The lights flickered above me. The night was getting late and so was the train. Nobody was loitering around the platform anymore except for me and a homeless man on the far side of the station. My eyes were fixated on the floor, but my mind was racing with the thoughts of my father’s temper.
“Aren’t you too young to be having a world crisis?”
My head whipped to the side, where a girl sat. Her eyes were trained on me like a hawk as she studied me. I hadn’t noticed her before.
“I’m not having a world crisis,” I mumbled. My eyes narrowed as I gazed at her questioningly. The girl had short blonde hair and she wore nothing but black, blending into the dark of the night. I thought maybe that was why I didn’t notice her before. Despite that fact, she still looked familiar, but more like a face I’d seen on papers rather than a face I’d actually met. I asked, “Do I know you?”
She bit her lips, contemplating her words. “Maybe,” she said and a smile cut across her face.
The answer was vague and it let out nothing. It gave me the complete opposite of what I wanted as it drew confusion into me. I didn’t question it anymore, though, as I glanced away. I’d left my father’s important bussiness dinner earlier that night without his consent and he was probably fuming at home while waiting for me. That was a bigger problem compared to this girl who had bright red headphones slung around her neck and was acting strangely.
The sound of rustling papers and soft winds filled the night as seconds ticked by. My fingers wouldn’t stop fiddling with the button of my coat while I waited for the train to come. There was nothing to observe and nothing to listen to. At least, not until the girl stood up from where she sat and walked closer to the edge of the platform. Then, she proceeded to sit down with her legs dangling off of it. All the while she was closing in on death, she didn’t look the least bit worried or terrified.
Standing up, I rushed to her. The sound of my boots thudding against the platform made me nervous, and so was my thumping heart. It was as if I couldn’t get to her any faster as I was worried for when the train would come. For the first time that night, I hoped it didn’t.
“Hey!” I called to her. My eyes strained into the dark tunnel for oncoming train, but there was none. Still, I couldn’t be too sure. The girl raised her body with her palms and my eyes widened. She was perched to jump onto the tracks, ready to be electrocuted by it and I wasn’t getting to her fast enough. “No, get back!”
I grabbed a fistful of her black sweater while my arms wrapped themselves around her waist. I pulled her back and away from the edge of the platform, collapsing onto my back with a huff. Sweat trickled down my forehead and I was breathing hard, out of fear and panic. The girl, on the other hand, was staring at the dark ceiling of the train station while lying on my chest. She was completely still.
At first, I was afraid that she’d somehow died before I had the chance to save her, but when her chest rose as she took a breath, I grunted and pushed her aside. She rolled over, laid on the floor and continued to stare at the ceiling for the next ten minutes.
“You scared me.” I didn’t know what else to say and I didn’t think leaving her would be a good idea.
From where she laid, the girl laughed. “That’s what you get for being nice.”
I frowned. With her tangled hair and soft smile, she looked awfully relaxed for someone who’d tried to jump off the platform mere minutes earlier. The girl should be looking unerved as much as my insides were, but she wasn’t and I had a thought that maybe the stunt she pulled was just for the fun of it.
“What do you mean?”
She sat up and pointed a finger on me. Her index finger travelled from my chest to my nose. She pushed my glasses further up onto the bridge of my nose and smiled. Then, it drifted to my hair, where she tickled a few strands before dropping her hand back down onto her lap.
“You’re Owen Scott. Everybody knows you.” I hated the way she emphasised my name like Owen Scott, rather than Owen Scott. “They know you for your kindness, for being the heir to your father’s company and sadly, for the bruises your old man gives you.” Her finger came back up onto my face and she tilted my chin slightly to the left. I winced as pain struck me when she pressed on the new bruise.
“I got into a fight at school,” I insisted, averting my eyes from hers. It wasn’t true and she obviously knew better, but that didn’t stop me from lying.
She patted my cheek and smiled. “Next time, do something out of need and not just obligations or kindness,” she paused. “You’re too nice, Scott.”
I raised an eyebrow at her. Her lips were pressed into a straight line and she looked determine with the piece of advice she’d given out as she stared unblinkingly at me. I stared back.
Did you ever look at someone and wondered, what had they done to get to where they were then? This strange girl, with her seemingly random comments and advice, made me question countless of things and that was one of them. Whatever questions played on my mind went unanswered, though as she was like a treasure box with only the keyhole in plain sight and not the key to unlock it.
The sound of tires screeching broke my attention and I glanced up from her just in time to see the train arriving. With my eyes glued to the silver body of the transport, I stood up and rushed to it. In the last few seconds as I was advancing towards the train, a piece of paper smacked into my face. I halted and cussed with surprise. The paper crumpled as I gripped it away from my face. It was an article from a newspaper. Walking to the nearest bin, I was about to discard the paper when a familiar face on it seized my movements.
Ophelia Magnus. It said under the photograph. Is believed to have died a painful death when she was found lifeless at the underground train station in Hampsire, London. This was Hampshire’s train station. She was beaten to death with a tire rim which was found next to her when her body was discovered. Her father, William Magnus denied that the death of his daughter had any connection to his recent unsuccessful partnership with Marcs & Co.
I leaned back against the nearby wall and read the printed words repeatedly. Realization hit me when I recalled the same sweet face from numerous other articles to just minutes ago, when I’d last seen it. I spun around, eyes searching the area and when they landed on the girl, my breathing stopped.
The girl with bright red headphones around her neck was Ophelia Magnus. We’d never met, but she was famous enough in the bussiness world with a father like William. That was the first time I met her and she was already dead.
She pointed a finger at the article. “He’d rather lie to protect his own image than let his daughter rest in peace,” she told me, then crossed her arms over her chest. Her face was solemn, jaw clenched and eyes glaring at nothing in particular. “The one who wins the war gets to tell the story, I guess.”
It was hard for me to look at her for long. Ophelia had been living the same life as I was and she’d been found dead. How long would it be until it was me in the news, pronounced dead?
“I wasted most of my life resenting my father than actually doing anything about him. I don’t want anyone else to be like I’d been,” she paused. “Especially you, Scott. We both know what your father is capable of.”
“There’s nothing I can do,” I protested.
“Do you feel that?” she questioned from where she stood.
Confused, I asked, “What?”
Ophelia marched towards me and tugged me down roughly by my collar. “That urge to run.” I didn’t reply, but my silence was enough for her. “Then, go. There’s nothing good for you if you stay here.”
“He’ll find me,” I reasoned.
“Then, don’t let yourself be found,” she laughed, like it was the most brilliant idea she’d ever suggested and maybe it was.
Story by: Yasmin
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