Somebody

Somebody

Status: In Progress

Genre: Young Adult

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Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Young Adult

Houses:

Summary

"My stomach won’t settle and my palms are getting sweaty because I’ve only ever seen stuff like this happening in TV shows, not real life. Not my life."

Margot Fischer is in her final year of school when an event takes place in her home town that leaves her struggling to put all the pieces back together.
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Summary

"My stomach won’t settle and my palms are getting sweaty because I’ve only ever seen stuff like this happening in TV shows, not real life. Not my life."

Margot Fischer is in her final year of school when an event takes place in her home town that leaves her struggling to put all the pieces back together.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Margot - Before

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 30, 2017

Reads: 106

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 30, 2017

A A A

A A A

Prologue
 

It’s weird how sometimes you can be so focused on what’s in front of you that the rest of the world fades into the background. I’m clicking the left mouse button over and over, searching through all the photos that I’ve taken over the last few weeks. For some of the pictures I asked people to huddle in together and smile, but most of them are candids. I like those the best. When you take a photo of people without them knowing, you get to see how they’re really feeling. Like how Melissa from my geography class is smiling to herself because ten minutes earlier Dave Waters asked her on a date. Or how Emmett Fox’s face is painted with surprise as he realises he just scored his first goal of the season. As soon as you ask someone to smile or pose for the camera, you lose those moments. I’m so focused on looking at all of these photos that I can’t hear my mum vacuuming the house, or Ollie our dog barking at the neighbour’s kids playing in the road. I can’t even hear the music I put on earlier to try and drown out the vacuum. But there are some noises that beg to be heard, and police and ambulance sirens are pretty high on that list.

It takes me a second to realise that they aren’t coming from my stereo, so I turn that down on my way to the bedroom window so I can try and figure out where they’re coming from. I don’t know why, but I always try and guess if the siren is coming from a police car, a firetruck or an ambulance, almost like a game. I’ve always had trouble telling them apart. This time I really can’t figure it out, and I find out why when all three come charging up the road, beeping their horns loudly to tell the neighbour’s kids to get the hell out the way. I stare dumbly out the window for about ten seconds, trying to get my thoughts to slow down. I’ve seen a firetruck and an ambulance together before, sure, but all three? Never. It takes me three big strides to get back to my computer chair and less than a second to open my internet browser. I type in ‘Devonport breaking news’ and click on a few different websites but nothing comes up. News does travel quickly, but not that quickly.

I go downstairs and out the front door to see if I can hear them better from outside and as it turns out, the whole neighbourhood has the same idea.
“Did you see that, Margot?” Mrs Carlson from next door looks at me like she’s about to burst with excitement. “That’s the most action we’ve seen in weeks!” I don’t know what to say back to her, so I do a sort of angry frown and keep walking. Trust Mrs Carlson to say such a thing. Everyone’s milling around tentatively, as if they can’t figure out if they want to stay outside and find out what’s happened or go back inside and shut the curtains. I’m not even sure I know that myself. I do know that it’s definitely not good news, and so I wait until Mrs Carlson isn’t looking in my direction and run back inside.
“Honestly, they should be ashamed. Don’t they have anything better to do?” Mum lets out a long sigh as she pulls our curtains closed. I feel a rush of guilt spill over me and my siren game.
“Mrs Carlson’s having a blast. She’s already telling everyone what she thinks has happened.”
“She’s worse than a teenager, that woman.” I laugh, because mum’s right. Good old Mrs Carlson would fit right in at Devonport High School. “Something terrible could have happened to someone and we don’t need to make it worse by starting a rumour mill.”

I let myself fall back and land on the couch behind me. Mum’s right, something terrible could have happened. Maybe there was a bad accident on the main road and a car burst into flames. Or maybe someone set fire to a building and there are people trapped inside. Before I can finish one thought, another one is already demanding my attention. I close my eyes and shake my head from side to side a little, trying to get them to stop. I keep my eyes closed for a little longer and think back to the quote I read when I was a freshman, “You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.” I always liked that quote, and I say the words in my head five times before I finally open my eyes again.

It takes another three hours before we finally know why the police car, firetruck and ambulance brought the neighbourhood to life. Mum has Ollie on her lap, half listening to the news on TV and half reading a book. I don’t understand how she can do both. Whenever I read a book I need it to be completely silent, so that I can focus my attention on turning the words on the page into a world in my mind. The news station did that annoying thing that they always do, telling us not to go anywhere during the break because coming right up is the story we’ve all been waiting to hear about. My stomach won’t settle and my palms are getting sweaty because I’ve only ever seen stuff like this happening in TV shows, not real life. Not my life.

It seems like forever before the news anchor appears on the screen again.
“Now we switch over to Ken Vaughn who is in front of Devonport shopping centre where it all took place early this afternoon. What can you tell us, Ken?” As quickly as she appeared, she’s gone again and now a bald man is staring back at me with a look on his face I can’t quite figure out.
“Well Melissa, today is a day of tragedy for many folk in Devonport. Police have confirmed that at approximately 1:30pm an unknown male, believed to be a member of the Australian Army, open fired inside the shopping centre, killing 7 people and wounding another 10.”

My whole body heats up and the air is sucked out of my lungs leaving them dry and empty. I can see the news anchor’s mouth moving but I can’t hear anything. When I was seven, I was sucking on an ice cube to try and cool down in the middle of a really hot day, even though mum always told me not to because it was “very dangerous, Margot.” Who cares? It was hot and nothing bad was going to happen. Turns out mum was right and the ice cube got stuck half way down my throat. I ran to where she was and pulled on her arm to get her attention but she was in the middle of an argument with my father. She didn’t look back at me, instead she held her finger up in the air and told me to wait until she was done. I couldn’t talk because, well, I was dying, and so I just stood there waiting for what seemed like forever until she finally turned around and asked me what the hell was so important. All I could do was open my mouth and wave my hands around like a maniac, hoping she would be able to understand before I passed out.This moment, sitting on the couch in front of the TV, it’s like that hot summer’s day but instead of one ice cube down my throat, it’s ten.
“Oh my God,” Mum’s voice snaps me back to present day. “Oh my God.” She’s on the very edge of the couch holding her face with both hands. I force myself to pay attention to the TV and Ken Vaughn, the bald news anchor, is still talking.
“Police are hoping that this image captured through a CCTV camera will help identify the shooter and assist in his arrest.” The image is black and white and zoomed in so that you can only see him from the shoulder’s up.

I take the stairs two at a time and almost trip halfway up. I grab the bannister and take a second to right myself before I keep running for my bedroom. I go straight to my desk where I’m pretty sure I left it, and yank open my drawer. Pens, books, sticky tape. Damn it. Where is it? I can hear mum’s voice in my head: “Something terrible could have happened to someone” and I think about how that one someone has suddenly turned into an entire town of someone’s. I go to my bed, fall to my knees and start pulling boxes out from underneath. I take things out of the boxes one by one, throwing them all over the room like a crazy lady. I pull the last box out and by now I’m not even sure I kept it, but I open it anyway and there on top is the framed picture with the glass cracked in two. I bring it right up to my face, as close as I can without my vision going blurry. Everyone in the picture is looking off to the left, as though something big and exciting is happening just out of shot. I scan each person’s face as carefully as I can, trying to ignore the feeling of my heart thumping around in my chest. I focus on the lanky teenager in the middle and I see it. I see what I was hoping I only imagined: that square shaped birthmark on the only person who ever called me Maggie. The same birthmark that’s being plastered over every TV screen in Australia right now.
 

 

Margot

Before

 

I’ve always hated the snow. I know, I know, ‘hate’ is a strong word and should always be used with caution, but I think I can very cautiously say that I hate it. I’m also aware that I should be grateful that I live in one of the two parts of Australia that even gets snow, but when you have to actually leave the house and do something it’s a pain in the ass, and I mean this both figuratively and literally, because three times these school holidays I have slipped on sleet and found myself staring up at the depressingly grey sky, wondering what I could have possibly done to deserve such bad luck. Thinking about it now makes me aware of the bruise that I collected during my latest fall and so I stand on my toes in front of the bathroom mirror to try and get a good look at it. It’s pretty gnarly – a mixture of purple, green and yellow form a circle about the size of an orange just below the line of my underwear. I decide I kind of like it. It’s like my skin is the canvas and the bruise is a work of art that only I get to see.

I walk down the stairs two at a time and follow the smell of something burning into the kitchen.
“Hey, kiddo. Hand me that tea towel, quick.” Mum says, holding her right hand out expectantly. I chuck her the tea towel and she starts flailing it around, trying her best to keep the smoke billowing from the oven away from the smoke alarm on the kitchen ceiling.
“I guess we’re having take out for dinner, then.” I flash her a grin but she is all business. “I don’t even know why we have an oven, really. I’m surprised someone hasn’t come barging in and taken it off us for our own safety.”
“Margot, please, just grab another tea towel and help me before this damn thing starts squawking again!” I can’t help but smile at the sight of her jumping around like a loon, but I’ve heard that smoke alarm enough times to know that I’m better off if I just help her out. It takes us about ten minutes and approximately 250 calories to shift all the smoke away from the alarm, and we celebrate by collapsing on the floor and trying to catch our breath.
“I swear that thing hates me.”
“Uh huh, I’m sure it’s the oven’s fault. Nothing to do with you at all.” I manage, my lungs cursing me for letting out much needed oxygen.
“What can I say? I just wanted to spend some quality time with my favourite kid.” She stretches out her hand and we pull each other up and off the tiled floor.
“I’m your only kid, weirdo.” I have enough oxygen now that laughter flows freely from my body.

I don’t know why mum has made an enemy out of the oven, but the two of them have a long track record. My dad was the one who did all the cooking, but after the divorce mum had a lot on her plate and an expert cooking class wasn’t a part of that dish. Sometimes we can just pick around the burned bits, but on nights like these when the food is well and truly barbecued we grab a take away. Over the years we have managed to compile a list of the phone numbers to every take away place in Devonport, Tasmania. One day when I was bored I counted them and we are up to 26 numbers.
“So, pizza or Chinese?” I ask, and she sighs and grabs the book off the shelf with all the numbers.

* * *

I’m clearing away the empty Chinese food containers and thinking about school starting again. I have so many mixed feelings about the whole thing that I try and get a hold of my emotions one by one to try and figure them out properly. I focus on my heart beating a little bit faster than usual and start to work out why. Is it because I’m nervous about seeing everyone again? No, I don’t think so. I’m not usually one to get nervous, unlike my mother. I have my dad to thank for that. Mum always said that I got her looks and brains and his inability to feel fear.
“It’s not always a good thing, Margot.” I can hear her worried tone in my head and my mouth turns into a smile. She worries enough for the both of us, so why should I bother? Enough, Margot. You’re distracting yourself again. Focus. Focus on your heartbeat. I’m almost finished clearing up before I finally realise what it is. It’s the fact that this is almost the end. I only have half a year left and then high school is over. Forever. The pressure to get into a good university is taking the fun and joy out of my last year and replacing it with stress and anxiety. I decide to stop thinking about that and instead watch the hot, soapy water as it gets sucked down the drain and taken far, far away. Maybe after graduation I can go far, far away too.

I log onto my Facebook and see that Liam Harrison, head of the yearbook committee has sent me another message. I already know what it’s going to say before I even open it, but I decide to humour myself and click on the message.

Liam Harrison
Hi Margot, I know you said you would get back to me, but it’s been a while and I’m desperate now. Please please please can you be the yearbook photographer? I will do ANYTHING.

I stare at the computer screen for a good five minutes trying to figure out things I could get Liam to do for me. I consider making him fetch my lunch every day for the rest of the school year or even getting him to write my ancient history essay that I’ve been dreading. Maybe I could just have him do both.
He’s persistent, I’ll give him that. This is the sixth message he’s sent me over the holidays and we only have a week off. When he first asked me before school broke up I told him that I wasn’t sure if I was the right person for the job, which is half true. I don’t really think I’m the best photographer in the school, but the truth is that I’m worried about putting too much pressure on myself. I’m already stressed about school work as it is and saying yes to Liam would definitely take up all my spare time, for which I have many exciting things planned like: watch all eight Harry Potter films and become a professional yodeller. Suddenly I remember Mr. Fredrickson, my English teacher, giving his usual spiel about the beginning of the school year and how important it is to come to every class and do the required readings. Except this year, he added a new line about how this is our last chance to add extracurricular activities to our college applications (unfortunately, yodelling wasn’t an option). He’s a shocking English teacher with an even more shocking haircut, but he does have a point about that.
I spin around on my computer chair a few times hoping that this will kick-start my brain and help me decide but it just makes me want to puke.
“God help me.” I sigh, and I start typing a reply to Liam.

  Margot Fischer
Hey, Liam. I thought about it and I think I’ll take you up on your offer. 

I delete it and retype it five different ways before I finally just give up and accept my fate. I am officially the yearbook photographer. I guess the plus side is that I won’t have to be in any of the photos if I’m behind the camera. This revelation perks me up a little bit and I realise this might not be such a bad thing. After all, Jack Little is on the yearbook committee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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