A kid in your grade whom you don’t know very well shows up at your house one day to tell you something important. What does he say?

I open the door and standing there looking directly at me is Hershel, from my class, the quiet kid at the back who doesn’t really like to make eye contact with anyone.

I wonder if is he is lost and I’m about to close the door when he speaks.

“Good evening Riley, may I come in?” His voice is very deep for a twelve year old, most people make fun of him for it, or they used to, I haven’t actually heard him speak for almost half a year.

His voice startles me and I almost close the door anyway, except I don’t, but I can’t just invite him in either, he could be crazy, it’s always the quiet ones, that’s a saying for a reason.

I debate for a moment as he just stares at the ground, he has got really curly hair, it’s dark brown at the roots and almost blonde at the tips, he even has blonde highlights. It’s quite feminine hair, I never realised, maybe it’s the voice that threw me.

“Come in, but don’t touch anything,” I caution, before leading him up to my bedroom, Hershel is quiet, too quiet, I don’t even hear his footsteps behind me, freaky.

I sit on my desk and he just stands, eyes on the floor.

“I have something to tell you,” he says quietly.

I wait for him to continue.

“Go on,” I say.

I wait some more.

“Tell me,” I command.

“I remember that when Miss Brent died you spoke at the assembly, my dog has just died can you please do the same?” He asks.

I am speechless, not only do I not know Hershel, I didn’t even know he had a dog, certainly I didn’t know the dog well enough to write him an epitaph.

I want to refuse but I don’t because I like to think I am a good person which is how I ended up standing in front of a grave on Saturday morning, speaking about a dog I never even met before.

Hershel is quiet, but I can tell he is sad.

When I finish he just stares at the grave, then he walks away, I follow him, into his mansion, because he is rich, like famous person rich, given a tour of his house, that rich.

We walk into wealth and he just stands there at the threshold, during the tour I saw a gaming room, I want to go there but Hershel is silent.

Then the maid comes up to us with a lovely bouquet of flowers that would fill up my whole house, she tries to give them to Hershel but he is just staring at the floor again.

I take them and thank her, before reading the note out loud.

“We will send a replacement, love Mum and Dad,” the words are out of my mouth before I even realise what I am saying, I re-read it appalled, and I carefully put the note down.

“You may go now,” Hershel says looking at me directly.

“You can come with me, my mum is not a chef, but she’s making spaghetti and meat balls, I don’t have a pet but I have a little sister, she’s almost two and she’s basically an animal,” I say tucking a braid behind my ear as I take my bike out of the shed.

“You do not have to be nice to me because –”

“Because you lost your pet and your parents are mean, yeah I do, come on it will make me feel better.” I say grabbing his forearm and dragging him along, it’s awkward with my bike, and I scratch my leg but I don’t let go.

“You do not have to drag me, if it will make you feel better then I will come.” He says going into the shed to take out his own bicycle.

I laugh, “Was that an actual joke? I thought you didn’t even know what it was.”

Hershel smiles as both get on our bikes and ride back to my house.

 

 

 

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Bumping into you part 4

Andrea

Andi couldn’t believe it, she had spoken more than one word to her perfect stranger, she did a little happy dance in her tiny kitchen. She allowed herself a genuine grin, her first smile of the day, her two bosses had taken out their ire on her; they had lost a case. Andi sighed as she went to sit behind her laptop and began the tireless search for jobs again.

*

Andi smiled as she applied an extra layer of lip gloss, with a day of interview lined up, this was going to be a perfect day, a quick glance at the time had her racing out the door; she would miss her perfect stranger if she didn’t leave now.

Andi’s heart fluttered, he was there somehow taller, he was talking on the phone quite rapidly in French.

“Yes, my fiancé will pick it” he said impatiently.

Andi stopped dead and closed her eyes briefly, her French wasn’t the best, but he had said that in English.

As if he had sensed her he looked around, their eyes met, and for the first time she hated the breathless feeling his gaze inspired in her. She smiled however and waved. He turned back and kept up his rapid French and pace, a few times slipping into English. So much for her perfect day.

Short story: A Stranger part three

Genevieve

The stranger stops abruptly, that I almost bump into him. He is even taller than I thought. Does he know I have been following him for the past hour? I walk past him slowly, not glancing at him. He has stopped walking and is just standing there. He definitely knows. I keep walking feeling self-conscious, he must have felt this way as I followed him. Should I stop? Why have I been following him for so long? I just want to talk to him, to anyone. I get that familiar sinking feeling in my chest. I bow my head down and walk slowly away.

 

Caleb

I stare after her, she is about my age, she is definitely a woman, but as she walks I get that familiarly feline brown and black image.

“Excuse me” I say.

Short story: A Stranger part two

Genevieve

I return the strangers smile hesitantly then glance at my reflection; my hair could do with a comb but everything else looks fine; khaki pants and a brown polar neck. Perhaps he has re-thought the restraining order and likes the attention I am giving him. I haven’t spoken to anyone since I moved here. Maybe I should talk to him, introduce myself; ‘Hello my name is Genevieve, I notice you have a guitar’. I laugh quietly, but the smile slips from my face as the stranger glances back again with fear and confusion in his green eyes. I glance around perplexed, a young girl in a car looks at me with adoring eyes, a man across the street walking a dog frowns at me as his dog barks, he hustles the dog along. I look at the stranger again his pace has slowed, he runs a hand with a single silver ring on his thumb through his neatly styled hair, then pats it into shape. I smile; even through his agitation his hair is still important.

 

Caleb

I run a hand through my hair again then pat it down, covering one of my missing eyebrows. I have to stop glancing back, I’m going to be really late, but I can’t resist, the woman is still following me, and it’s definitely a woman, with long brown hair. Maybe… no, I definitely saw a cat, I think; maybe, the cat disappeared down some ally, or went through a cat flap, but then where did the woman come from? O God, I’m losing my mind, the woman must have just come out of her house and the cat is properly under some car. I’m just seeing what I want to see, she is properly not even following me. I should stop and see what happens.

Short story: A Stranger

Genevieve

A stranger walks by – I follow him. He is a tall fellow with dark brown curly hair which he has grown carefully – the curls are yet to be called wild. Although he nods his head to the music he is listening to, he is setting a brisk pace, eager to get to where he is going – band practice, I assume from the guitar that he is carrying on his back. He must be musically inclined. I marvel at the pace he is setting with such a heavy load. He is late. Perhaps too much time was wasted getting that hair into place and that ‘I just threw it on’ look. A red and black chequered shirt opened and underneath a snugly fit black top, teamed with dark denim jeans and converses. He looks good, I admit, I notice a woman jogging by give him the ‘one-over’ as she passes him. I smile, the first time this week I realise, perhaps that’s why he doesn’t mind me following him, he likes the attention, and he has glanced back twice now. Maybe I should leave him; I don’t want him to take out a restraining order before he has even made it.

 

Caleb

Shit – I’m going to be late for my guitar lesson. That is the last time I go on a club crawl with Duke, he knows how to have too much of a good time. I pick up the pace.

I glance back and notice a brown and black cat behind me, move faster. Slightly surprised, I pick up the pace. The cat moves faster. I must be really hangover, because it seems like the cat is following me. It’s staring at me with eyes that are too intelligent for a cat. I wonder if it has run away or is lost. I smile and shake my head at the direction my thoughts have taken – a cat, man I must still be drunk. No more pub or club crawls, okay maybe pubs. The cat moves closer, no pubs. It’s a beautiful cat, looks really expensive – I glance back again still smiling, A young woman is behind me, the cat is no where to be seen.