I walked in my room, which was mostly packed up, only to find that Ashley was already taking over. "Excuse me, this is my room for two more days…" I said pushing Ashley's stuff back into the hallway, "You can wait two days, I'll be gone soon enough." Apparently they had decided they were going to renew the lease on their own, or perhaps they were just going to stay in the appartment until they got evicted. Either way, I was just happy that the lease was up and I was able to leave. Paying half the rent when there were five other people in the house was just ridiculous.
She didn't give me much of a response, though she began to shove her things back into her overloaded room. I decided it was time to make use of the deadbolt that had been installed on my door for one reason or another. I never used it before her family came, then I only locked it when I went to sleep, but now it seemed that I had to use it in the middle of the day which was kind of pathetic in my own home. I continued to pack before I joined her family in the living room. I was about to jump on my computer, only to find Ashley's father on it already. I closed my eyes and tried to calm myself down remembering the last time I had asked him to use my own computer. Rubbing my left wrist I decided it was best to take a walk. Without a word to anyone, I grabbed my purse from my room locking my room door behind me. I muttered to myself about how inconsiderate her family was, but I wasn't about to combat the man's anger issues over my own computer.
Despite it being so late, I went out, and got my normal paper, and went down to the school. I laid it out on the counter just within the main doors and began to look through, trying to find a place that I could move to for cheap. It was complicated since I didn't really have a place to fall back on, but I'd rather live on the street than live with Ashley's family anymore. I had recently found out that their stay was a permanent thing, which hadn't gone over very well. I knocked my foot against the counter thinking about what I could possibly do as I flipped through the paper.
I looked up at our school's news room for a moment, and wondered if they had anything. I figured that they wouldn't because I wasn't planning on staying in the area. Since I just graduated it was time to explore new places. The job that I held also had run out since I was no longer enrolled at the college, so I really was prepared to take myself anywhere. As I kept tapping my foot against the counter while I looked through the paper, suddenly our "friendly" news editor popped out from under the counter, and climbed up the step stool on the other side. He was short and had dark brown eyes, and bore a dark glare on his round face. The sudden appearance made me jump halfway across the room.
"Excuse me, do you mind? That's my home that you keep knocking on, and I'd kindly like you to KNOCK IT OFF!" he snapped at me.
"Relax Jeb," I told him trying to get a hold of my heartrate, "I didn't realize that you actually lived in the counter. "
Jeb's eyes searched me for a while. The little man huffed, "You're reading that crap again, you know you're never going to find anything in that paper…" he complained. With one hand, he pulled a paper out from under the counter, while his other swiftly stole the paper in my hands, "You'll find a much better place looking through this one. Besides, you should stay within similar communities… you'll have less trouble s there."
I gave him a look causing him to huff at me. "God damn it Nuala, don't tell me that you still haven't figured out that this place is different. Are you blind? Can you not see me? I don't just call myself a gremlin for kicks! I really am a freaking Gremlin, like the ones strait out of Harry Potter! Come on Nuala, I know you're more observant than that!"
I gave a small shrug, at a loss for words. Only to get another grumble from them man. He walked off, going into the news room, which I assumed meant he was done talking with me. I turned my attention to the news paper he had replaced mine with and started to look carefully through the places that I could possibly get to. Just as I thought I fond a place Jeb ripped the news paper from my hand.
"Hey!" I snapped at him this time, "First you -"
Jeb immediately cut me off, "I have a friend who wants your photography skills, he'll hire you immediately." Jeb placed a messenger bag on the counter, "Go home and put all your things into this tonight, and meet me here in the morning, I'll have the tickets for you. Another friend of mine will teach you more about magic. You need it."
"You can't just come here and tell me what I'm going to do with my life," I objected. Jeb and I were fairly decent friends, but he liked to boss me around a bit. This was probably because he was my boss, but hey, he was a little overly controlling sometimes.
"Do you have another plan?" he challenged me, when I didn't respond, he continued, "Meet me here tomorrow. All of your stuff should fit into this bag. I'll slip you the tickets, and the instructions on where to meet the bus."
I looked at the messenger bag, feeling like it was a long shot that everything would fit, but I had to try. The opening seemed like it would be just big enough to fit my computer case, and it definitely wouldn’t fit the whole thing. I wasn't ready to keep fighting with Jeb, and I didn't need to hear him repeat himself on the subject. I knew this place was different, it was chance that I ended up here, but still, what 'normal' human would actually allow themselves to think further on the subject? Nobody wanted to believe that they were going crazy.
I went home, and into my room. I threw the messenger bag on the bed and stared at it for a time before I set it so that I could easily shove things in. Looking around, I picked up my suitcase and went to set it on top of the bag, feeling stupid. There was no logical way that my suitcase could fit into it, but as I tried to set it down, the suitcase just sunk in and seemed to disappear. I reached in for the suitcase, and started to pull it out. After doing the in-out routine several times I decided not to question it further, and just packed, making sure I had everything. The only thing left was my compute. I had already taken my silverware, pots, pans, and food and had put it in a large box which now resided in my messenger bag. I actually was having a little too much fun dumping everything into the bag and watching it disappear.
I decided to go out and spend some time with her family, they weren't that bad when we were all watching TV. Ashley's father, however, was still on my computer. Ashley, her two sisters, and her mother were taking up the couch so I settled for a spot on the floor and enjoyed an hour of AFV before they all began to turn in. Once I was fairly certain that everyone had turned in for the night, I began to disassemble my computer. I had gotten most of it in my bag, and as I started back to my room with the last piece, the monitor, Ashley's father seemed to appear behind me.
"What are you doing?" asked Ashley's father snapped, causing me to turn around.
"I'm moving out tomorrow, the computer is mine. You'll have to get a new one," I explained as I backed into my room.
"You will not be taking that with you, I don't have the money to get a new one, you need to leave it here!" he growled suddenly rushing for me. I was just within the confines of my room and slammed the door in his face. The man hit it hard just before I managed to get the deadbolt over the handle latched.
He continued to bang on the door as I thanked god that we were on the first floor. I threw my monitor into the bag knowing it wasn't safe to stay the rest of the night. That was it, I was packed, and now it was time to go. The room seemed completely empty now, and I smiled, happy that I had it for the past four years. I threw the messenger bag over my shoulder. Silently, I slipped out the window with my keys and walked the two blocks to my land lord's house, praying Ashley's father hadn't seen me slip out the window. I knocked loudly on his door, seeing that he was watching TV in his living room.
My landlord's face appeared in the window by the door before he threw it open and asked me what I was doing there without even saying hello. I didn't blame him, it was approaching midnight after all.
At that moment, it occurred to me that the man before me seemed to have elf ears, I reminded myself that it was twelve and that I had been up since five am. I was probably just a little tired, for all I knew I was in the middle of a crazy dream. "Hi Derik, I erm… felt a little threatened, and I wanted to give you back the keys and get the security deposit. I was also, um, wondering if I could stay here for the night."
"Of course," he said stepping aside for me to come in. He had a concerned look on his face, like my father used to give me when he knew I was upset. At the top of the steps two little faces smiled down at me, only to get a stern look from their father. They quickly ran back into their rooms as I muffled a giggle. I walked into the living room and greeted his wife.
It was a quiet evening from there, and I was actually given my own room to stay in that night. When I woke up, I decided last night's events were just a product of my exhaustion until I checked the messenger bag that I had taken from Jeb. It took me a few minutes to settle myself down, but I soon managed to put the bag out of my mind as I headed down the stairs, dressed and ready for the day ahead. Over breakfast I handed Derik the keys to the apartment. He, in turn slid a stack of money toward me with keys on top of it.
"What are these?" I asked softly.
"If you ever run into trouble and need a place to stay, my wife and I talked, we'd like you to stay with us if this journey doesn't work out for you. The past four years having you as a tenant has been great, and the kids love you as their babysitter. They even call you their big sister. We just want to make sure that you don't have to worry. You're practically family," he smiled at me.
"Thank you," I said, honored. It made the goodbyes harder, but we promised to stay in touch, and I promised that I would visit often. With that, I took my things, and walked to the school to go meet Jeb.
This morning the school was bustling with life. I tapped the counter with my foot lightly, and Jeb's head quickly popped out minus his usual scowl, "I got you your favorite news paper," he said with a smirk.
I opened my mouth to ask about the tickets, but then realized why he had done it that way, "Thanks Jeb, I appreciate it," I smiled, and went into the news room like I normally would. Going over to the empty desk, I opened the paper, and read the innermost page which had the instructions and the bus ticket. I rolled the paper up with the instructions and bus tickets, and left. I could see Jeb smiling as I walked away. There was a silent understanding that we'd keep in touch.
As I boarded the bus, I felt like I was in a dream. I chatted idly with the other passengers around me. It was a weird bus, unless you were traveling with a partner, you were sitting in a double seat by yourself. The tickets were sold in pairs, and if you didn't have someone along with you, you were forced to sit by yourself. I didn't think much of it and laid my bag in the seat next to me. I stared out the window, falling asleep in the plush chairs they had. They were more like armchairs than bus seats, and soon I drifted off to sleep.
When I woke up, it was the middle of the night, and I was on a bed next to a window. I turned over and found my bag beside me and a type of rack around the bed so I wouldn't fall. Peering across, I could see the rest of the chairs had turned into beds, and were stacked like bunk beds. I was on the top on my side. I rolled back over and looked out the window, smiling as I finally came to the realization that this was all actually happening.