The Gold in the Dark Ch.02

Newance was a very beautiful school, with its archways leading to the very vast green floral entrance, the glistening ocean-like windows covering the building, and the many flowers and fields surrounding the highschool. The main reason the school was even built like this was to show its prestige. This school is a place many people dreamed of getting into however Wells had easily got himself into it through his surprisingly excellent grades. Popularity wise, Wells had a few friends here but didn’t have friends he was fairly close to. He never was really popular, and no one here really was. Everyone here was smart and had worked their way to earn a spot at the school, so being popular was something many kids here never really had the experience of. He was no exception either.

He entered the high school, not surprised by the glistening waxed white floors and headed to the office which was not too far from the entrance. The woman, Ms.Pumperpick who was at the front desk looked really bored. “Has he not made it yet”, she muttered as Wells opened the door. When he came in, with her 32 pearly whites exposed she said, “Ah there he is, late again I see. If you’re going to come late at least come a little quicker. I have to wait for you to come so I can give you this…” Ms. Pumperpick hands Wells a late slip, “before I can move on to work on something else.” Wells was going to tell an excuse but she quickly said, “Now chop-chop, get to class. I don’t have the time to hear another excuse.” Wells, listening, ran to the school’s elevators. He had English, but it was on the 5th floor. Even though he didn’t like the class, it was on the highest floor in the school, and that gave him time to think about an excuse as to why he was late. However, this time around he thought about the letter he had found earlier. Replaying the events over and over in his head. However, he couldn’t make any headway. Frustrated, he unzipped his bag and pulled out the letter. He turned it around, looked at it at all angles and nothing seemed to look different. It was simply a plain old letter, nothing more, nothing less. His curiosity got the best of him. He opened the letter just a little bit to read, “Welcome to Manah…”, but the elevator door opened and a few teachers who had previously taught him stood in front of him as they waited for the elevator. “Ah, Wells, is it? It’s been a while. Still going to class late I presume. Hurry up, you don’t want to miss more of your lesson do you?” Wells put the letter back into his bag again. He nodded to the teacher, then left the elevator. He then looked at his small rubber black watch on his wrist that had been on him since he woke up, and after realizing he was really pushing it, he began to speed-walk toward his class.

The rest of Wells’ school day was uneventful, simply catching up to teachers whom classes he missed, getting scolded along the way, and trying to stay awake through the classes he had. He’d left school at around 3 in the afternoon as the school’s loud blaring bells rang through the hallways. Not too far from his school was a plaza. The building overall was quite small compared to his high school and only had one floor. The roofs were tattered, the dusted windows were just managing to stay on their hinges and the sun’s light exposed all the gum, ripped posters and chipped bricks around and on the building. Mainly composed of various supermarkets, hardware stores and other stores that Wells had never really visited, the plaza was a place Wells has gotten used to. Not only did he work in a small game shop called Game Credentials there but many of the locals in the neighbourhood near where he lived come here for work. Wells usually worked on the weekends and a shift or two during the school days, but a friend had asked Wells to cover part of his shift until 5:30 when he would be back. Wells walked to the store, making sure to not step on any pieces of gum and opened the door.

The door rang as a little small silver chime shaped as small little birds sang and hit each other with a clang. The few regulars who have come in the store have told the owner it was tacky and annoying to hear every time they walked in but for some reason he refuses to take it down. It was something about it being a precious memory of some sort. Wells headed to the changing room located at the back of the small store. He changed to his store uniform and sat at the only bench in-between the few blue lockers on both sides of the room. The bench creaked as he sat down. Wells looked at his school bag, which he placed in his locker. He wanted to look at the contents of the letter so badly but at the same time, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to either. Looking at it, it was a simple letter with his name on it which was somehow on a route he took every day. This person wasn’t messing around and knew where he would be at an exact time. If he had placed it a lot earlier knowing he would come here then some other person would have been curious about the mysterious letter and picked it up. Whoever left this letter knew his daily patterns. It could be anyone in the neighbourhood, really, but all those people felt like family to him. Wells felt like the people there were people you can trust. It was the other way around too as those people trusted him with asking advice about their personal lives, asking him to run errands and even trusting him with important tasks. He just didn’t want to come to hate anyone in the neighbourhood. He also had never had family and was always alone. These people gave him a sense that he belonged, somewhere where people needed him. He had been longing for this kind of life ever since he was born. Being thrown out by his birth family wasn’t much of a help with this feeling.

Wells eventually got up and closed his locker with a thud. He knew his curiosity was going to make him open the letter, so he planned to open the letter at Ms. Parkinsons after the kids had fallen asleep. Wells left the room and into the store. As usual, there was no twinkling coming from the chime by the door and the store was empty except for him. He took initiative and looked through some of the storage boxes at the back of the store, seeing if he could restock the few shelves that were empty. The storage room was small. It had a small hanging light fixture that swayed as you pulled on the chain beside it to turn it on, and it had black streaks across the wall’s white paint due to the amount of scraping that occurs when the few employees like him tried to move the boxes. The room could only hold about 10 boxes in it and could probably only fit 5 more, even if you stack on one another. It was hard to move around and get to the different boxes but Wells was used to it. He looked around for copies of the new game Newferdald. It was an increasingly popular game but it was quite expensive. Still, the stock slowly dwindled and they had only 1 copyleft. Every week Will was allowed to take one game home as a token of thanks for working at the store, but Will doesn’t have any consoles or anything of the sort to use to play on, so he doesn’t really use the bonus. This time however he had to go to Ms. Parkinsons. They lived in an average house, not living a lavish lifestyle but her kids had every single console a kid could dream of having. It was a gamer’s wonderland there. The kids would always be playing all the latest games. Even though he didn’t know if they had the game or not, Will was sure they wouldn’t mind having another copy of the game anyway. He ran and quickly put it in his bag and went back to sit at the tiny cash register near the back of the store.

He looked around inspecting the place even though he had done so, so many times over. He looked at the fading posters, the black walls, the mountains of shelves containing thousands of unplayed games. After another 30 min of passing the time like this Wells looked at the windows at the front of the store. Like the other stores, the windows were covered in old ripped stickers. This store, in particular, had many games and movie character posters but there were large pockets of window, where customers could look inside. Not to his surprise, the windows were indeed dirty. He looked at the time, it had barely moved and he had nothing to do so he half-heartedly got up from the stool he sat on, went to the employee’s change room and got a window cleaning spray and a cloth. He loved cleaning, it’s not that he despised it but he would much rather clean in the perimeters of his small home, where he could admire it. Not here, where it could get dirty again. Wells crouched down and began to work his way up the windows spraying and cleaning the window. The squeaks from the window were the only sounds he could hear in his head as its rhythm echoed like the pendulum on a grandfather clock.

Moments passed and Wells continued to focus on the dirty windows. Through the squeaking, however, another sound crept into Wells’ ear. It was very faint and would be unnoticeable at first hadn’t Wells stopped scrubbing the window to crouch again to rewipe the same window. The sound wasn’t much like footsteps. Wells slowly got up and listened intently making his ear face where he thought he heard a sound. Clack, came a sound in the distance, sounding as if there was an animal inside the store. Wells decides to check it out. Using his ear as a reference he hesitantly walked toward the sound. His ear soon led him to the staff changing room. Wells’ mouth begins to quiver and his hands begin to shake. Even so, he needed to know what was in the store. It could just be a raccoon that somehow made it inside the store, he thought. Looking around for something to protect himself, he sees a broomstick that was conveniently placed outside the changing room. He didn’t remember it being there before but he may have missed it. Cautiously opening the door with the broom stock handle, Wells looks inside. Nothing seemed to be inside., it was empty. He walked in and looked in every nook and cranny but he couldn’t find anything. Thinking it just might be his mind, not noticing his slightly open locker Wells leaves the changing room and puts the broom back where he found it.

Just as he was about to turn around to head back to cleaning the windows a mingle of chime music sang through the store. Inside came a tall lady, wearing a large green top hat, a vibrant green dress, and very high, high heels. She looked quite unusual, even for these parts. She didn’t have any jewelry or accessories on except for a small red purse. Wells trying to act normal in front of the lady asks, “How are you today? Would you need any assistance with finding something today?” She looked at him for a while. Wells even though uncomfortable continued the long line of silence looking into her blue eyes. Startling Wells, she says, “No, that’s fine.” She then proceeded to look around the store and the various games it had. Eventually, she took one of every game the store had and put it on the counter in a large pile. “That’s all!”  she says with a smile. Wells had never seen someone buying these many games before at this store, yet he had swiftly dialled all the prices into the cash register and told the lady her total. Keeping her smile on her face she produced a stack of 100 dollar bills and gave it to Wells. Wells, surprised but still effectively doing his job gave her her receipt, bagged her games and thanked her for shopping with them. The lady then pulled out two more bills and gave them to Wells. Wells takes it and asks what else she was buying, but she says, “your tips”. Chuckling, she took her bag of games away with her. With a ring chimed by the door, her weird atmosphere had also faded and Wells relaxed a bit.

He let out a deep breath. Sure, he had never seen someone like that before but at the same time “she seemed to look like a nice lady”, he thought looking at the cash he had in his hand. With this cash he could buy a week’s worth of groceries, he thought, simultaneously thinking about how lucky he was to cover his friend’s shift today. He probably would have ended up eating the sardines he had stowed away for the cat for the rest of the week, hadn’t the lady given him the money. Running back into the locker room again, he placed the cash in his bag. He then, not thinking about anything, simply went back to wiping the windows clean finishing soon after.

2 or so hours later his friend came trotting into the store happily then took over the store. Wells left the store with a small smile left on his face. Before leaving the plaza, Wells looked around at the tattered building for a bit, again thinking how lucky he was today. His body swelled with excitement and he felt his bag feel as though he was carrying a cloud.  His mind, however, eventually came back into focus as his mind wandered toward babysitting. He then quickly walked toward Ms.Parkinson’s house hoping he wouldn’t be late. He ran part way but mostly speed walked. If he had tried to run the whole way he wouldn’t have any energy to stand, let alone babysit kids. Slightly panting he made it to the sidewalk in front of Ms.Parkinson’s house. Looking at his watch while panting he says, “Ten minutes early”.