“I’m sorry, miss, but we just hired new staff a few days ago. Why don’t you keep looking down the block? I am sure there are plenty of job openings there,” a manager reassured me before ushering me out of the full diner.
“But wait, I—”
My protests were cut off as the manager closed the door in my face. Now on the sidewalk, I was pushed and shoved against the wall by the crowd. I huffed as I glared at the door, sticking my tongue out immaturely.
Job openings down the block? I already tried that!
Sighing in defeat, I joined the crowd streaming down the block.
I looked up at the tall buildings, blocking out the curses and honks from taxi drivers. I had to admit, parts of the city were gorgeous, especially at night.
I shook my head at my thoughts. Now was not the time to admire the scenery.
I gasped as someone ran into me. They muttered a “sorry” before passing me.
I winced and rubbed my right side, still sensitive from my injury from a few weeks ago. Though I still bandaged it, it was basically healed.
Not in the mood to get jostled by people any longer, I moved to the side, in between two buildings. I eyed the alley cautiously.
Just being in this environment triggered something in my mind. My heart began to hammer in my chest as memories flashed in my head.
Knowing the early signs of a panic attack, I quickly knelt down on the concrete so I wouldn’t fall. I knew nothing could prevent it and could only let those dreadful memories pass, leaving me frozen in terror.
I could hear all the noises from that day. My ears rang. I gritted my teeth from the pain.
I heard the guns go off as I ran down the street. I blended in with the rest of the crowd. The screams and pleas never seemed to end as I kept running, my hood secured as the men raced after me.
I heard gunshots again and a sharp pain came from my side.
I felt my breathing become shallow and I tried to take deep breaths, closing my eyes tightly and thinking of something, anything else.
The flashes slowly stopped as my heart slowed to its regular pace.
I slowly opened my eyes as the sounds of the city returned to my ears. I looked at the people one more time before staring down the alley again.
“It’s okay, Rosaline. The people here are safe. You’re in a different city now. No one’s going to hurt you,” I whispered to myself, trying to stop my trembling.
With shaking fingers, I touched my right side, caressing the bandage.
Even though the stitches had finally dissolved, it sometimes felt like a fresh wound. It was sensitive at times, but I was beyond grateful that it was only a graze.
If the bullet had gotten any farther, it could have hit a major organ.
“It’s over. They aren’t here,” I murmured to myself, clenching my eyes shut.
Once I regained some control, I looked at my watch. It was four o’clock. I sighed tiredly. I’d been standing here in the cold for almost two hours, trying to calm down from my anxiety attack.
I calculated that the sun would go down in almost an hour. I shook my head at my foolishness. I needed to get home.
Looking around, I gulped as I realized I had no idea where I was. I tried to look for a street sign, hoping to get a hint at my exact location.
Giving up, I tried to ask for people’s help. I took a few deep breaths before going to a crowd of people coming my way.
“Watch where you’re going!” A man snapped before stomping away. I stumbled back to the wall as I rubbed my arm, soothing the pain. I began to tremble in fear and nervousness.
How do I get back?
I sniffled as I played with the ends of my hair, trying to calm myself down. My mother used to do this whenever I was upset and it stayed with me.
I didn’t care about the looks I got when I did it. It was the child in me expressing herself.
Slowly coming out of my hiding spot, I began to hobble down the sidewalk. As I continued to walk, fewer people surrounded me.
When I made it to the end of the block, I was alone. I gulped as I looked at the sky. It was getting dark.
As I calmed down, I decided to go inside somewhere and ask for directions. I opened the door to the building in front of me and dashed inside.
The door slammed shut, and I froze. My wide eyes scoured the room I was in and I felt my face pale.
Inside the building was a large bar. The bar had a modern take—marble, covered with glasses and colored bottles. The lights softly illuminated the room, barely entering the dark space. Wooden tables and chairs were set throughout the room in front of a stage with three poles on the platform.
“Hey! We’re still closed!” a deep voice barked.
I squealed as I spun around to face a chest. Gulping, I looked up to see a scowling man looking down at me.
He was a giant compared to my five-foot-six. His large muscles stretched against his white plain T-shirt and jeans. His dark hair was styled into a faux hawk, and his blue eyes examined me.
I quivered in fear as I tried to find my voice.
I just hope he lets me talk first before he squishes me like a grape.
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