I walk along the leaf-covered path with my hands in my pockets and a smile on my face. My daily walks through the park are the only highlights of my day, as school drains most of my energy and happiness. I groan, remembering about all of the homework that I've been given to do. I shake my head at myself when I realise that tomorrow is the half term holidays, so I don't need to worry about it until the last day. Somehow, the thought had managed to slip my mind, although that seems to happen a lot nowadays.
I stare at fluttering leaves, softly glowing as they block the sunlight, and wonder how something could possibly be so beautiful. Although I've been told countless times that I should be thankful for an easy life, I've never stopped wishing that something exciting would happen. Sometimes it's hard not to feel like I'm missing out on something.
I know that the remaining days of my childhood are numbered, but that doesn't stop me from being lazy and wasting all of my free time. Doing nothing and talking to no one is a routine for me, it's become my way of life at this point. Extroverts like my sister have trouble understanding loners like me, no matter how many times I try to explain it.
I reach my favourite tree and start climbing. The oak tree with many thick branches has been my favourite place for years, and I've been climbing it since I was a kid. I often lose track of how long I've spent in the park, and I could probably stay here all day if I didn't have a family to get home to. I check my watch, and thankfully, I still have about twenty minutes before I'll get a 'Why are you always home late?' lecture.
I jump down from the tree and land in a crouch, ignoring the slight stinging pain in my feet. I put on my beanie as the wind starts to pick up, tucking the rest of my short hair behind my ears. I shiver as a chill runs down my spine, and I get the feeling that someone's watching me. I quickly spin around and look in every direction, but I can only see a young couple walking their dog. I try to shake away the skin-crawling feeling and focus on getting home.
I walk home a lot quicker than usual, letting out a sigh of relief when the door handle clicks open, letting me into the warm hallway. I kick off my muddy combat boots and run up the stairs. I kick open my bedroom door and find my twin sister, Ruby, writing something in her notebook while on the phone to one of her friends. She always manages gets home before me, unless she decides to go shopping after school.
I walk over to the mirror to inspect my appearance, remembering that I hadn't even brushed my hair while I was rushing to get dressed this morning. I pull off my beanie and mess with my hair to get rid of the frizz and some of the tangles. Thankfully, my hair is short enough to look normal most of the time, even if I've just gotten out of bed. Ruby closes her notebook and rolls over on to her back. "Mum's left us some pizza in the kitchen, she's out with dad tonight."
"What kind?" I smile as I feel my stomach rumble.
"Pepperoni." She reaches for her phone and shows me the text that our mum sent her. She starts to check her texts while I'm still looking, opening a message from her best friend, Hayley. "Oh my god!" She shouts, making me jump. "She says there's a virus going around that's making everyone sick. It's on the news!"
"A virus? Come on Ruby, don't listen to rumours. Remember when everyone thought we'd catch Ebola?"
"But there's a chance that we could get infected! Everyone's talking about it." She sighs and closes her eyes, slowly sliding off her bed. "Whatever. Just don't come running to me when you're in the hospital. I'll get the pizza."
"I probably won't be able to." I laugh at my own joke and walk over to my bed, ignoring the insults she makes about my pun. I pull out my laptop from under my bed and browse the news website, immediately spotting the story about the virus at the top of the page. I read a few paragraphs, rolling my eyes more times than I can count.
Ruby runs back up to our bedroom and throws a pizza box on to my bed. "I told you it was real!" She shouts with a slice of pizza in her mouth, making everything she just said unintelligible. She grabs my laptop and reads the article aloud, her voice growing increasingly more concerned with each line. There's a lot of useless information in the article, but one fact stands out above the others- they don't even know if it's dangerous or not. "It's probably harmless. Stop worrying about it."
"Just because they don't know if it's dangerous, it doesn't mean that it's safe." Ruby sounds somewhat offended at my response. "If I'm right about this, you owe me a pound." She spends the rest of the day calling her friends to make plans on how to avoid catching it, occasionally choking on her pizza after gasping too hard.
At first, her paranoia was funny, but now it's become extremely annoying. I drown out her voice with some music and slowly feel myself getting more tired. I know that I need sleep, but I can't stop thinking about what she said. What if it is dangerous? I push the thought to the back of my mind and close my eyes, letting sleep overcome me.
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