Wednesday, December 14, 2016

#4 - Red

The only sound in the room was that faint scratchy sound of a pencil drawing. Except it was colored pencils on Ridley’s bedroom wall. Ridley slept on a mattress on the floor, and on the wall above her mattress was a pretty large window. She sat on her knees in front of the window. She was drawing dainty little vines and leaves that swirled around her window frame, all in shades of red and blue crayola. Her tongue was slightly out of her mouth in her concentration, then she let out a sigh after adding the finishing touch for today. The window project was one Ridley had been working out in her head for a while now, and she added onto it some each day.
She let herself collapse back on her mattress, and let out a puff of air to move her bangs from in front of her eyes. She turned over and read the invitation again.

"Hello. We are excited that you are coming to dinner with us. Hopefully, you will make it through the night. This is a black tie affair, please dress accordingly. Take care to prepare  your character roles.  Your life may depend on it.

       Time: 8:18
       Place: 7th Floor storage room"

Ridley was supposed to be the butler. She was already in an old white button-up shirt of her dad’s. She had tried to shrink it in the dryer, and that worked some, but it was still far too big, and hung off of her small frame, giving her kind of a pirate look. She slipped into her one pair of black dress pants and looked down at her legs. She sighed, then wiggled her toes. The pants came down to just above her ankles- she’d grown out of them. In the end she decided to roll them up just a little so there were cuffs on the ends of the legs and the length looked intentional. Now came the part of her costume that Ridley had been looking forward to.
She tiptoed into her dad’s bathroom and carefully opened the top left drawer- the one of mom’s old things- and pulled out a brown eyeliner pencil. Leaning over the counter slightly, to get a closer look in the dingy mirror, she penciled on a nice curly mustache using the eyeliner. She then put the pencil back exactly as it was when she found it (mom’s old drawer was the only thing in the apartment that Ridley’s dad kept neat, beyond neat, obsessively in the same orderly condition it had been in for years), and tiptoed back to her own room.

Ridley’s black mary-janes hurt her feet a little as she made her way to the 7th floor storage room. When she walked in the storage room, she saw that it had been cleaned out thoroughly since last time she was here, and was now a glistening and classy dining room. She wasn’t too surprised though. This room was always changing. She was one of the first ones here, so the room was quiet and mostly empty. In the corner she noticed a shiny service cart and tailcoat that were meant for her. She slipped on the coat and along with it her solemn face of the evening.

It was probably around nine. Ridley was getting tired; she’d woken up early that morning. The dinner guests were awkward yet amiable and Ridley had enjoyed taking it all in from the sidelines. She stood with her hands behind her back and noticed people’s nervous ticks and sideways glances.
All at once, the red colored pencil she had been fidgeting with all evening fell out of her hands and onto the ground. Just as she gasped and dropped to her knees hurriedly to retrieve it, the lights went out.
Ridley fumbled around and finally got a grip on the red pencil at the same moment that the lights came back on. Her heart skipped a beat. Ridleys hand, with the red colored pencil clutched in it, was not two inches away from a puddle of blood on the floor.

Monday, October 10, 2016

#2-#3 - and a Box of Crayola Colored Pencils

Ridley sat in the Bar contemplating the events of last week. She was allowed in the Bar, but just not allowed to sit at the actual BAR part of the establishment. She was here on business. An invitation to an environmental forum was sent to her apartment, and Ridley was the most competent representative in the household. Upon opening the invitation, it seemed of great importance, but now that she was here, the only thing keeping her from dozing off was remembering the events of last Thursday…

The minute Ridley saw the Ringmaster’s eyes, she determined that the circus was a magic one. In her head she referred to it as “the Magic Circus,” Young as she was, Ridley knew deep down that magic wasn’t real, but at 9 years old, she still needed magic enough to be able to find traces of it in real life.
That morning she had woken up early and headed off to the grocery store, a tiny crocheted bag full of change jingling in her pockets. One of her main sources of income was collecting spare change she found and saving it up until she had enough to take to the CoinStar at the grocery store and exchange it for cash. The little girl’s yellow raincoat stood out, bobbing down Applewood Lane in the gloom. The rain had subsided in Winthrop, but Ridley was still feeling cautious about trusting the weather.
      The automatic doors slid open for Ridley and she stepped into the store. The kid walked with such conviction that sometimes it seemed normal that she was unaccompanied in a grocery store. Ridley was born and raised in this town, and for years now she’d been doing her own thing. Most of the longtime residents were used to seeing her out alone by now, but a lot of people were moving in this year, and the strange glances cast Ridley’s way moved to town with them, but the girl paid no attention to that.
Today, she moved swiftly and purposefully. First, she hit the CoinStar, and exchanged the machine voucher for her $13.37 in cash at the Customer Service counter. Then she got what she needed and was gone, with exactly enough money leftover to buy her circus ticket, and a box of Crayola colored pencils.
Ridley bought her ticket on her way back to the Winthrop Place apartments.
Unintentionally, the crowd kind of split around her, so it was just Ridley looking up at the Ringmaster with a look that could only be described as defiant. This was one little girl who would not be intimidated by any strangers in town.
“One ticket, please”

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

#1- (Appt. 505)

The day started with a whisper.
In the ten minute interim between the snooze button and the second alarm, Ridley Aberdeen laid in bed listening. And a whisper in her ear told her to do it. The whisper must have snuck into the apartment between the sounds of the rain and thunder. She made a mental note to step up the sound security.
Ridley stretched an exaggerated, 5:45 AM kind of stretch. But she quickly prompted herself to stay alert, for after this week’s visit to the library, Rudyard Kipling had turned her into a man-cub, and transformed her apartment into the fierce jungle. But alas, the sleep cleared from her eyes and she was in real life, under her sheets, on her mattress on the floor of her bedroom.
First thing in the morning, she looked just a little bit too weary from her nine years of living. Sprawled out on a shabby old mattress, all pale and scrawny limbs, her choppy, black bangs stuck to her forehead with sweat. She admired the little white stains under the arms of her grey wife-beater tank top with curiosity- she’d just recently reached the age where she had to start wearing deodorant.
After a brief moment of hesitation, and a quick sigh to help her gain her composure, she willed herself off of the floor and over to the window. Ridey rubbed her eyes and searched the sky for animals in the clouds. But this morning the clouds were black and jagged looking, not the kind for cloud animals- cloud monsters, maybe. That thought gave her a kind of funny feeling, but oh well, she should probably start getting ready.
So she scrambled into the bathroom. The shower beckoned to her, but the shower running seemed much too similar to the rain, and Ridley couldn’t have any more whispers sneaking in. She decided that she could go without a shower this morning. Thoughts of the shower and the whisper made her little hands the tiniest but shaky, but Ridley wasn’t the type of girl to let such lapses in character last for long. In a very adult manner, she leaned over the sink and splashed cold water on her face- a habit she unknowingly picked up from seeing it in movies.