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Hardship

I held a box of steaming buttered popcorn in my lap. It was the largest size you could find at a movie theater and I could just walk in every night to get two or three of them. The reason was that my father owned the theater, and we lived on the secret top floor. Almost every weekend I’d invite my two best friends, Wanda and Jenna, to sleep over and watch a few movies and eat so much popcorn that we’d be sick. Lately it hadn’t been happening. Wanda had been set to have every last hour of summer in her acting camp and Jenna was forced in to summer school for all of her absences. All my other semi-friends were either tanning in Hawaii, surfing in California, or laying back in a sun chair in Tahiti. My summer was looking like Jean Kelly classics and the sound of my annoying older sister, Lissa, singing. This summer was going to be the worst yet. I have a feeling it will be like ice skating without ice, and eating but with no sandwich to chew off of.

Chapter 1

Amongst the hustle and bustle of people and crows in the theater, something stirred. Leaning on a column was a tall man with a black suite and hat that covered his beady, cold, eyes. He had both of his skinny, bony, hands in his front pockets, and you could see him snicker as people paced by. I remembered seeing him last week, lingering near the front doors. He seemed to be looking for something, or someone.

His eyes wandered the lobby, and then shifted to meet mine. I pretended to be looking the other direction, and kept mopping the tile floors that trailed the theater. My parents probably wouldn’t be back from interviewing for at least twenty minutes, so I thought to put down my mop and find out what this man was up to. It urged me like when in my car, wanting to slide the window up and down a million times. But the moment I rolled down the window the air was dry. After putting away my mop and slipping on my ‘sushi lover’ shirt over my theater Thomas company shirt, the mysterious man was gone.
I sighed deeply and then put my long wavy brown hair into a pony tail. While I was dressed in my regular clothes I looked around for my friends. There were usually four or five around the arcade. I saw a few people coming out of a new movie called “The last murder” a new action film. If you asked me, who had seen it seven times in one day, it was more like a snore-along. The killer finds himself a good person in the end and becomes a teacher. It didn’t even deserve to be called a movie!

“Hey Yuki!” I greet behind my friend Yuki’s back. It seemed like she didn’t hear me so I ran up in front of her. “Hey, how was the movie Yuki!” I exclaim. Yuki face suddenly brightened as I popped up in front of her.
“Hi Beth, how is your sister Lissa?” Questioned Yuki.
“Oh, Lissa? Heh, well she is… okay…” I reply. “Well she still can’t hit that high note!” I giggle. Yuki raised an eyebrow at me.
“Oh really? Hmm, well tell me if she ever does.” Yuki chuckles as she looks back to her friends. Yuki was competing in the summer sounds singing competition as well as my sister, so they weren’t exactly friends.
“Yea I don’t think ill be talking to you again then.” I laugh. Suddenly I noticed I was laughing alone. I could see Yuki and her little friends skipping out the door. I rolled my eyes, and then peered over to the arcade. The same creepy man sat on a bench there, and planted his feet on the tile. He wasn’t leaving till he got what he wanted.

As casually as I could, I walked over to the arcade, taking out a few quarters from my back pocket. I walked by the man slowly, taking a long look at him before I entered the glowing room. He looked at me with the corner of his eye. To observe more, I started examining the pamphlets that were perched on a wall. I inched closer, trying to hear what he muttered.

“Hmm, smart kid… only if she knew what game she was getting into.”
He muttered ever so quietly under his heavy breath. I looked at him, now eye to eye. He slowly opened his lips and made out one, simple, word.

“Hello.”





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