Narrative #1

Chapter 1

*This narrative is a continuation of a previous experiment that I developed into a full chapter*

Her heart is pounding as her feet hit the floor with a thump.  On Charlie’s flushed face salty beads of sweat mixed with fresh water from the stormy sky, as she peers back at the fence she climbed over only to find that the young man chasing her had the same idea to her annoyance.  Usually they gave up once they realized her speed, but the guy she just stole from was being annoyingly persistent in his chase.  So, Charlie runs as fast as her feet can carry making sure she doesn’t slip on the slick abandoned road near the city.  She makes a quick decision to dive into a bush while he runs past her.  She breathes a sigh of relief as she collapses on the sodden grass beneath her in pure exhaustion.
The chase all started how it typically does for Charlie.  To put it simply she is a thief.  She is kind of homeless kind of not, meaning that she has a car to live in.  Luckily she when she is not at work, she is at school so she only needs it to sleep in.  The car is actually fairly nice too; it has great gas mileage and she has never had any mechanical problems with her black Volkswagen Jetta.  Just looking at the car, a person would not think it would be the type of a car that a person would live in, but that is the unfortunate situation.  The car had been a gift from her dad, or the guy who was her dad.  She does have a job and tries to make ends meet that way, but being a high school student working in the local coffee shop only gets a girl so far.  So she began stealing in order to get by on her own.  The funny thing is is that whenever she did steal something from someone, the process is consistently quite easy.  Charlie’s never even that discrete or careful while doing it.  It’s not even that she is really tiny and easily unnoticed; she in fact is just over five foot nine.  Everytime she stole she became less cautious because stealing the product or money was so easy every single time.  She unsure how people even got arrested for doing it when it came to her with such ease.  For some reason though, every time in about one minute’s time, like clockwork, they would realize that Charlie had stolen their things and would angrily bolt after her or call the police.  She knows this doesn’t make any sense, but if the system works why question it?  She has always been a good runner so it really was not a problem when they realized she stole their possessions or money from them because she outran them every single time.
She got up from the muddy grass, wiped herself off as best as she could, and realized with sudden fear that she would be late for her shift if she didn’t run there right now.  She breathes a sigh frustration and runs back towards the city, whilst trying to amp herself up for the ever so exciting eight hour shift that she was about to experience.
She looks down at black leather Kate Spade watch, and it reads 3:59 pm.  Charlie’s face is encompassed with a satisfied smirk because she made it with just a minute to spare.  She looks up at the “Cup of Jo” sign above the store as she ties her hair up in a messy ponytail on the top of her head.  Hoping she doesn’t look too disgusting, she walks in the place she has been working in for about a year.  It’s a really small coffee shop, but it is always so busy which makes for great tips.  The white walls inside are covered in a variety of works from different artists around the city.  Charlie’s favorite painting is one of a small sailboat that looks like it is about to tip over from the great force of the ocean.  It is reminiscent of her favorite novels, The Great Gatsby and The Awakening.   She herself was never really a big fan of actually being in the ocean, but she adored the way the authors used it as a major symbol in their novels.  The ocean painting sits right above a stage in the corner of the coffee shop where local musicians and poets can express themselves through their passion.  Sometimes, when the coffee shop has a break in musicians and people want to hear music, Charlie sings.  Singing has never been a great passion of hers, certainly not something she would want to pursue, but it is a fun hobby.  A talent she really desired to have was the ability to write a novel that moved millions, but that was never her strong suit so she would stick to reading works from those who could.  Surrounding the stage there are five tables along with a plethora mismatched chairs randomly placed to provide extra seating for their continually growing popularity.  Charlie’s boss is always on the search for new furniture to make the store more eclectic because in her words it is “reflective of the diversity we embrace”.  On the floor there are paint splatters scattered across the black and white tile because in the 90’s this was a paint studio, and when my boss Monique began renting the place at the age of twenty she claimed that it gave the shop character, but in reality it was because she was out of money.
The reason Charlie stuck around at this coffee shop so long is because of the people.  She new she could probably make better tips working as a waitress, but this place became home to her.  If it weren’t for the amazing people she met through the coffee shop, she would never have tried so hard to keep what should be such a meaningless job.
The staff is made up of about ten people; Charlie’s favorites include one being an older woman named Lucy who was retired, but wanted something to do in her free time that wasn’t knitting.  Charlie loves to hear stories from Lucy’s childhood because they never fail to fascinate her.  Her life stories range from crazy encounters with the police, to what is what like moving around a lot because her father was in the military.  Charlie knows she probably embellishes, but she loves the stories so much she doesn’t even mind.  There is a really sweet girl named Emily, who was a few years senior of Charlie and basically impossible not to like.  She is one of those people everyone aspires to be and be around because they are so honest and genuine.   Then there’s the manager Monique who has essentially earned the title of big sister to me because even though she gets on Charlie’s nerves from time to time, she always has her best interests at heart.
Finally, Charlie’s best friend Logan; honestly if anyone knew the two of them separately they would never believe they were as close as they were, and for a while they really were not that close.  He is a person who no matter who you ask would say that they are friends.  At first he really irritated Charlie because he first came across to her as cocky, and somewhat conceited.  Logan is six foot four, messy brown hair that clearly took ages to perfect, and a golden skin tone that made it seem like he had just gotten the perfect tan.  All of that summed up to a really obnoxious person to Charlie, but about a month into him working there she finally stopped ignoring him because while he was talking at her she realized that they had things in common.  So, eventually she began to open up to him, and now he is the sole person in which she confides in.  Although he does not know the whole story with her family, he does know she lives in her car and steals from time to time.  Her favorite thing about him is that he supports her, but will call her out when she is being an idiot.  That is something she needs in her life because it is not like she has other family to do that for her.
As soon as she sees him behind the counter a smile spreads across her face when she walks in to start her shift, and as soon as he looks at her he begins to chuckle.  He waves her to follow him to the back, and he tells her to look in the mirror, and when she does she starts to laugh really hard along with him.  There is mud all over her face and her arms.  She definitely did not pay close enough attention to how she looks after her roll in the mud.  Charlie tells him to go back out front, and that she will out in five minutes.
She then closes the bathroom door after him, and locks the door with a finalizing click.  Charlie runs some paper towels under the facet and proceeds to wipe the wet dirt off of her pale skin.  When she thinks she is done she gives herself a once over in the scratched up mirrors, and sighs when she sees a clump in her hair.  She rolls her eyes, takes her hair out of the ponytail, and combs it out with her fingers.  Before that, she washes the dirt off of her hands so she doesn’t make her hair any more disgusting than it already is.  After she finishes her hair, she works on her hands once again because the dirt from her hair transferred to her hands.  She is now finally at the point where she is acceptable enough to be in public and walks out of the bathroom.   She inevitably decided that a french braid was the way to go because it covered up the fact that her hair was in shambles.  As she walks back to the counter she grabs an apron from one of the hooks on her way over, throws it over her head, and ties the back of it into a loose bow.
Charlie then walks over to Logan and asks “Hey, am I good?”
He spins his finger in a circular motion asking her to do a slow spin for him, and he says “Amazing, it’s as if you didn’t roll in the mud for the whole day and forgot to shower for three.”
“Hey, you know I showered yesterday since I did so at your house”
“Ya, but you don’t seem to want to make those showers last.”
They both double over in laughter, and realize that there are drinks to start, so they pull themselves together and get back to work.  She gets started on a older woman’s almond milk latte with one pump of vanilla, and he makes a well dressed young man’s double cappuccino.  While making the drinks they began talking about a book she had read recently.
Charlie said excitedly that “Logan, you need to read this Stephen King book I just finished it was so cool.”
“Ya? What was it about?” asked Logan
Charlie explains that “it’s called Under the Dome: it is about the self- destruction of these people in a small town.  No one knows why, but an invisible dome is place over the whole town causing the people within the dome to become their worst selves.  Not really the most elaborate explanation, but it is definitely worth a read.  It’s super long though, probably one of the longest I’ve read.”
“How’d you even find that one, I’ve never heard of it” asked Logan.
“You’ll never believe it, it was actually so cool.  So I was walking around, definitely not looking for people to steal from, and got bored so I went to Discovery Park.  I saw this white wooden stand that sort of looked like a mailbox but the top box part was a bit bigger.  It had this clear window on the front that opens like a cabinet, and inside were two shelves of books.  There were probably about seven total with a bunch of different genres.  On the side of it were painted flowers and painted on the other side were the words ‘Give a book, take a book’.  So, I pulled out my copy of Beowulf and exchanged it with no remorse cause that book bored me to tears.  Really, truly I would not make my worst enemy read it because it bored me that much.  And then I chose Under the Dome without really any though, just kind of went with my gut.”
“Wow, that was a really long explanation, I was expecting that you stole it from someone at school, or got it from the dollar section in the library”
“Whatever, it was really good though, no joke, you should read it.  Actually, I am not recommending you do, I’m going to force you to because frankly I have already put it in your bag in the back, and I really want to talk about it with someone.”
“Of course you did” he says while laughing.
They finish making the drinks at the same time, so Charlie yells “I have a almond latte with one pump of vanilla, and a double cappuccino ready at the bar”.
Charlie goes over to check to see if there is any drip coffee made, and she realizes they are out so she goes to the back to grind some more coffee beans.  In the past they kept the grinder next to the espresso machine, but ever since they got a new one about a month ago they no longer have the room for it.  So now it stays in the back with the coffee beans which can get annoying in the middle of the rush having to run back and forth because for some reason when one person buys a bag of coffee grounds, every other customer somehow feels the need to as well.  Charlie always assume it’s to torture her because why else would the customer do that?  The beans finally are finished grinding, filled up to the brim of the mason jar she brought to the back.
She walks out with the jar in hand, and when she walks through the doorway to the front of house she drops the jar resulting in a noise that made everyone jump.  Glass and coffee grounds surround her feet, but at that point no one was as scared as she was because she saw the face of a man she took so long to escape.  A man who made her life Hell, until she finally built up the courage to leave the life she was living.
How did he find her? She spent ages making sure this would never happen to her.  She changed her name, moved multiple states over, changed her license plates, and only used to cash to buy anything.  She moved to a really large city, hoping that would make it hard to find her, should he have ever found out where she moved to.  Her blood ran cold at the sight of his icy blue eyes, his salt and pepper hair, and skin so pale that it had a blue tint to it.  She bolted straight back into the back room, where she threw open the rusty back door.  She heard Logan faintly call after her, but nothing mattered except for her escape from the man who she vowed to never see again if it was up to her.  Her feet carried her with a speed she has never ran with before through the pitch black alley.  Her feet hit the wet pavement, and water came down in sheets from above her.  The jeans she was wearing started to become wet at the bottom from the splash of the puddles as her feet hit the ground.  She could barely see in front of her due to the darkness of night, the clouds covering the brightness of the moon, and the sheets of raining continuously falling around her.  As she neared the end of the alleyway, she slammed into a familiar cold presence.  She would have fallen backwards if he had not immediately grabbed her wrists from the sides of her body.
She slowly looked up with fear towards eyes that eerily resembled her and hands shaking so hard, at sight one would be worried she was overcome with frostbite.  Her tears mix with the rain on her face that falls from the deep grey Seattle sky.  He grabs her wrists to ensure that she does not make a run for it again.  She struggles to pull away, but his grip only tightens the more she struggles.  She can feel the bruises beginning to form on her ghostly skin.
He looks down at her with his cold emotionless stare and whispers, “Hey Noel, oh sorry Charlie, don’t you want to give your father a hug?”


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