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'Milk, water, tablets, notebook, sugar.' I leaned on the coffee counter and drew a box around my shopping list with a pen, making the line darker with each stroke. I started to doodle; blue lines of ink going in and out of the box, free to go wherever it pleased yet it was still being controlled. A sigh escaped my lips and I rested my cheek on my fist.

Only the bravest rays of light dared to shine through the musty windows from the street lamps outside on the street, giving the room a friendly and dim glow. The coffee shop was one of the rare shops in the middle of town that was open until eight pm; we didn't get many customers around that time but it was nice for passer-bys to come in and have a coffee in the quiet. We weren't like Starbucks or anything, kind of like a library and coffee bar all in one. There was a small counter to the left of the room with the coffee essentials and the rest of the small shop was filled with bookshelves; standing proudly against the far wall. There were a few tables and a couple armchairs scattered around inside but the shop was getting old and weary. The windows were quite rotted and there was a definite smell of dust that seemed to stand out even against the strongest aerosol. The bookshelves didn't contain anything contemporary but that was fine with me, I loved books, especially the classics.

I glanced out of the window at the quiet street that was getting a rest from a day of being trampled on by herds of tourists. We were popular for tourists down in Cornwall, mainly the older generation that liked the beaches and the historical sides of things.

I let out a small breath when I heard the backdoor shut quietly and my boss came hobbling out into the open with her dog. Miss Holdana was my boss, a kindly old lady who offered me this job when it was raining and I was sitting in the corner reading up on my Shakespeare for a school assignment. She had to nip out to talk to her husband and asked me to watch the place whilst she was gone. I did a good job and she told me that if I ever needed somewhere to work, come to her. I came to her the day after that, anything to keep me out of the house.

"How's it going dear?" she asked, her voice was humble but her eyes were weary. She had to be nearing ninety by now. Her husband died last year of a stroke and she hadn't been the same since. She always seemed tired, haggard and frail.

"It's going alright," I said through a smile, she offered a slight one back and lowered herself into the plush chair by the bookcase in the corner. Her wispy grey hair was falling out of her bun and Tyke, her small jack Russell, followed her over to the seat, not leaving her side once. When Mr Holdana died it was almost as if Tyke could sense it; the grief and the loss. He stayed around Miss Holdana's feet and seemed to guard her every move, protecting her and taking on the role of the male in the family. I thought it was cute but Miss Holdana was often moaning about how the dog wouldn't leave her alone.

I leaned forward on the counter, trying to move my bandaged wrist behind the wood so she wouldn't spot it but I wasn't quick enough and her eyes narrowed, her wrinkles making her eyes look like dark slits.

"What have you done this time, Allison?" she asked, concern riddled through her voice and her expression softened.

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