9 years later, July.
The clock read: 14:59.
One minute to go and Annushka Volkov would be free from this hellhole known as school. She glanced across the room to see Janice laughing and flirting with all the other boys. She really didn’t like Janice because all she ever seemed to want was attention.
The bell rang; a blissful sound to her ears. She grabbed her bag and walked out of the classroom along with her childhood friend, Laura. They soon reached the school gates and were swiftly walking back to the foster house.
“I am so glad we’ve finished!” Laura said, letting out a sigh of relief.
“Yup, there’s no more Janice and her little ‘crew’”, Annushka replied.
Laura laughed in return, “Come on, we need to get back.”
They passed the newsagents with TVs showing a news report involving some sort of catastrophe. Stood outside it were Janice and three other girls. Janice glared at Laura, which earned her a middle finger by Anna.
"What the hell was that?" Janice practically screeched.
"What you get for being a b****" Anna answered calmly.
Janice advanced towards her and pressed a finger to Anna's chest, "Don't you ever think you can talk to me like that" she spat.
"I just did. See you after the holidays Janice." Anna said walking off dismissively.
"Why what you gonna do? Get your dad to come and shoot me because he's really good at that?"
Anna spun round to face Janice, "I’m not going to do anything. You’re not worth the effort. Oh, and don't talk about my father, you don't know him."
"Well I do know that he's dea-", a hard blow to the left cheek cut off Janice. She clutched her face.
Annushka remembered how her father had compromised her and her mother's safety on a failed mission. Images began to flash in her mind of her mother and father and a tall dark figure that she’d seen on the night of her parent’s deaths.
She shook it off and turned to face Janice, "Why can't you just leave me alone?” and walked off with Laura behind her.
Anna expected Janice to follow after them and pay her back. Instead she had just gone back to talking with the other two girls as though nothing had happened. It was particularly strange for Janice but maybe she now knew better than to mess with Anna.
Laura could see that Anna was clearly upset and on the edge of tears."Hey, ignore them. They're just jealous that you have an amazing best friend.” Laura gestured to herself. "Lets get back and see what's on TV and maybe we'll be having dinner early as it's now the holidays."
"Ok, thanks.” Anna began to frown, “Her cheek was really hard!” She held her hand out and showed it to Laura-it had started to go purple.
“Jeez, you should get some ice on that.”
“Yeh, I will do. Right after pizza!”
They both laughed and carried on back to their home.
10 minutes later.
The girls finally arrived at their foster home. They let their selves in and walked up to their separate rooms. It was oddly quiet but nevertheless, Anna slumped straight onto her bed and switched on the TV, seeing it as a blessing that there was nobody else there. She flicked through a few channels until she got to MTV. Her and Laura's favorite show, Faking it, was on!
“Laura! Its on quick!”, Anna shouted, followed by heavy footsteps and crashes as Laura ‘elegantly’ entered the room with two Pot Noodles in hand.
She too sat on the bed and they watched the TV while eating and talking about school and how they would not miss it at all.
“I will miss Mr Chambers though!” Anna joked. “If you all just be quiet then” she mimicked their form tutors drowning voice.
“Oh my god that’s scary! You sound just like him!” Laura laughed.
“I wonder if Sam’s got my message.”
Sam was a close friend to Anna-he was like a brother. They had known eachother since nursery and he was one of the first friends Anna had made before the death of her parents. He had supported her through it all and she even had her own room at his house as she practically moved there before she was allowed into the foster home. His parents treated her as their own and made her feel like she still had a family.
“Why, what did you send him?”
“I just asked if he wanted to come over here tonight to watch a movie with us. He normally answers straight away.”
“Maybe he’s put his phone down for once.”
“Haha, like he’d do that. I don’t think it actually sent.” Anna furrowed her eyebrows, “I’ve got no service! What the hell?”
“You’ve got to be kidding me. I was going to call Mrs Chenkov to see where she and the others were.”
“Oh well, at least we’ve got the TV.”
It got to 7pm and they both realized that they’d not been called down for tea. Perhaps they’d just not heard Mrs Chenkov arrive with the others.
“I’ll go down and check if they’re back”, Laura said, disappearing into the dark hallway.
It was slightly strange that there had been no sound or movement from anyone else in the house apart from Anna and Laura-unless everyone had suddenly turned into ninjas which was highly unlikely.
They better not have gone out for pizza again and forgot to tell me, Anna thought to herself. The last time they did that they didn’t arrive back until 11pm and Anna and Laura had been left starving.
She glanced over to her bedside table. There stood an old wooden framed picture with a picture in it of her and her parents. It made her feel sad that they were gone, but happy that they had loved her and protected her to the very end. It still confused her, to this day, why she was not allowed to see her mother. Maybe her corpse was deemed too traumatic for a young child to see. There was also that strange tall figure that constantly loomed in the back of Anna’s mind. He was the one who had supposedly killed her parents but she knew nothing more.
Every time she had asked who the man was the replies were all the same.
“Don’t worry they’re gone now.”
It was infuriating. He was someone to worry about even if he was supposedly dead. She deserved to know who had killed her parents but apparently it was too dangerous to know. She only wanted a name and she would look no further but they kept telling her she would get herself in to trouble if she didn’t stop asking. So she stopped asking and eventually managed to put it to the back of her mind.
The TV interrupted her thoughts.
“We interrupt this broadcast for an announcement from the president of Russia.”
Laura appeared at the door, “There’s no sign of anyone.”
Anna stared at the TV, “Look!” and they both listened in closely.
“Russia is under a large threat,” said the president, “Do not panic we are trying to control the situation but it seems that we are being invaded from the east side of Moscow by…Robots. “His face showed utter confusion, as did the two girls. “The military are being deployed down as many streets as possible to pick up survivors.”
Survivors, Anna thought. How long had this being going on for? Is that why Mrs Chenkov and the others weren’t back and why Sam hadn’t replied?
“If you are watching this, if anyone is, get to one of the military vehicles marked with a luminous yellow star and get out of Russia.”
The TV cut off.