The Gentiles

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Callie

Think of a single girl from a distant small town over who just started her first day in a new school.

Grades all aces, president of the communications arts organization, captain of the girls’ volleyball team. Never had to worry about money or what was going to be for dinner at night.

Her family of three had to move from their hometown and she had to leave her friends, and classmates, maybe she had relatives living close by, too.
Perhaps a childhood friend was also left for this new job her father had been promoted to.

She had to leave her perfect life.

Think of her and her loneliness and the neglect and anxiety that overcomes her.

This girl was smart and, as everyone started to warm up to her, in her mind, there was only one move she had to do to cement her place in this brave new world.

She needed sympathy.

And so a legend was born.

One late night in the metro, there sat six passengers in the same car. Three were only female and one of them sat between two other men. The other three sat apart from them and each other. One of the females, a young woman, suddenly stood up and sat next to the other one who was just a young student, approaching her as if they were lost friends.

The student was confused as this stranger linked an arm around hers. Something was weird with how the woman’s smile was so wide but didn't reach her eyes.

For a moment, the girl considered the woman’s face and thought hard to remember where they had met. Then again, this woman called her by the wrong name.

The girl nervously tried to reply but was interrupted.

The woman didn’t want her talking.

The poor girl drew back a bit and tried to yank her arm back but the woman pulled her back.

She felt the panic rising slowly but deep inside, she wasn’t afraid. Somehow she knew that something was wrong but it wasn’t the woman.

With her brown trousers and matching French blue polo shirt, dark brown hair with streaks of gray peeking out wrapped up in a neat bun, she was a reminder of her own aunt. She didn’t scream danger. Still, she didn’t know what this woman’s motivations were.

What a very convincing tone she carried the girl almost let her lead her out the opening doors.
There was a moment of hesitation but one other movement caught her eye that made her trust the woman’s next words.

Her eyes were pleading.

The girl left with her.

The doors closed and the train sped off as the two of them faked turning towards the turnstiles, the woman subtly watching behind her back with lateral glances all the while spouting nonsense to the girl, walking elbow to elbow.

The second the train was out of sight, she released a breath and pulled her mobile out of her tote.

Apparently, the woman who was together with one of the men was already dead. And the two other guys spread out on the train car were in on it.

If it weren’t for the quick thinking and observation of the lady, the young girl would have suffered a much worse fate than being scolded by her parents for arriving late to dinner.

Or so the tale goes, though the truth was nobody knew where it truly had originated from, or when it was first uttered.

It was part of the unofficial initiation among the youth too young to party but too old for silly campfire stories that held no amount of legitimacy at all, along with the supervised by an older sibling slumber party poised as an innocent acquaintance party swarmed with boys and girls alike eager to receive their first kiss, praying it was with their crush, through a game of spin the bottle.

The doors of the train opened and it was like a sign from the heavens, allowing me a safe passage after mistakenly putting my own foot on the grave.

But my body refused to move.

I gasped as the young man stood in front of me, second by second, I submitted myself to my inevitable demise.

My limbs were frozen in place and not just because of the cold. I need to move my feet and I curse at my inability to. So this was how I’d be when faced with death.

The doors then closed and with it, I noticed that the man had exited the car.

I was too focused not to pee myself, playing scenarios in my head of different ways how I’d die.

Looking up, I saw a familiar stop.

It has to be here, right?

If my memory serves me correctly, the station should be five blocks away from there. I could walk my way there but in this weather, I don’t think I’ll last ten minutes outside.

Once I get off the train, I could probably just call for a cab. It was only three days ago when I’d last been there and as I passed the turnstiles, I found that I’m excited to go back. I always was every weekend when I came to visit.

Even with a quick consultation with Google maps, I still wasn’t sure I got the right stop until I saw the familiar retro billboard advertising an oven toaster. Then, I slid down the seat and folded my arms to my chest.

I did it.

The pride I felt for reaching the location was the first welcoming feeling I’d felt since arriving back home early. I usually suck at geography and was really bad at directions, the reason why I kept putting off my driving test, so this achievement right here was something that really made me feel good about myself.

Paying the cab driver, I once again stepped out into the cold, running up the steps to the wrap around porch, and rang the doorbell. I was all smiles until the door swung open and the one person I least expected to be there stared at me right in the face.
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