The stars look quiet tonight

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Chapter 1

,,Restricted freedom” she muttered while looking at the shining dark cover of a book. You could still smell that freshly published, out of the factory smell on it. It was laying on the table between a jar of last autumn’s apple jam and an old rusty hammer. Its handle was barely hanging on to the weight of its heavy head.

,,So, what do you think?” a woman walked into the room with a big smile on her face. Her face was flawless and she had long eyelashes that complimented her deep blue eyes and drew attention away from the dark bags under her eyes. Water was dripping from the ends of her hair. Hair that the girl noted was the same shade as the dark and shiny cover. The woman had a towel wrapped around her flawless bony shoulders. ““Well… I.. like the title?”” the girl tried to find something to say about it while continuing to stare at the book. ““Are you kidding me? You didn’t even bother to open it,”” she said with a pouty face as she sat down ““This one took me a long time to write, just so you know.”” She rolled her eyes, but didn’t look too bothered as she had expected as much from the girl. ““When has it ever taken you a short amount of time?”” the girl said underneath her breath, finally looking up from the table. The woman frowned while drying the ends of her hair with the towel.

«„That’s true, but now I can at least be away from all the editors and rest up, Jay!“» she rested her elbows on the hard surface of the table. Jay stood up and walked over to the coffee machine to make a drink for her aunt. She yawned in boredom as the machine demanded more water. The woman talked on, cursing her work and all her co-workers. It had been almost a month since she had last seen her aunt Luna as she had been busy with the novel’s deadline coming up. She was already used to not seeing her aunt around a lot. So living alone most of the time was usual. And some would think writers stay at home all the time.

The cup was slowly getting filled up with delicious coffee while Luna found a pack of wheat cookies and ripped it open. The room slowly started to smell like freshly baked coffee beans. Luna was in the middle of devouring all the found cookies, which wasn’t exactly a pleasant sight. The coffee machine started beeping and Jay took the filled red cup to her aunt. Walking slowly, trying not to spill any. «„So how long are you staying home this time?“» she asked while putting the coffee down next to Luna. She swallowed the last cookie and took a quick sip before opening her phone to look at the calendar. «„I should go back to work next Tuesday, but I’ll probably stay a little longer,“» she took another sip. Jay sat back down and started tapping her fingers on the edge of the table. Luna put the red cup back down while staring at the calendar and trying hard to think about something. «„Oh!“» she suddenly looked at Jay. «„Doesn’t school start tomorrow?“» she looked pretty proud for remembering it, but the next second, realisation hit. «„How could I forget?“» her face turned worrisome. «„Do you have all the school supplies? I think most of the shops are already closed now. Do they still even have school supplies left? What should we do?“» she started muttering to herself. «„Don’t worry! I already bought everything last week while grocery shopping. I’m not that helpless.“» Jay’s eyes went back to staring at the book. Luna looked at Jay with a worrisome face.

««I’m sorry! I totally forgot about it with everything going on and deadlines coming up,»» she looked down at the cup of coffee. The atmosphere in the room felt a little awkward. Jay calmly stood up from the chair: ««It’s okay! I know how hard it has been for you.»» She walked over to the stairs. ««I have to wake up early tomorrow, so I’ll go to bed now’’ she slowly walked up the stairs and into her room. It was rather dark in there.

The room was very plain, mabye even a little too plain. All the walls and floor were empty. Only an average bed on one side, next to it a small side table that looked quite antique. The only other thing there was a giant window that covered the whole outer wall from floor to the ceiling. She walked closer and looked out. It was an alluring view.

The house is located in the middle of the woods, away from the city lights, surrounded by tall pine trees. Tonight they made interesting siluets on the floor. It was quite cloudy, but with time the clouds moved away from the only sorce of light, opening a way for the moonlight to come in from the window. Tonight happened to be a full moon. It was hovering over the trees and seemed unusually big. Jay’s expression didn’t change as she continued looking out the window for quite a while. After some time she let out a quiet sigh and sat down on top of the bed. She touched around the side table, looking for her earphones. As soon as she connected it to her phone, the screen lit up making Jay squint her eyes from the sudden brightness. She put the earphones into her ears and started listening to some music.

Jay laid down and pulled the planket over her head, hiding away from the moonlight, making herself into a little ball. «„I don’t want to go to school,“» she mumbled as a faint sound of a piano could be heard from her earphones. The big old grandfather clock that stood right outside the door in the hallway struck twelve

times as Jay slowly closed her eyes.

The girl woke up to the sound of a tiny tit singing right outside her window. Landing on the windowsill, singing a few notes and flying away again. She slowly opened her eyes. A beam of light hit her face. She held her hand over her eyes to block it. The full moon had disappeared and a clear sky had taken over. The tit continued her flight over the trees. Jays eyes slowly followed the little bird as it flew furder and furder until it landed in a tree. The alarm on her phone went off and cut the silence in the room. Jay let out a short sigh and turned the alarm off. She stood up from the bed and walked over to the door. Instead of opening it she looked down at the door handle. As she reached her hand out to take a hold of it her right ear started ringing. Jay tilted her head and pressed against it to stop the ringing. She slightly hesitated before opening the door and walking past the grandfather clock. The smell of freshly baked pancakes hit her. Jay took a deep breath, faintly the ends of her mouth curled upwards into a small smile and she continued her walk downstairs to the kitchen.

«„Good morning!“» Luna happily shouted over the sound of the frying pan when she spotted the girl. Jay sat down and looked at the pile of pancakes in the middle of the table. «„Here is the milk!“» Luna poured her a class of cold milk. Jay looked at the milk carton. «„Don’t worry it’s lactose free, I can atleast remeber that,“» she put it back into the fridge and took out a jar of blackcurrant jam. Luna turned down the fire and put the last pancake on top of the pile. Jay had already taken a pancake and was spreading the jam on it. Aunt also sat down and took a pancake. They both rolled their cakes into a tube and started eating it from one of the ends. The morning sun had also made its way into the kitchen. Luna yawned «„Should I drive you to school?“» «„No, I can take the bus,“» Luna didn’t look a bit disapp ointed. She was probably planning on going back to sleep afterwards anyway. She took a glance at Jay. «„Are you sick? You seem a little pale,“» She reached over the table and put her hand on the girls forhead. «„It’s not a fever,“» the girl shook her head, making Luna withdraw her hand. «„You just haven’t seen me in a long time. I always look pale,“» Jay ate rather quickly and jugged down the glass of milk. «„It was delicious, thanks!“» she hurriedly ran up the stairs back into her room. A few minutes later she came back down fully dressed and ready. «„Are you sure you don’t want me to drive you there?“» aunt yelled while Jay was putting on her shoes. «„I’m already leaving, the bus is coming soon anyway. Bye!“» she walked over to the door. Jay’s heart was beating faster and faster as she reached for the handle and after a quick pause opened the door.

The air was fresh and a slight breeze made the tree leaves move. Jay slowly walked between the trees on an old road towards the bus stop. She took a few deep breaths and soon made it there. The bench was made out of wood and looked like it was going to fall apart any second. Jay still sat down and stared at her feet. There were a few houses around. Nobody really knew who lived there. Jay guessed the residents there wasn’t that sociable or just busy like her aunt. The area itself is quite close to the city. It is a secluded place, but the never ending passing cars on the highway make it rather loud. Jay raised her head as she heard the sound of the bus coming. It soon stopped in front of her and opened the doors. She stepped on to the bus and held her bus card up to the validator. As soon as it registrated she walked to the back of the bus and sat in a window seat. The bus doors closed.

The city was unusually busy. It seemed a little too hectic for Jay who had gotten used to the peace and quiet back at home. The city buildings looked smaller than they were last spring. Despite the lively city life, the bus was almost completly empty. Jay brought her knee up to her chin and put her leg down on to the seat. She rested her head on the bus window and looked out. Endless cars drove by the bus while it was stuck in traffic. ««How nice if it would be stuck in traffic forever’’ that tought quickly went through Jays brain.

For some students the first day of school is a happy day. They get to see their classmates and friends that they haven’t made contact with during the summer, make new memories or generally just study. In Jay’s mind things looked different than that. School was not a great place for her. Gossiping students, demanding teachers and that last category. The worst category that only grew in numbers with time. School is a place for both hope and hopelessness. That’s at least what Jay thinks and believes. The bus started moving again. It didn’t take long from there to get to school. At this point there is no turning back. For Jay it is her last year in high school. Her wish right now, walking in from the school gate, is that all the students from her grade would only think about studying hard to finish school with good grades. You never know what this year will bring and how people have changed. But for the people in that category, change is a foreign thing. A school bag hit Jay’s face as soon as she stepped in from the gate. She had to take a step back to not lose her balance. «„Hey porter! Aren’t you going to pick up the bag?“» a male voice yelled. Jay picked up the bag without looking at the speaker. A few other students that were behind the boy snickered. Just like Jay thought. That category, bullies, really don’t change. The boy walked closer to her with others following right behind. «„Guess the dog still knows who its master is,“» he stopped before Jay. A boy, much taller than her, with short dirty blonde hair and a face covered in plasters. «„How interesting! We are in the same class again this year. This must be fate, isn’t it!“» he gave the girl a friendly smack to the shoulder. Jay didn’t react much and continued to stare at the ground. «„Hah!?“» the boy drew his face closer. «„You should look at someone when they are talking to you!“» he waved his hand infront of her face. Jay held the bag in her hands tighter, but still inverted her gaze. The boy grinded his teeth and grabbed her face with the hand he had been waving with. He pulled her chin up making it harder for Jay to avoid him.

«„Dirk! What are you up to again!“» someone shouted from the school entrance with a furious voice. The boy let go of Jay and turned his head to see who had bothered him. It was the boys PE teacher. A middle aged man who was considered too energetic for his age. Some of the students that were gathered in the group behind Dirk quickly walked away. Dirk grabbed his bag from Jay and walked off with a pissed off look on his face. The girl let out a sigh of relief. Most of the students had already entered the school building. This was more or less how Jay imagined her first day of school to go. At least she hoped to be in a different class, but luck truly wasn’t at her side. She looked up at the building. It also somehow seemed smaller than it was last spring. The school yard slowly became emptier and emptier until Jay was the only student there. «„Guess I’ll go in too,“» she started running to make it to the school ceremony on time. The assembly hall was filled with students. It took some time for her to find her class and start making her way through the people. The principal tapped on to the microphone «„It’s good to see you all again!“» Jay finally made it through the crowd of underaged people. Some of the students continued to talk and ignored the principals presence. Unbothered he carried on with his speech. «„Summer break is over and it’s time to get your young brains back into studying. Some people have just stepped into the world of middle school and some are ending that this year. I hope that everyone here will have a great year and study hard. Last year we had great results in many international olympiads. I hope I’m not going to be disappointed this year either. Now I would like to proceed with a nice poem I found while reading during summer,“» students started to fidget and many complained about their legs starting to hurt from standing. «„I really don’t like that old man. Who cares if he will be disappointed or not. Last year was awful for me, because I had to be the only one studying extra for all those pointless olympiads. Well mabye those accomplishments will be good in the long run, but he has no right saying that. It’s not like he did anything,“» Jay lightly frowned, but then quickly lightened her expression thinking about why she even cared about that so much. The poem was very long and boring. Everybody listening knew that the poem was probably some random one he found right before the ceremony. The principal wasn’t exactly the reading type. Jay stopped paying attention to the speech and looked around the hall. It wasn’t necessarily a place she liked. The principal talked for a really long time. Even the teachers started to yawn. Some looked like they were having a battle against whether to fall asleep or pay attention. When he finally ended the ceremony, everyone rushed out. Jay was one of the last to leave the assembly hall. There wasn’t much left to do, besides getting the new school books for the year, but that can wait. The library is rather small, so not many students can fit in there at the same time anyway. Jay walked around the familiar corridors, that were unusually empty. She made her way to a small window and looked out. The view opened to the front of the school. All the students that were done with their business were going back home. Dirk’s group was hanging out by the side of the yard. Laughing and kicking each other without a care in the world. She knew, that if she goes out now, she will most likely be caught by them. Becoming a plaything while Luna was home had to be reduced as much as possible. If she were to go out now, she would end up crossing paths with people she rather wishes not to meet.

The sky still looked bright as ever. Only the tree leaves that were moving around because of a light breeze, were slightly losing their bright green color. Though there wasn’t any feeling of a great fall starting as most things were still stuck in summer. She rested her elbows on the windowsill and stared blankly at the leaving people. «Lucky bastards» was the only thing that came into her mind. «„Maybe next year, when middle school ends can I go home like them. Without any worries, only stupid dreams that will probably never come true, but you never know, maybe those lucky bastards have some immense luck.“» Jay’s dream was simple. Just to get into a top university. Somewhere nice and quiet where all the students were big nerds, only thinking about studying. Not like she wasn’t a nerd herself. There was also another reason. It bugged her, but she still thought about it often. The reason was simple, she can’t live with her aunt her whole life. She needs to become independent and strong. Someone who can buy her own house and make her own money. Like those adults that were picking up their kids outside at the moment. She laughed a little and buried her face in her arms. «„I guess even I have some stupid dreams.“» Most of the students had already left, and only a number of them were still waiting. Even Dirk’s group didn’t have enough patience to wait in school and they also slowly walked out of the gate. Jay looked relieved. Her morning paleness could no longer be seen as the sun shined on her face. «„At last, they left.“»

Chapter 2

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