You’re sitting at a café when a stranger approaches you. This person asks what your name is, and, for some reason, you reply. The stranger nods, “I’ve been looking for you.” What happens next?
“Hey, is this seat taken?”
I look up from the illuminated screen of my HTC One. There is a girl. Hair dyed pink. Strands falling everywhere. Ears covered with piercings. She flashes me a smile.
“So, is it?” The plastic her chocolate coloured drink was in said `Ice Blended` on it.
I shook my head. She sat on the chair with a coffee bean painted on its head rest.
Why was she sitting on the chair? Beside me? I thought people asked if seats were free did so to take them away and sit with a group of their own clique? I forrowed my eyebrows. She didn`t leave. I switched off the screen of my phone.
“So, what are you called?”
Her eyes were the pale blue of a clear Summer morning. “Um. It`s Senra…”
I felt my palms starting to sweat– I was never too good at conversations.
“That`s an odd name. Well, I`m Azell.”
I looked at her raised palm. Was I supposed to shake it? I wasn`t fond of touching strangers…
She laughed. “Hey, everyone`s a stranger at the beginning, right? From the day we`re born, we`re surrounded by strangers. Heck! I`m still a stranger to myself!” She took a sip of her drink. The flavor looked interesting.
“It`s coffee, without the caffeine. I`m caffeine intolerant– if that`s even a thing.”
“Oh…” I picked up my own black coffee and drank it. Should I just get up and walk away?
“My therapist says I have to do this– sorry.” I raised an eyebrow.
“It`s part of my therapy. To find a stranger and strike up a conversation.”
“What a weird therapy.” I replied.
“Yeah. apparently I`m a compulsive liar.” She grinned.
Wait– did she just lie to me?
That was when she snatched my phone from the table and ran. Pushed people. Knocked a cup. Doorbell clings. I find myself chasing after her.
She was quick– so quick that I was shocked I could even keep up. Maybe it was the adrenaline rush. Maybe it was all that caffeine in my bloodstream. Maybe I was a potential sprint runner waiting to blossom. Or maybe it was just because I wasn`t planning on losing all that data.
That`s when I tripped. On my own untied shoe laces. Down onto the uncaring cold ground.
I stumbled to find my footing when I took note of my surroundings. We had left the `sophisticated` areas. It was the dingy part of town. Run down buildings. Every five houses having an alley way not more than five feet wide. And into one of those alleys she disappeared.
I wanted to continue the chase, but I had barely any energy left in me. I walked at my own pace into the alley. It was barely a shop lot wide before I reached the other end. And that`s when I heard voices.
“Here!” I peeped from the corner of the alley wall. I saw the pink haired girl– what was her name again? She shoved my phone at a man. Buff and hairy. Jeans and shirt. Beside him there was a kid of her age. Unruly mop of hair. Skinny build.
The brute examined the HTC.
“The debt`s paid off, right? You`ll leave Jackie alone now?” The brute revealed a row of unruly teeth. Was that a smile?
“Sure–” I guess it was, “just make sure this punk knows which side of the street he belongs! Next time, he`s ours!” The brute shoved the skinny kid to her before walking off with my phone.
I turned and laid my back flat on the alley wall, breathing heavily. Call the police! Call the police! Call the police! What was my mind? A broken recorder?
Locate a phone booth! I was about to run back from where I came when a hand covered my mouth and held me fest. I wanted to struggle, but I was afraid of any wepon being present.
“Man, you don`t even fight back.” It was the pink haired girl. She was whispering. Her voice dripped with panic. “Promise me you won`t call the cops.”
My eyes widened. Heck! That was my phone she traded!
“I said promise!” She tugged at me. Her voice dropped. “Please– if you get those guys into trouble, you get me into trouble. And Jackie. And you, when they find out who ratted. And believe me when I say they always find out!” Her grip loosened.
“But my phone–“
“Once you get involved with the gangsters, you can never come out.” Her voice was a mere mumble now.
And for some reason– maybe it was the fear in her voice, or the fright in her eyes– I nodded.
Google+ backs up my data anyway.