Recently in English we had to write a short story labelled ‘The Outsider’. I love all things creative writingy, so had lots of fun writing this and I thought I would share it with you 🙂 Please bear in mind whilst you are reading that I am no author and that this was written in a couple of evenings and could definitely be improved. Go grab a hot chocolate and a blanket and enjoy!
She was an unusual child, with hair as dark as the night sky and eyes like the ocean. Sometimes they sparkled with delight, and at others they raged with fury, but at the moment they just looked lost, a tiny boat tossed around by the waves, like the one she had travelled in so recently. She looked rather out of place as her battered yellow hat dripped with rain, as the tall office blocks glared down on her, their sinister windows watching her like thousands of suspicious eyes. She tried to ignore them. Tall men and women in tight black suits stormed past her like automatons, using their umbrellas as shields to signify the boundary between them and the rest of the world, pushing past the small girl as if she were nothing more than an abandoned toy.
Impatient car horns and the loud sounds of trains rattling over their tracks filled the cold air as the rain continued to fall and the tall people continued to hurry past. Nothing ever stopped in London , everyone always had something to do, somewhere to go, someone to meet. The girl, however, did not, and yet she kept walking. Her feet ached, but she did not want to stop, for fear that someone would notice her, for fear that her secret would be discovered. She walked past a cafe, and the familiar smell of strong coffee wrapped around her like a blanket, filling her with bitter sweet memories of her home and family. She stifled a sob, her eyes filling with salty tears. What could she do? Who could she ask for help?
Amanda sighed, gazed out of the window, and took another sip of hot coffee, running her fingers through her sort, straw coloured hair. Although she deeply loved her studio, with its fuchsia and lime coloured walls, the view from her sixth story window was not the kind that inspired fantastical children’s stories. She traced a raindrop down the window with a long, bony finger and watched as the usual London business men and women marched along the street. Amamnda sighed. Her publishers wanted the first chapter for her new book in less than a week’s time, and no matter what she did, she simply could’n dream up a new story. Her polka dot paper bin in the corner of the room was filled to the brim with scrunched up attempts at first chapters: princesses, dragons, adventures. Nothing seemes to work. Gazing out of the widow for the umpteenth time that afternoon, she spotted a bright yellow hat among the sea of black umbrellas and, after pushing her glasses up off of her nose, saw a young girl with jet black hair beneath it. Puzzled, Amanda seached for the parent to whom the child belonged, but it seemed as though she were alone.
After watching for a moment more she decided to go outside for a bit of fresh air, whilst checking that the girl was alright, and not in need of taking to the London Lost Property Centre. Amanda was not fully certain that children counted as lost property, but she decided that it may be the best place for the girl if she had indeed been separated from her parents. Though this may seem like a very thoughtful thing to do, it was in all honesty simply an excuse for Amanda to free herself from her stultifying studio. She began the descent to the ground floor, carrying her still too-hot-to-drink coffee and wary of the rather judgemental looks that came from the office next door as it was clearly still too early for lunch break.
It was too much. The girl had walked for far too long, and her feet were blistering beyond belief from her flimsy white sandals, which were now more of a drab grey colour. It was as if the city turned everything a drab grey, sucking the cleanliness and colour out of anything that came there and spitting out dirt like a reverse vacuum cleaner. Even the rain seemed more grey than the rain which fell in Syria, the girl’s home.
Just as she was beginning to lose all hope, the girl saw a woman with short hair the colour of sand walking towards her. For a second, she panicked, but the look on the woman’s face was of nothing but curiosity and compassion, and her brightly coloured coat spoke words of hope into the girl’s tender heart, like a vibrant green cockatoo amongst a flock of ravens.
“Are you alright darling?” the woman asked, concerned. “Are you lost? Where are your parents?” The girl began to cry silently, and shook her head slowly. She pointed to her lips, shaking her head once again, indicating that she did not understand what the woman was saying. She did not know whether to trust this woman, with her saffron hair and foreign language, but she acknowledged the fact that she had no other hope. She looked up at the woman, who looked rather shocked and confused, trying to communicate all that she wanted to say through her big ocean like eyes alone. It was evident, through her still frowning lips, that the woman did not receive the full message, but the furrows which had previously creased her forehead smoothed themselves out and her sharp green eyes seemed suddenly full of sympathy.
To the many suit-clad passers by it must have looked a rather strange scene: the little dark haired girl and the tall blonde one; standing in the middle of the street, but the robots continued to storm past them. A few of the less polite ones knocked shoulders with them or dripped a little water off of their umbrellas onto the unlikely pair’s heads, with grunts of ‘excuse me’ as their only apology. All in all, it was certainly not the best place to be standing during rush hour on a cold and drizzly Winter’s day, which they established between themselves, and so they walked together into a cafe lining the road, with hanging baskets full of artificial pink and yellow gerberas.
Inside, the cafe was just as delightful as it had appeared from the outside, both bright and cosy at the same time. A lovely open fire crackled in the corner of the room, couples talked with heads close together over mugs of steaming drinks, and others sat alone with pens poised and pieces of paper scattered like autumn leaves over the table.On this cold and dreary day, the snug tearoom warmed the soul and was a miniature heaven on Earth.
The girl followed the saffron-haired lady to a table by the window, and tried desperately to show her gratitude when a huge cup of coffee was brought to her. This time, the familiar scent did not cause salty tears to form in her eyes. Instead, it tasted like the perfect blend of a thousand comforting memories, bringing her courage and strength. In the only way the girl could think to communicate she signed ‘thank you’ to the tall, fair lady, touching her fingertips to her chapped lips and gesturing towards Amanda like a performer bowing after a concert. The woman’s bright green eyes lit up. It was a long time since she had used sign language, but in an instant it all flooded back to her, and she quickly responded ‘You can sign?’ The little girl smiled for the first time in weeks. ‘Yes! Thank you very much. You are very kind.’ ‘You are welcome’ replied Amanda, her hands moving quickly. ‘Tell me who you are, where you are from?’
And so it began. The long tale of how the dark-haired girl had fled her country and was in England illegally, lost, orphaned. She decided to trust the lady with the hair like sand, eyes like emeralds and heart full of love. Neither at the pair were perfect at signing, so there were several parts of the story which had to be simplified or shown over and over, but it was all told, with Amanda scribbling down notes along the way into her pink and yellow notebook full of ideas for her new book.
It wasn’t, in fact, until many years later, when the young girl had become a woman, that Amanda first put her pen onto a piece of crisp, white paper and began, ‘She was an unusual child, with hair as dark…’