Alice doesn't live here anymore

Sam got a letter from his friend Alice, but when he gets to the village where she lives, Alice is nowhere to be found. (No link between me and the character Sam)

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1. Alice doesn't live here anymore

Alice doesn't live here anymore

16th June 2015

'Dear Sam,
        I haven't seen you in absolutely ages. You should come and visit.  I know i could have text or rung you but I know how mush you enjoy getting ketters.  That and I broke my phone (again) and I can't afford another one.  I hope you can come, it'll be amazing. We haven't seen each other for ages.  Not since the end of Sixth Form. I hope you're enjoying Uni; I am.  I still live in the tiny village of Huddlesworth, where everyone knows everyone. Anyway, I hope to see you soon.
Your dear friend
Alice x'

He had read the letter and replied immediatly.  And that is how, three weeks later , Sam Robinson had found himself in Huddlseworth.  He hesitated at the door of Alice's house, unsure of what to do.  A few seconds later he did.

The door opened to show a lady in her mid-50s, with greying hair.  Smiling, she said: "Hello, how may I help you?"

Sam pulled himself up straight and answered, "I'm looking for Alice Jones."

"I'm afraid Alice doesn't live here anymore," the woman stated closing up; she no longer seemed refreshingly friendly.

"Oh," Sam replied, shocked. "Do you think you could tell me where she is?"

The lady slammed the door. "No!" she declared, seconds before.

Frowning, Sam turned around and walked back down the drive. He walked to the main village, contemplating where Alice could be.

Near the edge of the main village, Sam spotted the local pub.  He walked in, after considering it for a few minutes, and found himself in an animated animated atmosphere; The musty smell that comes with every village pub surrounding him. Suddenly, Sam discovered himself in front of the barmaid, who was looking decidedly unimpressed at having to work.

"What can I get you ?" The barmaid asked.

"Oh, hi." Sam replied, "I'm looking for Alice Jones, do you know where she is?"

Before the barmaid could answer, the guy next to Sam spun around as quick as a ninja throwing knives (or about as fast as a drunkard can). "I know who you mean. Lovely girl" he leered "I haven't seen her lately," the man continued, seemingly sorrowful.  But Sam didn't miss the look in the sleazy man's eye.  Carrying on the drunkard said, "Oh well, I have Clara here instead."

The look of decidedly unimpressed on the barmaid, Clara's, face quickly changed to pure disgust.  It flickered back to unimpressed before the inebriate noticed. 

"Anyway," Clara stated, changing the subject; "I'm afraid Alice doesn't live here anymore." Sam didn't fail to see her sorrow when she said this.  He also didn't miss the look that told him there wasn't anything he could do.

Sam smiled apologetically; "Thank you," he said , turning around and walking out of the small pub. The rest of the journey to the village was over in a few seconds. Reaching the parade of shops opposite the green, Sam noticed a quaint, quiet little café.  Thinking back, he faintly remembered Alice mentioning she worked there.  Turning abruptly, Sam pushed open the door. There was a small bell sounding above the door when he entered.  The café was small, but not claustrophobic, and friendly.

"Hello," came a voice at the back of the café, "Can I help you?"

"Hi," Sam responded, strolling to where the voice came from.  At the back of the café, a man in his mid-30s stood.  He was wearing a white shirt and jeans with an apron over.  The young man had dark brown hair that was flat to his head, and a welcoming face. "I'm looking for Alice Jones.  Do you know where she could be?"

The man's face remained friendly, but his eyes darkened; "No. Alice doesn't live here anymore."

It was at this point that one of the elderly ladies sitting on the café spoke up.

"Are you talking about Alice Jones who lived at 12, Orchard Street." Sam didn't miss the way 'lived' slipped out of the woman's mouth.  Neither did he miss the slightly saddened look that is acquired on a typical English rainy day.  "She was a sweet girl. Always kind.  And her smile, that smile could light up the room - brighter than the sun itself could." The women paused. "I'm afraid Alice doesn't live here anymore. A shame really."

Disheartened, Sam pulled out his phone and found the nearest park.  10 minutes later, Sam was sitting staring thoughtlessly out the window on the bus.  Reaching his stop, Sam clambered off the bus, thanking the driver.  Walking down the road, he turned left into the park.  Spotting a bench, Sam ambled to it.

A while later, Sam was lost in thought, not paying attention to the open book in his lap.  Suddenly, he felt the tell-tale sink of the bench. Someone had sat down.

"I'm sorry," Sam heard, shortly followed by: "is it okay of I sit here." Sam looked up, confused.  There sitting on the bench was the one person he was look for. Alice.

Sam's mouth dropped open, wide enough for a small bird to small comfortably fly through. His face held a flabbergasted look for long enough, that Alice started to look worried.

"Sam, are you okay?" She asked cautiously.

Sam snapped out of his reverie; "Yeah, I'm fine."  He paused.  Then, the words poured out; "Where were you? I went to your house and your mum said you didn't live there anymore.  So did everyone in the village. I was worried."  Another pause. Then he continued, almost a whisper: "I thought you died."

Feeling guilty, Alice moved further up the bench; "I'm sorry. I didn't  mean to scare you.  I had to get out of there.  Between my mother and the sleazy alcoholic guy who hits on any girl in sight, I had to get out of there."

"Why didn't you text?" Sam wondered aloud.
Alice avoided the question; "I really can't tell you how sorry I am."  The two sat in silence for a few minutes.  Hours later, the two were still sitting in the park.  Talking.

Sitting on Sam's doorstep at home was the letter Alice wrote:

'Dear Sam,
         I hope that by the time you get this letter, I would have seen you one last time. I'm sorry. I am. But everything was slowly, slowly closing in.  The pressure in my head was buliding.  There were too many thoughts - Swirling around, Taking over.  

It got too much.  My mother. The drunkard - that horrible drunkard. The voices; the voices of the girls in secondary school, you know the ones; of the insults my father hurled at me, over and over. And over. And over. It was like they were running laps in my head. What started out as 100m got Longer. And longer. And longer. The race got harder to win, my legs got more tiered as the thoughts caught up with me.  It was like lap after lap on the swimming pool. My arms started aching, but the thoughts kept on going, and going. Getting faster and faster, while I slowed down. And soon my legs ached.  It was getting harder and harder to float.  Until I drowned, the darkness consuming me.  And I welcomed it.  I think i had been waiting for it the entire time.

The dreams, as well. The dreams were horrible. Of the violence my father showed. The way he hit me, everyday.  How I couldn't tell anyone.  I wouldn't take my jumper off at school, remember. You were worried.  I was scared as if a tiger was chasing me. I couldn't believe it when he died. I know I shouldn't have been happy, but I was.  In my dreams he was worse, so much worse. And my mother! She was worse too.  She wasn't just ignorant like she used to be, she would slap me. But then she actually got worse too. At home in the holidays, she would tell me what to do, and if I didn't do it, she would threaten me. Only because I was scared she might become my father,  I would do what she asked.

I'm so sorry Sam. I can't do it. I tried like you asked, but I can't anymore. It's too much. It won't stop. My thoughts just go round and round again, like the roundabout in the park we went to as children. I'm sorry. I'll always be in your heart.  Please watch put for Clara, it won't be fun for here having to put up with Stuart the inebriate. Tell her I'm sorry. Thank you so much. For always being there.

Forever your friend,
Alice x'

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