Everything is a Shade of Black (Continued)

When You Meet Someone You Think You Might Have Known (But Aren’t Sure)

Everything is a Shade of Black (Continued)

Photo Courtesy of m.dhgate.com

A knock on my living-space door woke me up at 5:30 the next morning.

        “Can I help you?” I snapped crankily in the general direction of the door.

        “Are you awake, ma’am?” a young-sounding male voice answered.

        “Well, now I am!  What do you want?” I said, trying to keep the sharp tone out of my voice and not succeeding.  “It’s 5:31 and 47 seconds,” I added for good measure, looking at the watch I had gotten for my fifth birthday from my dad.  I remembered being enchanted with the fact that it told seconds as well as hours and minutes, and running around telling everyone the time including seconds for a month, until my mom threatened to take away my precious gift if I told her the time again in the next fifteen minutes.  I told her in twenty.  She hadn’t appreciated it.

        Now the male voice outside the door spoke up again and said, “Ooh, you have one of those clocks that tell you the seconds?  I love those!  May I please come in and see yours, ma’am?”

        I thought it strange that he was asking.  My door wasn’t locked—it never was, they didn’t let me lock it.  For him not to know that he would have to not be an SSG officer.  And I had been here for three months and not met anyone who wasn’t.  That alone was a reason for me to want to meet him.  Whoever he was.

        I groaned loudly—to make sure he heard it, because no matter how interesting this new potential friend might prove to be, I still wasn’t happy that he had woken me up at this ungodly hour in the morning—rolled over and reluctantly left my warm nest of blankets, trudging over to the door.  The door swung open, and I snapped on the lights and froze.

     My little intruder looked incredibly familiar.  He had olive skin and black curly hair to match my own, and hazel eyes.  He looked to be about seven inches taller than my 5’5.  He was also the first person I had seen in three months who wasn’t wearing the red padded unitard-looking thing and black boots and helmet of an officer.  Instead he was wearing olive-green shorts and a black t-shirt, and something around his neck on a leather cord.  It hung down under his shirt so that I couldn’t see what it was.  He raised his dark eyebrows at me expectantly.  Still confused, I shoved my right wrist out unceremoniously, almost punching him in the ribs.  He caught my hand before it hit him, however, and examined my wrist.

        “Whoa, you have one of the watches!  Those are really rare.  I thought they only made the alarm clocks that told seconds.  When did you get this?” he asked, dropping my arm.  It flopped back to my side.

        I mumbled, “Ten years ago, in two days.”  I was still trying to place him.

        “That’s cool,” he said.

        I said, “Thanks.  I guess,” and looked away.  It had occurred to me that some people might find it creepy if a girl they just met was staring intently at them.

        After a few moments of awkward silence, he cleared his throat and said, “So, ah, do you mind if I come in?  They need you in Control by seven, but I thought I’d come here early so I could meet you.”

        I jumped aside, saying “Of course!” and hit my elbow on the door knob.  “Ouch!”  I said, and, still rubbing my left arm, held it out and said, “I’m Hannah Queenzly.  With a z.  Nice to meet you.”

        He smiled and held out his right arm.  Damn it!  I always tried to shake hands with my left hand, forgetting that not everyone was left handed like me.  My mom used to tell me it was bad manners, but I would always forget to use my right hand.  I hastily switched hands, and we shook.  “I know who you are.  I’m Jeremy Garner.  You can call me Jem.  They said I’m to be your servant,” he said.  “Ma’am,” he added with a grin.

           “Servant?  What do I need a servant for?  What, do they think I can’t feed myself or something?” I demanded, indignant.  Then, realizing what I said might come off as rude, I added “Not that I think I won’t enjoy your company.  Please, come in.”  I backed through the door—successfully this time—allowing him to follow, then paused and smirked.  “Sir.”

           He laughed and bowed to me, then followed me through the door.

        “So, um, how did you get here?  And why are you a servant?  I haven’t seen anyone other than officers in the three months I’ve been here,” I said, trying to make conversation.

        “Oh, ah…It’s…It’s kind of a long story, ma’am,” he said awkwardly.

        “You said I have to be in Control by seven,” I protested.  “We have time.”

        “But don’t you have to get ready? You know, eat, put something other than sweats on, that kind of thing?  You need time for that ma’am.”

        “That will take me less than half an hour at most.”  I sat down cross-legged on my bed.  “And stop calling me ma’am,” I added.  “Just call me Hannah.”

        His eyes widened in surprise.  Or at least I assumed it was surprise.  “That little time?  And they said I’m to call you ma’am and treat you like a queen.  Like your name suggests.”

        “Just call me Hannah,” I repeated decisively, folding my arms and leaning my back against the wall behind me.

        “Alright then, Hannah.”  I smiled.  “Maybe we can meet for lunch, after you do whatever you have to do in Control, and I can tell you about how I got here.  And you can tell me how you got here?”

        “Yeah, sure.  Okay.”

        At this he smiled and bowed to me.  “Okay then.  I will get you some food, and you can get dressed and do whatever else you need to do.”

        “Great.”  He bowed to me—again—and turned to go.  When he got to the door, I called, “Oh, Jem?”  He dropped his hand from the door knob and turned back to look at me.  “Don’t worry about getting in trouble for calling me Hannah.  If they say anything, let me know and I’ll tell them I ordered you to do it.”

        He smiled and bowed to me yet again, and left.  My next ‘order’ to him would be to stop bowing to me.

To be continued…