Greenwich Unbound

~Nat Forbes~

The girl smiled as she looked down at the application form she was filling out for a library card. The lady behind the big oak desk glanced sternly at her then returned to typing, her skeletal fingers flying over the keyboard. Taking another application from the stack in the corner she walks to the far end of the room and sits at a table by the window. Outside it was bright and hot ,inside was rather warm and stuffy, most of the books had never left the shelves .

Returning her attention to the application form the girl began to fill her name into the blank. Claudia M. Evernsfield, her hand writing was large and decorative. Sighing she looked back at the first form she had began filling out. In the slot for name she had written Khalia Lorenai Delacreu. But that life was gone now. She ran a hand through her long brown hair, and sighed once again twirling a long lock in her fingers then placing it in her mouth. She continued on with the form. It had taken her so long to memorize her knew name(and she still made mistakes ) let alone her address and phone number.

It had taken a while but she was finally done. Stretching ,she picked up her belongings and the form and walked groggily back to the Librarians desk. The frail woman behind the desk was still typing ,the clacking sound was loud in the empty building. Claudia stood for a while debating on whether to clear her throat or tap the little bell on the counter. She knew the woman saw her standing there but as to why she didn't say anything Claudia had no idea. Finally she gave in to impatience and sneezed quite loudly. The sound seemed to echo but the librarian didn't pay any attention to the girl. If anything her insessive typing seemed to quicken and grow louder. Leaning over the counter Claudia tried to get a look at the computer screen around the woman's head. "Just leave it on the counter ." Came the woman's croaking voice as Claudia began to walk away. Pissed Claudia returned to the counter and laid the paper down where the woman had directed .With all intention of telling her off Claudia opened her mouth but was at a loss for words. The woman had left the her chair and was standing clear across the room. A bit spooked Claudia decided it was best that she shut up and leave .

Outside the dusty old building the sky was bright and clear. It took a while for her eyes to adjust but Claudia was just glad to be outside in the somewhat fresh air. Her blue mongoose mountain bike was still chained to the railing of the stairs. The bike rack had been full when she came here earlier. Surprisingly the bikes were still there although she had been the only one inside. Unchaining her bike she mounted and turned towards North High street. It was hot but when she got moving the wind cooled her off. She had moved to a rather nice neighbor hood on the upscale part of town. Her parents were still back in the city trying to close up all the loose ends they'd left behind when they abandoned their old life . She didn't care for them much as it was .They were always gone off to one place or another.

The large peach house with a wrap around porch sat at the top of hill. Flower baskets garnished the verandas of the top floor. The porch was over grown with wild flowers and morning glories hung out over their pots dangling from the ceiling. A lazy three blade fan stirred around the hot air causing the flowers to sway and the hinges to creak noisily. Somewhere up the block a dog barked then quieted down.

Claudia left her bike in the front garden by the fountain and wandered around to the back yard. Hoping the small white picket fence she hiked the deserted ant hill and stumbled through waist deep weeds. She knew the large brown snake would be sunning its self on the rock behind the clothes line, the one legged raven in the mango tree croaked out a welcome and hopped down to stand in her path. Smiling she fished a cracker out of her back pack and tossed it to the toll keeper before climbing the three broken steps to the back door.

On the back porch her parents kept Layla and Mooba their African gray parrots. When the screen banged closed the startled birds let out a squawk then began their senseless chatter. Walking past their cage Claudia entered the house through the kitchen and closed the door behind her. Inside was dark and dust motes floated around the empty living room off to the left. Through the window over the kitchen sink the girl could see the large snake slide off the rock and watched his path marked by the twitching of the tall grass until he slithered out of sight behind the tool shed.

A noise from the foyer startled her ,turning she saw a dark shadow moving across the living room towards her. Terrified but for a moment the girl sighed and glared at the green eyed menace approaching ,toenails clicking on the wood floor.

"Mojo!" she exclaimed lowering a hand for the large dog to sniff. "I didn't know you were back." Sighing she sank to her knees and wrapped her arms around the animals neck and dug her fingers into the thick scruff of his neck as he licked her face.

Two hours later the phone rang, a loud echo in the almost empty house. The rest of the furniture was still on the way but Claudia's room was fully intact ,only a box containing her collection of stuffed animals were missing.

The phone was in the foyer by the front door. Racing down stairs two at a time she picked up on the sixth ring .Out of breath she panted out a rather weak "hello?" a piercing tone issued from the phone then the line went dead, not even the sound of static accompanied the tone. Pissed, Claudia slammed the phone back on the hook and started back up the stairs. Mojo stood on the landing above her, his large head drooping .As she passed Claudia scratched his neck ruff playfully. He followed her back to her brightly lit room and flopped down on the circular rug in the middle of the floor.

The room was quite large. The bay window was piled high with pillows and small stuffed animals a little blue journal with a silver dragon embossed on the cover sat amongst the bears. Settling herself down Claudia began to write once more ,her large handwriting filling up the small pages.