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A Hazy Night
The hazy moon illuminates the dark sky; its large crescent hanging by icy, silver threads. The stars of far away planets twinkle dimly, dotted about the ebony blanket that covered the sky.
I vaguely remember what the sun looks like on a warm, summers day – how it feels to be in the presence of its warm rays, basking in them without a care in the world. The way the wind whips at your cheeks and blows your hair everywhere, sticking to your freshly applied lip gloss.
There is no wind tonight. Just me and the moon. And that wasn’t the greatest of company. My clothes still feel damp from delving into that pile of rubbish at the same moment the police car skidded round the corner. How was I supposed to know that one of the flat tenants had rung the coppers? I could prove my innocence – although I highly doubt I would get a voice in court. Life on the street was totally unjustified.
I rewind my mind to my earlier conversation with a passer-by. I normally go for the old ladies; they usually carry knick-knacks and pennies in their over-sized handbags. I had already started a row with an old dear in a knitted blue hat – hand-made, no doubt, with her scrawny, bony hands. She was a grumpy little thing.
A clean looking young man stops me. “Are you lost?” he asks, looking genially concerned for my health and well being. I don’t even know why he is talking to me. It’s a quarter to twelve at night, and I’m standing on the verge of a dodgy-looking back alley. I understand immediately why he thinks I’m lost. My shirt is torn from my fight with a barbed wired fence; my face and hands are dirty to the point where I’ll probably have to scrub for hours to find a piece of clean skin; my tangled hair, drooping sadly by my shoulders, occasionally blowing wildly around my face every time a car or lorry drives past.
I decide to chance it. What do I have to lose? “Yes,” I gulp, pulling my best theatrical face. The man smiles kindly at me, clearly falling for my act. He thinks it’s genuine. “Why don’t I take you to the nearest police station and get you all sorted out?” he gently pats my arm. He sees my face. It looks terrified, I’m sure. “Don’t worry, Pet. They’ll clean you up and sort you out.” He shuffles his feet awkwardly. I know what is coming next.
“So...are you on the run, or did you just get lost?” He knows, and I know, that the second suggestion is not true. And I know that the first one is true, but not strictly speaking. He doesn’t know the half of my life. It’s a good job, too.
You see, my mother was a strict alcoholic. Well, she was more of a binge drinker. She’d head off to one of her friends parties and come home sloshed. And my dad...well, I never had a dad. I had one, obviously, but I never knew him. My mum got a new boyfriend, and, well, he was...put it this way, you could say he wasn’t the nicest grape in the bunch. By far. He was violent, and every time his flint eyes shone with anger, I’d take off.
Sometimes I’d just hang about street corners, or head down to Covent Gardens to mooch around the shops. No one stopped to stare at me. No one really even acknowledged I was there. Except for when I walked into shop – but the sales assistants will watch any teenager warily – not just the crazy mixed up ones like me.
“Darren,” the man says.
“Huh?” I ask.
“My name is Darren. What’s yours?”
I clear my throat loudly and reply, “Annabelle.” It’s clearly not the name he was looking for. You can tell by his face.
“Well...Annabelle. If you won’t go to the police...it’s getting late, you could stay at my flat for the night and in the morning we could get all of this straightened out. I imagine it has been a long day.” I nod. He has no idea.
We stay silent as we walk along the gravel path which leads to his house. It is an old Victorian manor house. You know the type. Flashy car, noted. Fountain, noted. Expensive clothes, noticed only now we were in a brighter light, noted. You could tell he was loaded.
“Here you go, kid,” he says kindly, pushing open a large oak door that led to the spare – one of many - guest bedrooms. “Goodnight!”
“Goodnight,” I mumble as he closes the door quietly.
I know I don’t have much time. I rustle through the draws of the house, coming up with only some old spectacles and a book on Gardening. He must hide his valuables somewhere else.
I fumble around my pocket. I locate the sharp object and wrap my fingers around it protectively, carefully avoiding the point. The cold silver numbs my hand, but I don’t care. I hurry out into the empty, dim-lit passage. This is my chance. I take the knife out of my pocket and hold it by my side. I find his bedroom and open the door silently. He is sleeping. I take him by surprise – he is clearly not expecting me. I plunge the knife and laugh as his screams echo down the corridor, heard only by me...