted his bare skin. “You should’ve told me we were coming outside,” he scolded his sister as they stepped out onto the patio barefoot. “That would take too long, and I already prepared for that,” was Lucy’s response as she pointed to the small fire pit in the middle of their backyard. A weak flow emitted beneath the stone circle. They walked across the lawn and onto the cold stone that surrounded the fire to protect the grass. Lukas sat on the long wooden patio chair that had been covered in blankets and pillows as Lucy set out feeding the fire. She came and sat next to her brother, wrapping one of the blankets around their shoulders and revealing the large thermos that she’d tucked away under the seat. “I made us hot chocolate,” she smiled, unscrewing the lid and taking a sip before handing it to Lukas, who accepted. “So, why are we out here again?” he asked after taking a sip, humming contently at how the chocolaty drink warmed his chest. Lucy pointed up at the sky, her eyes adopting a dreamy hue to them. Lukas followed his sister’s arm, gasping quietly. The sky was clear, and filled with stars. It was absolutely beautiful. “I thought you’d like to see it,” Lucy said quietly, leaning her head on Lukas’ shoulder. “Thanks, Luce,” the boy smiled.
The twins’ star gazing turned into an impromptu backyard camping excursion when they fell asleep curled up together. Let’s just say their mother wasn’t very happy…
// Aoife Kaelin
1 week down! I think I’m doing good. I got a bit sidetracked in this one, but I think it’s still good. Trigger warning for blood and injury, I hope you enjoy!
The pitter-patter of feet sounded throughout the quiet kitchen, as Lucy chased her twin brother Lukas in their game of two-man tag. Their giggles filled the air as they raced around the house, rounding corners and tripping over their own discarded shoes. “Got you!” she laughed triumphantly before taking off in the other direction to escape his clutches.
Speeding up the steps before Lukas could catch up, Lucy curled up under her parent’s bed since the door was open. She covered her mouth, listening as he ran past towards her bedroom. When he ran past again, she crawled out from under the bed. She walked to the door peeking out both ways before slinking towards the stairs.
“Boo!” Lukas shouted, accidentally pushing his sister in his elation. Lucy tried steadying herself, but she tripped over a lump in the rug before falling. The shattering of glass and a sickening crack filled the tense silence, as Lukas ran to tend to his sister. “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to do it so hard!” he apologized, tears filling his eyes as he helped her into a sitting position. Lucy gripped her bleeding nose, panicked hiccuping escaping her trembling lips. “I think it’s broken,” she whimpers, tears spilling out from her eyes. “I’ll get a towel,” Lukas stands quickly rushing past her to get to the hall closet. His rescue mission is cut short, however, when he stepped in the mess that was their hallway flower vase. He yelped, leg giving out as he came crashing to the ground. More glass embedded itself in his leg and hand. Lucy pulled him out of the glass, leaning him back against herself. She wrapped her arm around his torso as he cried, leg spasming from the pain. She holds him for a moment before placing him against the wall and standing up. “Stay here,” she says quietly, walking around the glass to grab a towel and the first aid kit from the closet. She returns quickly, now holding a towel to her nose.
A trembling hand wrapped around a pair of tweezers as she worked to get the shards out. “Hold still okay?” Lukas nods, holding his leg steady with his uninjured hand. Slowly Lucy removes the glass from his foot, working up his leg and finally handing him the tweezers so he can pull the glass out of his hand as she disinfects and bandages his foot and leg. After she finished they traded places, so Lukas could look at her nose. The bleeding had slowed down, allowing the boy to work.“Hold this,” he instructs, gently pressing some folded gauze to her nostrils. She did as instructed while Lukas grabbed the tape. He taped the sides of the gauze to her face, before taking a large bandage and placing it over the bridge of her nose.
Lucy helped her brother up, walking him towards his room so he could lay down. She walks out into the hallway, grabbing the hand broom from the closet and another towel that she wet in the bathroom so clean up the mess. When she finished she returned to Lukas’ room laying down next to him. “Do you think mom will be mad?” he asks her quietly. “I think she’ll be more worried, but don’t tell her we were running around,” she responds, looking over at him. The twins laugh quietly, enjoying their quiet time before their mother would inevitably return home and they’d have to come up with some excuse to explain why they were all banged up.
// Aoife Kaelin
I must admit, I’ve never been to an ice rink so excuse my ad libbing. Anyways hope you enjoy!
“I have a surprise for you.” Mary looked up from her book to find, Christain standing in the doorway of her office. “What is it?” she set her pencil down, leaning against her hand as the pinkette entered the room and sat across from her. “It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if I told you,” he retorted, standing back up and offering her his hand, “Come on, I promise it’ll be fun.” he assured her with a big smile. Sighing quietly, the brunette stood up, she took his hand and walked around her desk. “Bring your jacket,” she rolled her eyes, snagging the aforementioned item off her coat rack.
The ride was much longer than Mary expected, radio at a low hum in the back of her mind. She watched the cityscape fade into suburban homes.
“Here,” Christian held out a blindfold, keeping his eyes on the road. “Why?” he huffed a quiet laugh. “Stop asking why and do it, you’re so high strung I’m getting stressed. Now put on this blindfold.” he peeked at her for a moment. “Fine,” her vision was soon enveloped in darkness. Leaning back, Mary sang along to the radio as the ride continued.
“Aand, we’re here!” he chirped, tapping the steering wheel. Christian climbed out of the car, walking around it to retrieve his friend. “You’re going to have to trust me okay?” he said slowly, wrapping his arm around her waist. They walked slowly towards their destination. The sound of doors opening was followed by a cold rush of wind. They walked further, down a short flight of steps. The air was far holder down here. “Are we almost there?” Mary asks, reaching up to touch her blindfold. “Just about,” the sound of laughing and conversation filled her ears as they came to a stop.
“Christian, you didn’t!” she smiled as the scene in front of her, an ice rink. “Your mother was telling me all about how you used to skate, I just thought it would make you happy,” the pinkette admitted sheepishly, as they walked over to a bench. “It’s perfect Chris, thank you so much,” she kissed his cheek gently.
// Aoife Kaelin
i left my bedroom open
a little bit
so i could breathe,
so i wouldn’t suffocate
between these four walls,
but my spirit
was still stifled
in the empty room
inside my chest.
Day 5 done and on time! I really enjoyed writing this one, hope you’ll enjoy reading it.
*Click* The short flash of Jake’s camera shines across Lyla’s face as she stands in front of the beach. He chuckles as the girl deflates slightly before straightening up for the next picture, a few adjusted settings and *click*. His grip on the camera relaxes as he guides the young model into a different pose and taking a few more shots. “Are we going to take more on the sand?” she looks at him as he adjusts her head. “If you want to,” she smiles, holding her pose as he snaps a few more pictures.
“Do you think I’ll be famous one day?” Lyla asks as they migrate to the warm sand. “I think so, you’ve got a lot going for you,” he answers honestly, smiling down at her. “I promise not to forget you when I am,” she hugs his arm as they walk closer to the water.
After setting up their blanket, Jake pulls his tripod out of his camera bag and buries the legs in the sand for stability. “Stand out closer to the water,” he instructs as he sets up the camera, adjusting the settings once more to account for the sunlight. *click* He examines the test shot of Lyla walking towards the water. He watches her mill through poses before settling on one. Leaning down, he lines his eyes up with the camera and takes a few pictures. “How do you feel about water shots?” he asks her as he disconnects the camera from the tripod. “I don’t have any extra clothes but I wouldn’t mind,” she kicks off her sandals. “I’ve got towels in the car,” he offers, walking with her towards the ocean. “My mom would throw a fit if she found out,”
“Then we won’t tell her,” he puts his pointer finger over his lips in a mock shush as he stops. “I’ll tell her it was your idea if she does.” Lyla laughs as she walks away from him, stopping when the water rushes past her feet. “Get a little closer, so the water is at your calves,” she does as instructed, turning back to him. *click* the water splashed against her legs splaying outward around her.
“Next time I’ll bring my swimsuit,” she comments as they pack up his car, he nods in agreement. “You should too, it’s been a while since we just hung out without taking pictures.” they climb into the car.
“Maybe,” Jake turns on the ignition, taking off to drop Lyla at her home before returning to his to edit and choose the best pics.
// Aoife Kaelin
Hi, sorry this one is late I got a little busy. Anyways, I’m going to say mild trigger warning as there is a bit of deadnaming in this one, but with a cozy ending. I hope you enjoy!
He walked into the small cafe for the second time that day, fifth time that week, and twentieth time that month. He’d been inside the small corner building so many times he barely looked up as he made his way to his favourite spot, a little nook at the edge of the large front window where he could people watch in peace. The inviting atmosphere was the much needed pick me up for his dreadful day. As he settled into the small slightly cushioned chair his phone buzzed, a pit grew in his stomach. The screen was a light with his mother’s contact photo, and as much as he didn’t want to, he answered.
“Megan, where in God’s name are you!?” he flinched at the name
That damn name, it isn’t his…
“Megan please, I’m worried about you.” a traitorous lump blocked him from responding easily. He could feel tears building in his eyes.
“That isn’t my name,” he could hear the quiet scoff through the speaker.
“Will you stop that, I will not have you making a bigger muck of things.” he hung up after that, he didn’t want to hear anymore.
It’s tiring, a tight coil constricted his chest. He wanted to vomit, pass out, maybe both. He just wanted it to stop.
“Hey?” his head snapped up, teary eyes meeting concerned emerald pools. He was so lost he hadn’t even noticed his new companion. “Are you all right?” it was one of the baristas, Kyle, his name tag read. “I-I’m fine.” his voice cracked. The ginger sighed quietly, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck. “If you don’t want to talk about it that’s fine,” he stated, green eyes cast downward as he thought of what to say next. “But, I can make you something on the house if it’ll make you feel better.” he offered, hand waving towards the counter. “Yeah, that would be nice.” he smiled, rubbing his cheek nervously. “Cool,”
When Kyle returned, he was holding two cups, a sharpie, and an awkward yet inviting smile. “May I?” he sits, setting the cups down between them. “Name?” he smiled, holding the open marker to the cup. “Matthew,” Kyle writes it down before handing him his cup. “Matthew huh, my favourite name?” Matthew blushed, hands wrapped tight around the warm cup.
The two talked quietly for hours, and in that little bubble, everything was okay.
// Aoife Kaelin
This one’s short and sweet and I quite like it.
Cold, that’s what Alice first felt when she opened the car door, a shiver danced the length of her spine. She wrapped her sweater around herself tighter, as she watched Kyle climb out the driver’s seat. He walked around the car and grabbed her hand, gently urging her to follow him. “Where are we Kyle?” she smiles, giving his hand a squeeze. “We,” he looked back at her, blue pools filled with childish joy. “Are in a very special place. I used to come here when I was young.” Kyle explained, pulling Alice closer so he can wrap his arm around her shoulders. They walk down weathered black stone steps till they reach an alcove. Dark water splashed against black volcanic sand. Alice smiled, squealing as she took off down the last of the steps. At the bottom she tosses her shoes off, burying her toes in the smooth blackness. “It’s beautiful!” she called back, running her hand across it. “Yeah,” he plopped down next to her, writing their names in the sand. “You’ve always said you wanted to see it.” Kyle smiled at her childish excitement.
Soon the little alcove was filled with swirling patterns and wet footprints as the young couple marked the dark sand as their new special place.
// Aoife Kaelin
Prompt number 2! I really struggled with this one, cause there are so many routes the story could take. I tried my best, hope you like it!
The nighttime air was quiet as Garrett and his girlfriend Jessica settled in for the night. They had had a long day and were tuckered out from the seemingly endless tasks they’d completed for the day. When the sky had finally darkened the couple had made the decision to skip their nighttime stroll in order to catch a few more hours of sleep. And given they were both considered essential workers it was a reprieve on their aching bodies and minds. Getting comfy under the plush sheets, Jessica turned on the ambience sound machine. “G’night love,” Garrett hummed, wrapping his arms around Jessica, “Night.”
They hadn’t been sleeping for long when a loud bang shook their home violently, a searingly bright light shone through their bedroom window as they quickly sought cover. Loud crashing sounded from the window as their glassware came tumbling to the floor. Garrett shielded Jessica as they squeezed under the shared wooden desk. And just as suddenly, the light fades, rumbling subsides, and the night is once again quiet. Outside the open window, the couple could hear the rising cacophony of worry as their neighbours exited their own homes. In the distance, sirens can be heard rushing to assess the damage. “Garrett!!” the neighbour, Todd banged on the door. “Are you guys alright?” they climbed out from their hiding space, making their way to the front door. The trio joined the crowd that had gathered outside of the apartment building. They could see smoke rising above the buildings. “What happened?” They heard a kid say quietly, but no answer came.
In the end, the apartment residents returned to their respective homes, as no answer would come that night.
// Aoife Kaelin
New Years Day.
Hello! Here’s prompt number 1, the rest will be all one-word prompts. Just a little story I came up with while celebrating with my brother and his boyfriend.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy !
A quiet sigh escapes Marianna’s lips as she lay curled up on her couch. The tv plays ignored in the background as she scrolls carelessly through social media. Everyone seems to be having a good time, enjoying New Years with close loved ones and Zoom countdowns till they can chug champagne and shoot fireworks off in their backyard. Marianna isn’t so lucky, given the fact that she lives alone and doesn’t want to risk getting or giving the virus as a New Years gift. She stops on her ex’s Instagram, a pit growing in her stomach. She’d found out that he was cheating on her with a girl who even she had to admit was much prettier than herself. She bites her lip, thumbs hovering over the keyboard. ‘Happy New Year!’ she writes, as much as it hurts her, she could never do or say anything mean even if the person probably deserves it. New years is in two hours, she has a bottle of Martinelli’s Apple Cider in her fridge, she isn’t much of an alcohol person. Sitting up, she looks over at her television. Earlier she’d been flipping from video service to video service looking for something to her mind off things, but eventually settled on the mind-numbing familiarity of social media. She decides to watch some Star Wars, it’s been a while since she’d seen any of the movies.
The familiar crawl and music warm her heart as she wraps a knit blanket around her shoulders. She thought about making hot chocolate but decides against it as she doesn’t wish to get up. She sinks into the couch, eyes glued to the screen.
Marianna looks away when her phone buzzes, she laughs at herself with how engrossed she was in the movie. Picking her phone up she saw there is only an hour left till New Years, there is a message from her Ex’s new girlfriend. ‘Watch it,’ she rolls her eyes at the empty threat, blocking the girl from contacting her again. She tosses her phone aside, focusing on the screen when it buzzes again. Some half-hearted happy wishes from friends that have other friends. She sighs, shutting her phone off completely. Standing up from her couch, she walks into the kitchen. She pulls down a champagne flute from the top shelf and sets it down on the counter, before turning her attention to the fridge. She pulled out the bottle and set it next to her class. Marianna returned to her seat, setting a timer to for 11:40 to give her enough time to prepare her glass and toast in seclusion.
A knock at the door forces Marianna to her feet, she looks towards her phone. If it was one of her friends they probably called, but given her phone was turned off she’d never know. When the person knocks again, she resigns herself to be surprised by her late-night visitor. She opens the door to a vaguely familiar face, her upstairs neighbour to be exact. “Hi,” he waves weakly. “Hey,” she responds, stepping out of the way to let him inside. “I’m guessing you lucked out this year too?” she asks as they walk into her kitchen. “That obvious?” he chuckles, taking a seat on the stool next to her sink. She pulls down a second glass before sitting in the one near the microwave diagonal him. Her alarm goes off and stands back up. After properly washing and chilling the glasses, she pours an equal amount of cider in both of them as they watch the countdown on his phone. When it strikes twelve they toast, giggling as someone outside screeches “Happy New Years!” at the top of their lungs. Fireworks shine through her blinds. “Want to go watch them?” she nods, smiling over the glass. They walk outside, sitting in some of the pool chairs as the sky lights up around them.
New years wasn’t so bad after all.
// Aoife Kaelin