Chance Ville, a lonely town far North of Canapé, known for it’s rich story-telling and vibrant folklore. It was ‘The Town for the Dreamers’. Everyone in Chance Ville was at some point, exactly the same. Their heads were in the clouds. The biggest task in Chance Ville was picking true stories from crazy, old fairytales. And the latter was more quickly believed. They couldn’t help it, it was their culture. Well, it had been, but that’s History. It was now the 21st Century and the people of Chance Ville were doing what they liked to call, ‘waking up’.
In a tiny neighborhood in the centre of Chance Ville, Robin North lived with her partner Jesse Wrights. The house in which they lived had gone through several generations, time and tide. If those walls could talk - oh, the stories they’d tell. Its ancient decor was mind-boggling, yet an old-fashioned, chic home it was.
The majority of the residents in this neighborhood were either White or Asian...so Robin North, being a dark skinned black girl, was part of the minority. She was 23.
Jesse Wrights worked as a junior editor for Chance Ville’s only newspaper, ‘Bonjour!’. He was 24 years old.
“Right here, thanks.”
“You don’t want me to drive in?” the middle-aged, female driver turned to Robin.
“No, it’s fine,” Robin shook her head, “I’ll walk.”
Robin paid the taxi driver right at the top of Telesford street, then proceeded on a lone journey home. Her walk was only a minute or so, then she stopped right in front of the yellow-green house.
Jesse’s average, grey convertible was already parked in the driveway, and upon seeing it Robin breathed a sigh of relief.
After fumbling with the keys for a while, she entered and found Jesse on the couch, stuffing his face with wedges. Robin closed the front door and walked further inside.
“Hey Rue,” Jesse smiled. Then, he stood and made his way to Robin, towering over her. With her shoes off, Robin faced his torso.
“Hey...” she replied softly and sunk into his chest, “How have you been?”
He chuckled a bit, then wrapped his arms around her chubby waist.
Robin had had a long day. She longed to tell Jesse about the eerie stranger she had met much earlier on. He had approached her, knife in hand and dressed in all white. His manner, his walk - everything about him - had screamed danger. Fear. And no one else in the library seemed to notice. That wasn’t the first time, and Robin knew better than to talk about it. The words never left her mouth. Besides, Jesse’s favourite names for Robin were ‘crazy’ and ‘delusional’.
“By the way, I’m not gonna be here this evening.”
“Why not?” Robin pulled away from Jesse’s embrace to stare him dead in the face. His blue-grey eyes were dull and faint.
“Fortunately for me,” he sighed, “I have a meeting with my team of editors. Our boss called it, I have no choice.”
After, he cupped Robin’s face, planted a kiss on her lips and then led her to the couch.
“But how come? Are you getting fired?” Robin’s curiousity sparked.
She snuggled up next to Jesse, pressing for insight.
“No,” he laughed again, “It’s about promotions.”
“Really? How long will that take?”
“Hopefully not forever. How was the library?” Jesse looked down, holding her in his arms.
Robin shivered, then swallowed hard.
“Fine. But seriously, how long will you be gone?”
Jesse shook his head, then mouthed: ‘paranoid’.
“Until then,” he gently held her chin, leaning in for a deep kiss, “I can pop open some sweet, red wine for the two of us to share.”
“No, Jesse...” she squirmed out of his grasp.
Jesse left a few hours later, promising to return as soon as possible, like always. He hated leaving Robin alone because he didn’t trust her conscience. Not one bit.
Robin retreated to her bedroom, after making herself a large cup of chai tea and locked the door. She barricaded the entrance, pushing her desk against the door and piling it with loads of heavy books and files, to secure herself even more.
She tried to get some reading done, but ended up worrying about if Jesse’s phone was fully charged, or what would be on the news that night. Soon, her thoughts strayed far enough that she ended up fantasising about what might have happened, had she taken Jesse’s red wine offer.
Robin wasted an hour over- thinking.
Afterwards, she decided to head downstairs to satisfy her sudden, violent cravings.
It took her a long while to even step out of the room. Robin hated being without Jesse, or without anyone she knew. She felt uncomfortable.
To make matters worse, a sudden shatter came from their kitchen, sounded up the stairs and throughout the entire building. It was followed by a second shatter, a third - and right when Robin expected the fourth, her thoughts were interrupted by a series of bangs and clangs.
First, she reckoned it was Jesse returning home drunk, (or really mad), but eventually she knew it was something else.
“They’re coming for me,” she wailed, covering her ears and shaking her head side to side. She fought to drown out the sounds.
The noises were so deafening, that Robin thought the whole neighborhood could have heard it. She anticipated a booming knock on the door from the neighbour, asking what the hell was going on.
It never came.
Robin slowly walked downstairs as the sounds increased - blaring, ear-piercing sounds - and maybe a voice or two. Or... three?
Robin turned the corner into the kitchen and she saw -
By this time, her breathing was asthmatic. She had tears streaming down her face and wanted to beat herself up. She cried and coughed, wrapping her arms around her stomach for comfort.
She stumbled over to the phone, calling Jesse via speed dial.
“Could you...come home?” she cried loudly through the phone when he answered.
“Damn, Rue.” he said sadly, “I’m on my way, baby.”
Robin returned upstairs and washed the beads of sweat off her face. Her dark, brown eyes caught the mirror ahead of them. They were glassy and tired, and her brown, curly-kinks had turned to a frizz.
She locked herself in the bedroom once again, pulled out her old notebook and sat cross-legged in the middle of the bed.
She felt uneasy and on edge, as if she was being watched. She always felt like that. Like she was unsafe and always targeted. By everything and everyone. She hated watching the news - all tv in fact - and preferred to read the articles the next day. She hated the cinema, long lines at the bank and the radio.
Robin flipped through her notebook until an envelope swam out, making her jump. It was sealed, with scrappy writing to the bottom left corner. It read:
Robin looked at her calendar, then scoffed at the odds. Just two years before. She knew exactly what it meant. And she wished that she could avoid it. Still, she peeled it open and read every word.
“Damn.” she whispered.
After, Robin got out folder pages, pens and pencils, and sat at the desk. She had no one else to share this with. Only those who were unlucky enough to read it. To read her letters. Robin had to recall the past, almost two years ago.
A story about someone Robin met a while ago. He didn’t exactly ‘change her life’. He only plummeted her into madness.
Robin took more sleeping pills than she should have, climbed into bed, and hid herself under the covers.
She’d get to writing eventually.