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Click, Click, Click...

Tap. Tap. Tap tap tap. Tap. Tap tap tap tap tap tap. Fingers pound furiously at the keyboard as the last note of violin slips into oblivion. The room heater hums quietly in the background, suddenly becoming noticeable with the lack of music. A girl glances up from the computer screen and looks at the clock. It is late. The house is silent. The brightness from the day has faded and in its place the light of a street lamp streams through the window. The moon is hidden tonight, covered by the storm clouds waiting ominously. The grandfather clock boldly chimes two times before falling as silent as a mouse.

She rubs her eyes and massages her temples before readjusting her glasses and standing up. She leans over the table to pick up a new book, flipping quickly to the marked chapter. Squinting at the pink highlights, she grabs her cold cup of coffee and takes a sip, wincing a little at the now acrid taste. She opens a new Internet tab and swiftly hits a few keys, searching the topic, hoping for more explanation. As the page loads, she gets out of her chair and carefully glances outside her room. The rooms are dark and quiet breathing can be heard around her. She returns to her flat, hard seat and scans the links for a useful page. After fifteen minutes of reading, she clenches her fist, irritated at the topic’s complexity and her professor’s inability to describe anything clearly. She winces as a familiar, faint twang of an amplified guitar can be heard from the neighbor’s house. He often enjoys waking up the entire neighborhood with his cacophonous screeches.

On his phone’s guitar game, a man strums the tiny instrument aimlessly as he waits at the counter. During the night shift at the local pharmacy, there is little chance that someone would require assistance. He stares at the guitar strings on his screen as he sits, bored out of his mind. The door’s inner bell rings, and he pauses his game, scrunching his eyebrows in slight confusion as someone walks around the aisles of the store. It is a woman, he realizes, and a beautiful one at that. He watches her blond hair swish as she flits through the aisles, picking up her supplies. When she comes up to the counter, she smiles politely, and he smiles back, attempting to scan the items. He is hardly able to tear his eyes away from her clear blue ones. Once she pays and takes the items, she leaves the store, and the man combs his hand through his hair. He looks back down at his phone, hoping he’ll see her again. The store is silent once more.

The woman hurries to her car, wishing that she wasn’t late again. She drives recklessly, cutting through lanes and running a few lights. She is lucky that she isn’t caught. Finally, the bar comes into view and she slides her car into a parking spot, wincing slightly as she hears it screech in protest from the harsh treatment. She dashes out of the vehicle, quickly hitting the locks as she runs towards the bar’s back door. Within a few minutes she finds herself situated behind the counter, smiling her fake, platinum smile as she serves each glass. After an hour of making drinks, she takes a quick break, glancing at her phone. Her cousin had just texted her a picture of the cafe she was currently eating her late breakfast at. The blond woman smiled wearily, happy at her cousin’s excitement to travel abroad, but saddened that she couldn’t experience it too. The woman’s boss yells at her to get back to work, and she wistfully glances at the picture one more time before slipping the silenced phone into her pocket.

At the far away cafe, across from the cousin’s table, two portly men were in a jovial mood, laughing at a funny story as they drank their Irish coffee. For them, it was never too early for some whiskey. The first man glanced up from his drink, and looked around the quaint shop. The counter was crowded with people, all waiting to order their drinks. The tables were filled with people devouring breakfast. The wooden floors and tables gave the cafe a homey feel, and the scent of coffee was mouthwatering. The man looked out the window which unveiled the main shopping plaza, already abuzz with activity of businessmen, shoppers, workers, and store owners alike. Historical buildings and statues were scattered throughout the street, looking imposing, but majestic, marked by the toll of time. The second man suddenly stood up from his table and brought back two newspapers, wordlessly handing one to the other gentleman. The first man nodded in thanks. There was silence between the men as they both perused the headlines. In many countries, the riots for freedom were getting worse. It must be a madhouse over there, the first man mused.

In fact, the country was in chaos. Sheltered from the beating sun, a young couple watched worriedly in their home as the news reported more and more bombings each day, and with the violence, more deaths and injuries. They prayed for an end to the death, and for both their security and the security of all their family. It was nothing more than a false sense of hope, as they had both lost people who they had held very dearly in their lives. They knew there was not much they could do. The woman shivered, watching the images with a grimace. The man glanced at his wife, took her hand and squeezed it, hoping that would console her. She looked at him and smiled, albeit it was strained. They were silent. He pulled her close and together they watched anxiously as the country’s government headed towards collapse. In the distance, bombs and gunshots could be heard.

The civil war had luckily ended a few years back, but the young teenager could still remember the frightening gun sounds from his childhood. He hoped that his siblings would never have to go through the situation he had. As he thought about his past, the teen scurried through the dirty streets, careful to avoid the sewage and trash piled haphazardly on the sides of the lanes. He heard the loud chatter of the town surrounding him. Everyone was trying to sell him a product or plead for some food. However, the noise didn’t permeate the quiet thoughts in his mind. After walking some distance, he finally reached a small shack, and carefully opened the tattered cloth sheet. The man he was looking for was waiting for him. After all, for two months he had been coming to the shop every day without fail, always just before the hottest point in the afternoon.

“Sir, do you possibly have...” the young man began, but his voice faltered as the man shook his head no. The young man nodded, disappointed, and stepped out of the shop before heading towards the next. He continued this for the rest of the day with no luck. Finally, as the sun began to set, he headed towards the nicer part of town, hoping the dark would hide his presence. He dearly wanted to avoid another beating for being in the wrong area. He safely made it to the trash of the town’s one restaurant. Carefully and as hushed as possible, he began to scavenge for food, gathering just enough to feed himself and his hungry siblings waiting at home.

A car zooms past the girl’s house as she continues to work on her college essay. She hasn’t moved, but her coffee cup is now empty. The clicking of her keyboard continues with a rhythm. The room heater shuts off after a few moments. The girl glances at her clock. It is late. The moon can’t be seen out her window, and she is disappointed. She flips another page of her textbook, sighing quietly at the content. The house is silent.



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