A Day In The Life: Part 1 of Ayla’s Archives
December 8th, 2014 by Coral

Ayla pushed the kitchen door open with her hip, balancing two large trays of food on either hand. She weaved in and out of the tables, putting down plates of sandwiches, steaming bowls of soup, and mugs of coffee as she went. Most of the faces were familiar, local friends who came into the “Dish for Trish” Diner regularly, others had the distinct tourist look.

One of the diners stood out. A boy about Ayla’s age, 21, with shockingly orange hair that was cut raggedly and uneven. He wore a long, black coat, a faded tshirt and ripped jeans. He sat with his shoulders hunched, eyeing the room as though it could be secretly full of poisonous frogs.

Discarding the now empty trays, Ayla went over to the boy. “Good afternoon, how are you?” She said with a smile, flipping her curly blond hair out of her face with a quick flick of her chin.

“Fine.” the boy said, looking like he’d just remembered where he was, “I’ll have a number six. No onions. Pepsi.”

“Sounds good, anything else?” Ayla jotted down his order, then tucked the pencil back behind her ear. As she did so, the boys eyes fastened on her wrist.

He stared at her, not answering her question. Ayla shifted uneasily.

“Sir? Will there be anything else?” She asked again.  The boy blinked, searching her face as though he had known her before, but didn’t anymore.

“No.” He said, “Hey, where’d you get that bracelet?” He nodded, indicating a blue and yellow beaded bracelet Ayla had worn ever since she had been little.

“What?” Ayla looked at him strangely, “Why?”

“Just curious,” he said. He rested his elbows on the table and leaned toward her, “It’s a very unique design, you see.  Had it for a long time?” He smiled charmingly.

“Yeah, since I was a kid.” Ayla said, fingering the carved stone beads.

“Really?” a cloud came over his face, deep thought and concern seeming to consume him again.

“Yep,” Ayla said, growing slightly nervous. “So, um, I’ll go get your food…”

“No.” He stood, “Never mind. Sorry, I’m not hungry anymore, I have to go.  And, a piece of advice for you, get rid of that bracelet.”

He hurried out the door, pulling up his collar to conceal most of his face.

Ayla stood for a moment, confused, before returning to her work. The encounter had troubled her. She continued to finger her bracelet, thinking about his parting advice.

“Hey, Ay,” Oliver’s voice broke through her reverie. “Something on your mind?”

Ayla glanced down at her bracelet.  That boy had seemed sincere when he had told her to get rid of it. She couldn’t fathom why, nor could she fathom her intense aversion to losing the bracelet.  She had never thought about it before, but it suddenly seemed so important….and she couldn’t even remember when she’d gotten it.

“Just a strange customer today,” Ayla said, twisting her bond curls around her finger.

“Tell me,” Oliver said, picking up a muffin and taking a bite.

“It’s nothing,” Ayla said, shrugging it off. Oliver continued to try and get her to tell him more, but Ayla wasn’t interested in discussing it. It gave her a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.

Finally, Ayla was back in her apartment, shedding her waitress uniform. Trish was still at the cafe, she owned it, after all.  Ayla pulled out a tub of Ben and Jerry’s and sat on the couch, waiting to feel tired enough for sleep.

She woke up, still on the couch, on high alert. Someone was in her apartment, and it wasn’t Trish. She knew it in her gut.

Quietly, Ayla slid off the couch, padding silently through her house. She grabbed a heavy book, a chemistry textbook, she thought, and wished she was wearing something more intimidating than flannel pajamas with ice cream cones and candy print.

She flung the door of her bedroom open, flicking on the light and raising her book. A figure turned, a mask covering his face.  Ayla flew at him, slamming the book into the side of his head. He ducked, making it only a glancing blow, and tried to sidestep around her.

He was quick, but, Ayla was surprised to discover, so was she. She ripped the mask off, and the figure stumbled backwards.  He looked at her, revealing shockingly orange hair and green eyes that looked like cut emeralds.

“You!” He shouted in surprise.

“You!” Ayla replied, recognizing him as the strange customer from the cafe.  “What are you doing in my house?!”

“Leaving.” He said. He turned, but before he could go five steps, Ayla had tackled him, pinning him to the ground with her sharp elbow.

“No, you have some explaining to do.”

“It’s safer for you if I don’t.” he said.

“Start with your name.” Ayla said, driving her elbow in harder.

“Jack.” The boy said with a gasp.

Ayla narrowed her eyes, “Jack?”

“Jack.” He said, “and really, it’s safer if I don’t say anything to you!”

He struggled to get up, but Ayla pinned him firmly. She was surprised at her own strength.

“I’m an assassin,” Jack growled, “And so are you.”

“Liar.” Ayla struggled to keep her voice down.

“No, I’m not.” Jack insisted, still struggling, “That bracelet? I told you to get rid of it, but you can’t, can you? Let me take a wild guess. You’re smart, maybe genius level, when you were a kid you got invited to an educational enrichment camp. You don’t remember much, just that you had fun.”

“You don’t know anything,” Ayla said, but she sounded weak. He was right, how had he known that? “How..?”

“I know because I’ve been there, too,” Jack said, “Except I escaped before they brainwashed me. They brainwashed you so you don’t remember doing their dirty work.”

“You’re lying!” Ayla insisted.

“If I am, then take off that bracelet and throw it away!” Jack said, “Now!”

Ayla glared at him, determined to prove him wrong. She reached over to her wrist, and immediately felt sick. Sick and angry, almost murderous.

Gasping, she stood, letting Jack up, and she stumbled away. She looked at Jack in horror.

“You can’t, can you?” His expression was sorrowful, “I’m sorry, but you asked. I can help you.”

“I don’t want your help,” Ayla said in a faltering voice.

“Well, don’t count on your friends.” Jack said, bitterness creeping into his voice, “That guy you told about me? Oliver? He works for them. He helps them brainwash you.”

Ayla felt like she’d been punched in the stomach. “I can’t..but he’s one of my best friends….”

“Just an operative, probably doesn’t care about you,” Jack said. “Look, Ayla, I’m sorry. I didn’t know it was you when I broke in, I thought it was one of their other agents. You don’t have any files, though, agents like you never do.”

“Agents like me…” Ayla said, “one’s who get brainwashed to forget?”

“Sleeper Agents.” Jack said. “Look, just don’t tell them and you should be fine, I’ve really got to go.”

“Wait!” Ayla said, “How do I get out of it? How do I stop them from…from…brainwashing me or whatever?”

Ayla’s phone rang. She looked down. It was Oliver. Why was he calling her at two in the morning?

She looked up to ask Jack another question, but he was already gone.


One Response  
  • auntjojo writes:
    December 8th, 20147:16 pmat

    Well done, Coral. I’m impressed. Keep up the good work.

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