Friday 18 February 2022

The Girl

 by Lynn Clement

latte with a twist

You’re quiet today. Headphones on. Coat done up. The blue one with big red buttons. Just long enough to cover your knees. Black tights and ankle boots. It’s a good look.

The bus is late. The seventy-two always is. You look at your watch and check the timetable pasted to the wall of the shelter.

A grubby teenager is in there and he stares right at your legs. Not your face. He’s wearing a black mask. One of those with a huge sardonic grin painted on it. Black hood up, only his eyes visible.

You move back outside the shelter. You remove your flowery mask from your handbag and cover your red painted mouth.

The bus arrives and you both get on it. Your long legs disappear up the stairs. The teenager watches you.

It’s five stops to where you are going. Tuesday is town centre day.

Ten minutes pass. The leafy countryside gives way to red brick buildings. It looks very different in the light to when you’ll be travelling home in the dark.

A bell rings and your black boots descend from the top deck, followed by your slim legs.

The teenager stands up.

Another three people get on the bus at your stop.

You pull the headphones from round your neck and put them over your ears. A faint pump of music is heard and then stops. You glide towards the coffee shop. The one in the High Street with the window painted with purple grapes. You’ve been there several times.

The grimy teenager ambles beside you. You don’t even give him a sideways glance. His hand reaches into his joggers.

You walk. Totally oblivious.

The teenager stops abruptly in front of you.

You jerk to a halt.

He pulls something out of his pocket.

‘Hey,’ he says into his mobile.

You sidestep him. The coffee shop is in sight.

You take the headphones blocking anyone and anything else out and hang them round your neck. Your slender white neck.

The café doorbell pings as you open it.

Inside, your friend looks up from her book and smiles at you.

You hold the door open for the next customer.

‘Thank you,’ I say.

I sit at the next table and bide my time. Tonight, is the night. I’ve been planning it for a while.

You order your latte with a caramel shot, just like you always do.

About the author

Lynn is a regular writer for Cafelit. Lynn has her first flash fiction collection, ‘The City of Stories,' published by Chapeltown Books.

Lynn is a member of Basingstoke group, Writers inc. 

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