"Hey, are you ok?"
Leonora turned away from the grimy window and the half smoked cigarette to look in to the concerned eyes of a blonde male. He looked very different in this light, but his self confident and nearly cocky attitude proved that this was the man that had subtly seduced her in to spending the night with him. Despite what the male thought, it wasn't a great feat bedding her. She was drunk, it had been a bad day and he simply played on her moment of weakness.
They rolled about for hours, on the small table, in the shower, on the bed, even on the floor at some point. Although in the end, the best parts were when they just lay there together in the darkness, connecting through the silence.
Maybe that was why she stayed when every other time she left before the sun came up.
"You know what they called people that lived on the streets?" Leonora asked, her voice growing distant as she shifted her gaze back to the window.
"They called them Alley Cats; Filthy, flea ridden, felines that skulk around in the darkness and ruin people's lives. They said that we were the 'pests' of society"
"Pests? Yeah I think I have heard that term. I used it myself a couple of times myself. What brought this up?"
The brunette pulled another cigarette from the box that the male had so absent mindedly left behind and held it lightly between her lips. In one swift movement she reached in to her pocket and withdrew a black lighter before flicking it on and lighting up the tobacco at its tip. A moment later she was leaning back and breathing in the smoke as if it were precious oxygen.
"I was one of them, but I wasn't always though"
"Oh? I know that your parents died and you lost the house, that's what the news said anyway. But the media say a lot of things. What really happened?"
Leonora thought about this for a few long moments, weighing up possibilities in her mind. Eventually though, after a few long moments of careful contemplating, she adjusted her position so she was facing him as he sat on the edge of the bed.
"You really want to know? Alright then, listen up because I am not saying this twice"
"Any one that looked at my child hood home would see white picket fences, carefully manicured lawns, and a flower pot by the door. And anyone that saw it would guess that this was the house of the perfect family. They wouldn't be wrong either. My mother was a well paid university teacher who also taught martial arts on the side. My father on the other hand was the head of a shipping company, one that delivered goods to all over the world, which meant that he was highly paid as well. They both were happily married, good health, great sex life. It would only make sense that they would have a perfect daughter too. Well…that's was what was supposed to happen"
"Supposed to? I take it that, that didn't really go according to plan"
"Exactly" replied Leonora after taking another deep breath from her 'fix' "But they didn't realise it till I was thirteen, back when I was in grade eight. My grades were slipping subtly, and I wasn't growing up to be the best looking child. My parents just thought these were things that could be corrected. What they couldn't correct easily was the temper and attitude that I had developed…and that was when things started getting out of….."
"Whoa! Hang on. Surely they would have known about how normal teenagers act" the blonde headed male named Alex interjected with a frown. "They must have known that it was a phase, surely"
"Oh they did know" Leonora agreed "They thought it would just be a short brush and would pass, which is why whenever we fought, they would send me to my room and lock the door till I had calmed down. What they didn't know was that locking away the problem was not the way to go. One day at school some of the boys from one of my classes were making fun of me. I barely remember what happened but I got in to a fight. There was only cuts and bruises but it was enough to have me sent to the principals' office. It was after a month of these visits that my parents made the 'room'.
What my parents thought was that they needed a harsher punishment to sort of 'shock' me out of this phase. So they cleared out the room next the bathroom and painted a dull grey. It had one covered up window, a desk with a small lamp, an old wooden chair, a bed and a wooden crate. Whenever I slipped up at school and got in to a fight I would go to that room, take off my shirt, and they would whip me till I swore never to do it again. And then after that, it escalated to more lashes and for lesser offences.
Can you imagine though, they were supposed to be the perfect couple who had the misfortune of giving birth to a less than perfect child. It continued for two years before that day"
A sudden clap of thunder cut her story short, and the flash that lit up the sky straight after, kept her words a little longer. Both male and female remained silent, just staring out the window, gazing at the storm that danced across the sky. It wasn't until the rain had started hammering down against the window, did someone finally speak.
"Leo…I…I don't know what to say. I'm starting to think that your parents' getting killed was not a bad thing. Lashing you like that…is that why you wanted the lights off when we…?"
The only reply he got was a short nod and an averted gaze. As soon as she had finished crushing the butt against the window sill, Leonora continued the story.
"I was fifteen when it happened. It was a Saturday and my mum and dad were taking me on a picnic. They had thought that my behaviour had improved and were rewarding me with a trip to the park. We were half way there, driving through the intersection when a log truck of all things went straight through the red light. I can remember the impact. It hit the front of the car which caused it to spin uncontrollably until it came to a halt beside a second hand clothing store. I got out of the car and walked to the front to see if my parents were ok…but the front of the car was smashed right in, completely crumpled.
My mother and father weren't even recognisable any more. They were gone. I don't remember much more of that day, but I remember people asking me a lot of questions. Later I found out they were trying to psychoanalyse me.
As it turns out my parents weren't ready to die yet. They had made no will, no final arrangements, they had not even organised a guardian for me. In the end all that was left to me was the house"
"Hold up" Alex interrupted her once more "All they left you is the house? Surely the money would go to you as well?"
This prompted a small smile to pull at her lips and she slowly moved off the window sill to sit down on the bed beside him, her fingers absent mindedly brushing over the cigarette lighter in her hand.
"You would think that wouldn't you. But something in that psychoanalysis told them that I wasn't to be trusted with that amount of money, so all of it went to my parent's friends, businesses and certain charities that they supported. I got the house because throwing a child out on the street can look bad"
"Ah, I see. Well don't let me keep you. Please, continue"
"Leaving me with the house but not the money was not a good idea, not that they cared. For a while I was okay. There was enough food in the fridge and the pantry to last me a while and student services helped me pay for more when I ran out, but food wasn't my only issue. First the power went out, then the water, and as much as I tried to keep up, I lost the house too. The council came, gave me three days to pack what I need and leave. The funny thing was, even though they took away my house nearly three months after the accident took place, I lost my home the day my parents died"
"And yes" Leonora said before Alex could speak "That is how I became one of these pests of society"
to be continued.....
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