I stop at the exit doors of the hospital. It's pouring down. I grasp my hoody and pull it up onto my head and run out into the wet dreary weather. Running towards the taxi stand I jump the ramps railing and pound on the first taxi's window I see. A man looks up from whatever he had been looking at and smiles. I attempt to open the passenger door, it's locked. I look at him in an annoyed look for him to unlock the door. He rolls his eyes, and then looks at me again with affection. I didn't like the feeling of the look he was giving me but I'm running late, and if I'm late my dad will be furious. I watch the driver open his door and step out onto the busy road to walk around the car, to where I was standing. He was blonde, tall, but he wasn't young. Not like me. He stands behind me and pulls off my backpack from my back, unlocks the door and opens it putting his arm out. "Thanks." I say, hopping into the back seat. He smiles again. He has a nice smile for an older man. Before he shuts the door I clear my throat to quickly grab his attention. "My bag?"
He looks down at his hands, holding my backpack and then throws into the back seat so it lands on my lap. He closes the door and runs around quickly to the drivers side and hops in. "Where to?" He asks. His voice is deep. "29 Victory Avenue, please." I say quickly opening up my backpack to pull out some dry clothes. Black, grey and white clothes. I see him watching in the rear vision mirror. "Don't look" I tell him. "I'm running really late and if my dad sees me wearing these-"
I wait until his eyes are back to concentrating on the road ahead of him to pull off my blue hoody. Exchanging it for my black one I pulled out of my backpack. We come to a halt and I launch forward quickly and then back again. "What was th-"
"Sorry. Stupid idiot in front stopped suddenly, and I wasn't watching."
I glared at him. Then decide on changing my red pants later. Maybe I should have resorted to a female taxi driver. I slouch down into the seat and look out the window, watching a young woman with three young children running through the rain towards their car. Sitting up I point towards a corner in the next street. "Just around the corner here." I say, taking some cash out of my backpack and zipping it up. I see him nod, as he pulls over to the side of the road. "You forgot to turn the corner…" I mutter. I didn't have time for this.
"Just a minute."
I roll my eyes. "Fine, I'll walk from here." Leaning over between the two front seats I hand my money to him. "Hope this is enough."
He turns his head and instead of taking the money, he puts his hands to my face. His hands are warm, but I feel uncomfortable. I pull myself away from him, but he grasps my arm tightly. "Don't touch me." I glare at him again. "Let go of me." I tell him in a serious tone. He shakes his head. "You have to stay here, with me. Until my partner gets here."
"Like hell!" I shout, trying to pull my arm away, but his grip on me is to tight, I'm not strong enough. Then I notice my left arm was free, so I slowly reach my free arm over to open the door. No such luck. "You asshole! Unlock the door!"
"Like Hell." He mimics me, gripping harder onto my arm. I bet that's going to leave a mark. I start to yell and pounding on the window to hopefully get a pass Byers attention, but there's no one.
"Be quiet!" He yells at me. "Or I'll have to come around and sit next to you." His eyes full of anger, but affection. I don't look at him and ignore his comments. Suddenly in the corner of my eye, I see someone. I yell louder, pounding on the window. I see the person running towards the taxi. Hurry. I think as I see the driver starting to turn the car key. The person comes into better view. It's a boy, about my age. He grabs hold of my passenger door and tries to yank it open and I could tell that he was swearing. The car starts to move and I pound on the window again, looking the young boy in the eyes, trying not to cry. His eyes are green and start to look angry, he runs out in front of the taxi to stop it. The car comes to a halt, the driver is still grasping onto my arm. He winds down the window and puts his head out. "Oi, kid, get out of the way!" the driver shouts. The boy runs towards him and pulls out a knife from his back pocket and puts it to the driver's throat. "If you don't let this girl go, I am certain that I will, kill you." His voice was serious, his expression on his face was serious. He wasn't joking. The driver lets go of my arm and I pull it away and pull up my hoody sleeve to examine it. It's red, very red.
"Unlock the doors." I heard the boy's voice say. I look up, he still has the knife to the driver's throat. I hear the door click as it unlocks and I open the door quickly, grabbing my backpack and scamper out. The driver turns his head to look at me. "We'll be watching you." He tells me. The boy looks at me as to tell me to run. But I can't, my feet are glued to the ground.
The boy looks back down at the taxi driver, and pulls the knife away. "I thought you taxi drivers were meant to be loyal, nice people, not sick fucks like you." The boy says, turning away and running towards me. He puts his hand to my shoulder. I shrug him off, turning to look at him. He's handsome, with bright green eyes, dark hair and tanned skin. I look down at the muscles of his arms. He looks strong. "Are you ok?" He asks. I look up quickly and nod. "You sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure." I reply, as I see the tip of a tattoo on his chest, the rest of it covered by his green t-shirt.
"Well, Take this. Just in case." He says, passing me the knife. "And, don't worry about him. I doubt "they'll" whoever he was talking about will be watching you, he's probably just trying to scare you."
My hand starts to shake as I take the knife from him. I know this is wrong, I know my father would not allow me to be armed with a weapon. He thinks our society, our city is a peaceful place, and I thought so too, until now. I thank him as I slide the knife into my side pocket. At a glance, I see the boys watch tick to 5:15. I was meant to be home at five. I start to panic. The boy steadies me by putting his hands to my shoulders. "Please, just calm down." His voice is reassuring, calm. I breathe in then out slowly. "I really have to go." I say a little to quickly. "Or my dad is going to kill me." He all ready is going to.
"All right." He pulls his hands away from my shoulders. "Before you go." He continues. "Take this." He hands me a piece of paper. "I doubt you want to catch a taxi again, so, if you need any transportation, call me."
I laugh and then nod. Turning my back to him I start to walk around the corner, down my street then stop and turn my head around. "By the way." I say. "Thank you."
I see him smile as I turn back around. "You're welcome." Was the last thing I hear from him as I start to sprint towards my house.
I stand at the front gate and start to walk slowly towards the front door. As I do, I notice my red pants. I never got around to changing them. I start to panic again, but then I hear the boy's voice inside my head again. Please, just calm down.
There is no time to change them now. I open the front door to see my father waiting for me. He looks up. "You're late!" He yells, standing up and walking over to me. I cower as he gets closer. "I know, I'm sorry father, the taxi wasn't very reliable today."
"Well, catch the bus then."
"They are not that reliable either."
He rolls his eyes. "Bloody public transport."
"You wouldn't have this problem of me being late, if you would let me get my drivers licence." I say, under my breath.
"What was that?" He demanded.
"Nothing, nothing father."
Our religion does not let woman have driver's licences. Only the men. It's not fair at all, not to me.
"And, what are these?!" He shouts again, touching my red pants.
"I, I didn't have time to change them." I mumble, nervously.
"But you left the house, wearing black. Yes?"
"Well, I see you had time to change your shirt, but not your pants. Where do you get the money to buy these clothes anyway Amelia?"
My best friend.
I say nothing but just close my eyes ready for the whack across my head. Nothing. I open them again, to see my father looking at me. "Go and change." He tells me angrily pointing into the direction of the hallway. I walk in that direction to my bedroom. "You are a disgrace to this family!" I hear him yell behind me. My father has never liked retro colours. It is our religion to wear grey, white or black. You are not allowed to be late, not once. You must be at confession evenings every night at five with something to confess. I hate it. I don't fit in this family. Sometimes, I think, that I'm adopted. My little sister seems to fit in just fine. I change into some black pants as I hear a knock on the door. "Come in."
The door clicks open as I see my little sister Serenity standing before me in her gray dress she always seems to wear. "Father wants you in the family room."
I nod when I see that something has caught her eye. "What is it?" I ask, my eyes following her to where she walks over to my bed. "What's this?" She asks, holding up the knife the boy gave me. I quickly take it from her. "Sssh." I tell her. "You can't tell anyone. Not even in confession."
I shake my head. "Promise me Serenity."
She puts her head down. "Ok, I promise. But what is it?"
"Like, a butter knife?"
I shake my head. "Quickly now, before father comes. And do not
Serenity nods quickly and scurries off down the hall.
I quickly hide the knife under my mattress and head down to the family room. The room is dark, but lit with candles. My mother, father and Serenity sit on the floor with their legs crossed waiting for me.
"About time Amelia." My mother says.
"I am sorry." I say sitting down next to her. She nods. Then my father speaks.
"Who would like to confess first tonight.?"
Not me. I don't know what I am going to confess tonight. I cannot under any circumstances confess about the knife, or the scene with the taxi driver. They wouldn't let me leave the house if I confessed that. And I definitely couldn't handle that, my friend needs me.
"I will." I hear my mother's voice. "Tonight, I will confess, that I bought a puppy." I hear Serenity gasp in excitement. "You did what?" My father asks.
"I knew you would disapprove, but I think the girls deserve one."
"I am picking it up tomorrow."
My father just nods, but I can tell that he disagrees. "Serenity, your turn." My father says.
Please don't confess about the knife. I think to myself.
"Tonight, I will confess that, I bullied somebody at school today."
"Serenity?!" father shouts. "You do not bully other kids!"
I feel Serenity take my hand and squeeze it and I new, that she didn't bully anyone. She was only covering for me. Now she's going to get the whack. Later. Because of me. I start to feel sick and squeeze her hand back.
"Amelia." My father says my name and I swallow hard.
"I confess that, I met a boy today." Truth. I did.
By the dim of the candle light I could see my mother smiling next to me. "That's great love."
Father laughs. "Well, stay away from them."
My mother glares at him. "Why should she?"
He rolls his eyes. "Fine. Just don't do anything stupid." He tells me.