Pervasive Decisions

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Summary

Zaria lives in a small city called Myrtle Town in North America. Absolutely nothing exciting ever happens in her city until one day. An old lady's death piques the interest of Zaria. Zaria went to visit the dying Miya only to have a lifetime surprise of her easygoing life.

Genre:
Other / Adventure
Author:
Marlise_Ingorle
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
3
Rating:
5.0 2 reviews
Age Rating:
13+

Chapter 1

It’s the last day of school at Prime High for Zaria. The sunny skies break across the small town of Myrtle Town as students break out from school.

Myrtle Town is where “Everyday Is Sunny”, according to its town mayor, Mr. Robert Tate.

Or is it?

In this small town of Myrtle Town, absolutely nothing exciting ever happens. Every time something small happens, everyone in the town gets excited. Everyone will clamour to talk about it.

Have a small accident? Everyone starts talking about it.

Someone just had a baby? Oh, it’s big news!

You’ve bought a “new shirt”? Everyone will stare at you.

‘Sunnytown? More like a boring town!’ Zaria exudes in her thoughts.

She adjusted her backpack back onto her shoulders and made her way to the grassy lawns in front of her school. She chooses a spot and settles down onto it, waiting for her parents to come to fetch her.

It hasn’t even been 2 minutes when someone plonks down next to her. She didn’t need to turn her head and she already knew who it was.

“Thanks for saving me a spot, Zaria!”

Michael plops down beside Zaria, his bag bumping into her shoulders by accident.

“What’s with the assault, Mike?” Zaria’s face deadpans when Michael sits down beside her.

“I’m sorry, Zaria. You know I will never hurt you,” Michael replied sheepishly.

Zaria nods absent-mindedly and zones out. ‘I hate people! Why does Mike see the need to always bother after school?’

It seems that Michael isn’t done with Zaria yet. He rambles on about how boring school is and how nothing exciting ever happens in his class.

Just like every other day,’ Zaria bores.

“Did you hear me? Zaria?”

It seems like Mike has asked something and Zaria didn’t hear it.

“What, Michael? What boring story do you have for me today?” Zaria shot back, her face still bored.

“Well, I’m saying that I’ve been hearing that Miya is dying soon. Were you listening?” Michael said.

Zaria raises an eyebrow. “Should I care? Isn’t Miya old? If she’s dying soon I won’t be surprised.”

“Yeah, that’s...the thing. She’s old. But she never had kids. No one ever knows who her immediate families are,” Michael continues rambling on.

Ahh, Miya, the elderly lady who lives several streets away from my neighborhood. I know her. Strange old lady!’ Zaria recalls.

Miya is the town recluse - if one can call her that. Miya is considered Myrtle Town’s oldest living person at age 95 years old. She never accepts visitors, which means every Christmas or any festival she will celebrate alone. As depressing as it sounds, that’s how she lived her life for as long as Zaria can remember.

Zaria remembered once that Mike and she went to Miya’s house to bring her dinner, they had the shock of their lives. As soon as Miya opened her door, a strong waft of herbal smell hit their face.

The smell wasn’t just something that scared Mike and Zaria. Miya’s appearance was off-putting too, in a sense that it was thread-bare and smelt of her house. Her skin was drooping and her hair was thinning, pulled back into a neat bun.

She remembered how Mike gave her a tray of pudding for Christmas, which Miya did take it in with a clawish swoop. Before anyone could say anything that day, she slammed the door on both Mike and Zaria.

Oddly enough, a week later they found the pudding tray cleaned out and washed. It was placed on the front porch stairs to her house. Mike came to collect the tray the very same day with Zaria’s company (his request).

Ever since that day, every year Mike’s parents will make Christmas pudding and get Mike and Zaria to send it to Miya. Like a ceremonial sacrifice of some sort.

But to hear that Miya is dying soon, that’s definitely news in this small-time town!

“What happened?” Zaria asks.

“Well, old age. What else could she die of?” Mike replies nonchalantly.

“Alone? And at home without anyone to take care of her? That must be really lonely and sad.”

“Well, don’t be. I heard that Myrtle Hospital sends nurses to check up on her daily. They make sure that her vitals are steady and that her last days are taken care of.”

“Oh.”

“Why, Zaria? Do you care about her?”

“Maybe, maybe not. I’m just curious why she has been alone for so many years. She’s never kept in contact with anyone outside of Myrtle Town, no?”

“You can ask her if you are so curious. You know where she lives too.”

“Yeah, I know,” Zaria nods.

Before long, Zaria’s dad pulls up in his sedan.

“Get in, Zaria. Mom is waiting for us!” Zaria’s dad calls over.

Zaria quickly picks up her bag and hops into her dad’s car. Just as the day can’t get any more exciting with Miya’s “impending death”.

---

Over lunch that day, Zaria talks about Miya’s impending death with her parents. It seems like Miya’s death is the talk of the town for that day for everyone in Myrtle Town.

“Well, we never know what Miya’s life was like before we came here with your dad,” Zaria’s mom says over lunch. “She hardly talks to anyone, she hardly comes out, she often declines invitations. The only time when she has any kind of interaction with outside people is when Mike’s family makes her Christmas Pudding.”

“Oh, you know how small-town people are like Betty. When something as mundane as Miya’s impending death is ‘the talk of the town’, it’s all the more reason for Miya to be more of a recluse!” Zaria’s dad laughs.

“Paul! You know how being a recluse is not the best way to live in a society and for it to thrive!” Betty reverberates back to Paul.

The conversation went back and forth between Zaria’s parents like that for a few minutes. Then they turn their attention to Zaria, giving her a once over.

“Were you ever close to Miya?” Paul asks.

Zaria shakes her head. “No, never.”

“Well, maybe you can pay her a visit. Say your last goodbyes before, you know...before she pulls the plug or something,” Betty says.

“Yeah, I’ll do that,” Zaria says softly.

Lunch was over just like that for that day. Before Zaria knows anything, she finds herself changing into her regular clothes and making for Miya’s home.

---

Upon reaching Miya’s house, Zaria can see a car parked outside Miya’s home.

It must be the nurse’s car,’ Zaria thinks to herself.

She makes her way to the front door and presses the rusting doorbell. A creaky ring sounded through the house. Surprisingly the old doorbell still works after all these years, despite some creaky sounds that came with it.

Zaria waits a couple of minutes before she can hear footsteps coming towards the main door where she is standing. It swung open and before her stood the nurse, a lady who looks like she is in her early 40s.

“Hello, who are you?” the nurse asks.

“I’m Zaria, Paul and Betty’s daughter. I heard Miya is passing away soon so I may want to come to say my last goodbyes,” Zaria says.

The nurse raises her eyebrows. “I never knew Miya had any friends or acquaintances. I always thought she stayed recluse,” the nurse says.

The nurse studies Zaria before standing aside to let her in. “Come in, Zaria. She’s upstairs. My name is Lisa, by the way.”

Zaria makes her way upstairs. The staircase creaks as she places each of her feet on the stairs. Old yellowing pictures lined the walls where the staircase is. They are not pictures of Miya herself or anyone she knows. They are all pictures of international landmarks.

As Zaria makes her way upstairs, she can hear Miya coughing softly from one of the rooms. When she reaches upstairs she peered into the left room where she heard the coughing sound.

“That’s the room, Zaria. Miya is in there,” Lisa says.

“Thank you, Lisa,” Zaria says.

“Why don’t you go chat with her while I go make us some tea? Keep yourselves entertained or something, eh?” Lisa calls up the stairs.

“Sure, Lisa. Anything works.”

Zaria enters Miya’s room as Lisa goes to make some tea.

As soon as Zaria enters the room, she can feel how airy the room is. Miya lays on the bed, her eyes half-closed, her skin fading to grey, and her entire body looks so frail.

Miya tries to focus her eyes on Zaria as she enters the room.

“Oh, it’s you. It’s Zaria,” Miya says feebly.

She tries to sit up but Zaria tells her not to. She places an extra pillow on top of Miya’s existing pillows to prop her up.

“You have finally come to see me, huh, Zaria. That’s good because I have something to tell you,” Miya drones on.

“Pull up that chair. I have something I have been wanting to tell you about for so many years!”

Zaria’s eyes widened in fear and intrigue. Part of her regretted coming but part of her wanted to stay and hear what Miya has to say.

“Well? What are you waiting for? Get that chair and come, dear!" Miya exudes.

Zaria finds herself automatically pulling up an old wooden chair, which surprisingly still stands strong after all these years. She sat down uneasily as Miya watched her.

“I’ve been waiting for you for years, Zaria. There’s something you need to know!”

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