A Safe Place

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chloe thinks she is safe where she is, that no one will hurt her. This all changes when she is walking home one day.

A Safe Place

She exited the school, the girl Chloe, and to welcome her outside was a cold, November wind. Wrapping her jacket closer to her body she kept the cold from entering. Around her, people were walking home or standing, laughing with their friends. She got off the schoolyard and headed towards the library where she worked some days after school. 


She hoped that someone else would be working today too. Like Sophie. She didn’t want to be alone with Mrs. Bartlett. 


Mrs Bartlett had worked at the library for almost all her life, old and boring, she was lays very strict. As soon as someone was talking above the volume of a whisper, she would be there and tell them off. She didn’t understand what jokes are and hated it  when people were laughing.


Together with Sophie, she could have a good laugh. Without Mrs Bartlett noticing. It was a skill that they had learned. 


She couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that Mrs Bartlett had been working in the library for so long. She had only worked there a few months and was already tired of it. Staying in such a boring place for very long must need a boring person. No one with some sense of humor could stay there for more than a year. The only thing that kept her there was Sophie, and the fact that she needed money.


Soon, when she’d grown up, she would move out of this small city and get a better life somewhere else. Someplace that was full of opportunities. 


Before entering the centre, in which the library was located, Chloe had to pass the people outside. They were always there. Smoking, drinking, and laughing. Rumors about them had crossed her path. Rumors said that they had been following children home from the elementary school. Threatening them with a knife and such. Though, she had never heard the names of these people that had been threatened and followed. Besides, these things only happened on this side of the centre, never where she lived. Where she lived, no one carries a knife. At least she had never heard of anyone doing that. They had never done anything to her.  


She passed the laughing, smoking and drinking people. She walked towards the library. When she opened the door to the library, she realized that she would have to be alone with Mrs Bartlett. Sophie wasn’t there nor was anybody else. ”Good, you’re here. You’re by yourself today so you have to work hard. Come over here and help me.” 


Chloe walked down the aisles of books that were lying in big, messy piles on the shelves. The library was almost empty. Just a few people sitting, and reading. ”I promise you, it’s those smokers outside that has messed all of this up. That’s all they do you know? They ruin for other people. You should be careful passing them everyday. You know what happened to the children at the elementary school. Now hurry up. We have to clean this up.” Mrs. Bartlett muttered. 


”What’s wrong with them? They’ve never done me any harm.” She started cleaning up the mess on the shelves as Mrs Bartlett answered her question. 


”What’s wrong with them? They are always looking for trouble. When I was young, they were already there, smoking, drinking, and plotting. We could never get any peace. They broke windows, doors, and burned things up. They have always been the same, and they will always be.” Mrs Bartlett was sorting out the non-fiction section as she continued ”You’re lucky living where you do. No one will hurt you there. Living on their side is like suicide.”


They continued working in silence. She thought about what Mrs Bartlett had said. They could change, right? Of course, they could. They had never broken any windows or doors or burned anything up for as long as she could remember. No one had proof that they had been doing those things to the elementary students. Besides, Mrs Bartlett wasn’t the best source when it came to this kind of information. She was stuck in the old ways of thinking.


The sun was starting to sink, and the darkness crept over the city. Soon it would be time to go home. ”The clock is almost six now. You can go home and I’ll finish up here. Be careful on your way home.” Mrs Bartlett told her. 


”I will. Thank you. Have a nice evening Mrs Bartlett.”


She didn’t have to be careful on her way home. No on would hurt her. She wouldn’t pass their area. It was a little bit scary though. The darkness was like a blanket over the trees. Moon was casting a dim light over the city. Only a few streetlights were on as most of them were already broken. Nobody was out, except for a few children with their parents. They were out playing. The ground was icy, and she had to be careful with where you stepped. The cold started to break through her thick jacket. She couldn’t feel her hands. 


She entered her street. The lights were on in most of the houses where people were eating dinner together or watching TV. Some had started a fire. Smoke was rising from their chimneys. 


She continued walking towards her own house when she heard someone scream.  


Around the left corner, a high pitched scream of terror echoed between the houses. Knowing that it probably was a bad idea, she walked around the corner to see what was happening. 


The scene in front of her was worse than anything she had ever seen before. Two men, dressed in black, holding a gun against a woman’s head. They took her purse and threatened to shoot her if she made on more sound. The woman was crying. Her whole body shook with fear. Where she was standing, Chloe froze. She was too scared to do anything. She couldn’t move or call for help. All she could do was to watch.


She felt as if she was watching from above. Almost like she could see herself, the woman and the man. In her mind, she saw it all from a different perspective. A point where she wasn’t part it. Where she wasn’t in danger, and she didn’t have to do anything about what was going on.


Out of nowhere came a man out of a house. He screamed at the men with courage that shocked Chloe and woke her from her paralysis. He screamed that he would call the police. The two men in black ran away, leaving the woman by herself. 


She slowly walked away, shaking with fear and shock. A tear slowly trickled down her cheek and landed delicately on her jacket. Her body felt weak, and her hands were trembling. She wasn’t safe anymore. Living on the safe side wasn’t safe. If that could happen to someone else, then it could happen to her too. The only thing that kept them from taking her stuff and threatening her, was time. The only thing that kept those men from shooting the woman, was that man. Everyone had been there at the right time. They were all lucky this time, but what about the next time? What would happen then? She opened the door to her house. The house that had once felt safe, now she didn’t know what was safe anymore. 

Submitted: November 07, 2020

© Copyright 2020 Alva Lövblad. All rights reserved.

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