o n e
I pulled aside the white curtain in my dorm room and looked outside. It was dark.
Masses of snow were fallen down onto the ground, covering the grey cement in white. I pressed my lips together and held my phone against my ear with my shoulder. The voice on the other end of the line sounded worried, an etch of blame drawing their voice sharper.
“What the hell are you going to do, Holly? Oh, god, do you even have enough food?”
I sat down on the window bench and leaned my back against the wall. I was sitting sideways to the window, watching as the snowflakes just continued falling. I knew this white storm wouldn’t stop any time now. The news had said so.
“I don’t know, mom,” I answered as I started to gnaw on my lip. It took all in me not to start biting my nails. It was a bad habit of mine whenever I was nervous, and if I started again, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stop.
“What do you mean ’you don’t know?′ Have you checked if there is someone there that can help you?” I could almost see her pacing around our small apartment back home. I swear I would probably be able to see the trail of her footsteps whenever I finally made it home.
If I ever would.
It did not seem like the snow would stop anytime soon.
“The corridors are quiet. I think I’m the last one.”
There was silence on the other end. I grabbed the phone with my left hand and switched it to my left ear. Leaning my head against the cold window, I sighed. Even with the cold around me, I could feel her flaming anger from here.
There were only angered voices on the other line. I waited and rolled my eyes when Arthur raised his voice. Now, they were arguing again. This was all I needed right now... I had waited for the twenty-first to leave because I wanted to avoid all their arguing.
And now, I could listen to it over the phone. How great.
“I told you she would find a way to just not come! Why didn’t you just let me get her?”
“Oh, now you’re making this about me? How was I supposed to know that a fucking storm would come?”
I sighed again and shook my head.
This would continue on for some time. It could take minutes or even hours.
I lifted my phone from my ear and hung up. I laid it down next to me after I had put it into flight mode. There was no decent reception anyway, but I didn’t want another surprise. To my luck, my mother would find a fax machine to somehow contact me again.
But, they would forget about me, anyway, for now.
I had never understood why they were even married.
Sure, maybe they had loved each other when I was too young to even remember, but that didn’t explain why they were together now. I could remember years of constant fighting and screaming. They had never kissed or held hands when I saw them together either.
They had never even tried to act like other parents back in high school. Other families had been broken too, but at least they tried to appear as if everything was fine. They had done it for their children, but I had been able to see every uncomfortable touch.
My stomach grumbled. I closed my eyes. It seemed like it was finally time for me to see if there was some food left. I would be fucked if there wasn’t. Sure, I had the packages of chocolate bars and water bottles I had stolen from the cafeteria some time ago, but they wouldn’t last long. If I wanted to come out of this, I needed more.
Alright, that was a bit dramatic, but who wouldn’t go crazy?
I turned and placed my feet on the ground, tugging my phone into the side of my fuzzy sweatpants. I made my way to my bed and put on my slippers. A groan left my lips as I realized that I had to walk the long way to the cafeteria through the dark.
I gathered my hair up in a low bun, securing my hair with a few bobby-pins. And then, I pulled a jacket over my wide, black t-shirt. I had pulled up the heater as high as it could go in my room, but that didn’t mean that the corridors would be as warm. During the winter, it was always freezing.
Walking up to my dresser, I searched for a torch. I didn’t want to waste the battery of my phone for a trip to the cafeteria. It was old, and it ran out of it even more quickly than I ran out of patience.
I hoisted a bag over my shoulder, zipped up my jacket, and with my keys in hand, made my way out of the room. The only light that lightened the corridor were the lights that were standing outside in the snow. To be honest, now that I was here, all alone, the building appeared like one out of a horror movie.
My hands were shaking as I locked the door behind me. I couldn’t risk someone getting in there. Even if I wasted more time until I got my food.
I swallowed and then put on my torch. I held it to the right and then to the left, making sure that there was no one hiding in a corner. I was acting pathetic. Overly and utterly piteous. But I couldn’t do anything about it.
I was scared, and I was not afraid to admit it.
With a final deep breath, I turned to the left and started my way through the corridors.
The only sounds I could hear were the wind and my footsteps. And, of course, my beating heart. I needed to calm down. Apart from me, there wasn’t anyone here. Who would be so stupid to stay until now?
Well, I was, but that wasn’t one of the most stupid things I had ever done.
Maybe, if I would have enough food, I might even enjoy staying here, all alone... To be honest, I had never minded staying on my own, so why was it that bad?
Maybe because it was night time. The darkness was scary, and I couldn’t do more about it than lightening the way with a torch. I didn’t know where the light switches for the lamps on the campus were, and I was too afraid to find out.
I just wanted to get some food and then disappear into my room again... Maybe for the next few days. There wasn’t anything else that I needed outside of my four walls anyway. At least that was what I was trying to tell myself.
I just couldn’t lie to myself. I was a pitiful creature.
Just the smallest scare could send me six-feet under within seconds. I shuddered when the sound of the wind got louder. At least, I hoped that that was what it was. It sounded like someone was hitting against the big windows over and over again, but all I could see was falling snow.
My hand clenched tightly around my torch.
If there really was someone, I could fuck them over with it. Maybe a hit to the head would do the trick. There didn’t need to be much blood after all... I almost gagged at the idea. Why was I even trying to fool myself?
I would be a crying mess if someone I didn’t know was in here with me. I would probably scream and run as far as my short legs could carry me.
I rounded the corner to the left.
Short legs... that meant I wasn’t the fastest runner. I wasn’t the best at anything. Sure, I had made my way into college without a failed class, but that was because I had worked hard.
I worked and worked to get where I wanted to be, but it felt like it was never enough. I could barely remember the last trophy I had won in second grade when I had won the spelling contest... but that was about it.
As long as I was enough to get me here, I was alright with it. But sometimes, late at night, I still felt like a failure.
I rounded two corners, one to the left and the other to the right, and finally saw my destination. The doors to the cafeteria were big and made out of dark wood. For me, they had always looked like they were twice my size.
I chuckled and lifted my hand, grasping the golden door handle. I pulled.
But nothing moved.
“Fuck,” I whispered.
I pulled and pulled, but nothing would do. My heartbeat grew stronger, beating against my rib cage like a hammer.
My voice grew louder. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!”
I could’ve been screaming at this point, but I didn’t care. There was no one here, and I couldn’t even open this damned door-
“And I thought I was the only one,” I suddenly heard a voice chuckle behind me. My heart sank to my toes, and all I could do was let out a bloody scream before I turned.