[5]

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NEW YORK WAS VERY, VERY DIFFERENT FROM ANYTHING I HAD KNOWN BEFORE.

I had anticipated new things, of course; it would be stupid not to. I had read up on the wondrous America and learned all about who they were and how it was run, so I was not unfamiliar with all of their practices and customs. In comparison to the Red Room, what I had been taught was so dissimilar it might as well had been from a whole other universe. However, I had not imagined everything to be so strange, even the smallest of things that I had not realised was strange or odd.

I had barely slept a wink last night. The bed was too soft, and my hands weren't chained up high like I was accustomed to, leaving me to awkwardly lay straight as a board and beg for some sort of mercy in the name of exhaustion. I missed the ache swelling through my wrists that fell sharp at any sudden movement, and the chill always running through the room despite how many bodies lay silent within. We had never been given luxuries like multiple pillows or soft comforters that made me feel as if I was melting into a puddle of magic or a bed that we could roll over on and not fall off. It had been a single hard cot, with a thin blanket and a pillow that was rarely washed or changed out. The room with no one in it but myself and whatever security devices lurked in the high ceilings - it was not right. None of it. I needed to go back to what I was used to, my body had no place among such soft, luxurious fabrics or against such a beautiful bed meant for a far more innocent mind.

In the end, I had simply grabbed a pillow and laid on the ground beside the large bed, curling up into a ball and staring at the bottom of the wall until my eyes finally drifted shut and I was carried off to dreamland. Maybe I would someday be used to the strange room, but for now, it would not be the same.

Another thing was the noise. At the Academy, everything was dead silent. If someone made a peep in the night, they were carried out and punished, sometimes not seen for days - if ever again. But in America, everything was loud, and it seemed like nothing ever stopped. Cars zoomed past, planes roared from their lofty position in the sky, and everyone was either screaming, crying, or laughing; things I was not accustomed to at such a volume. Americans were very, very strange people, I had gathered so far.

Perhaps it was just me who was the strange one. Maybe this was how the rest of the world worked, with flashing lights and cars racing past and people always being as loud as possible. I had lived in a sheltered environment all my life, barely seeing what the world was like outside of the small duelling courtyard and strictly monitored walks. I had lived a life of rules and regulations, every move carefully calculated for someone else's benefit. And, although none of that was truly over, this was my first real look at a normal life.

Whatever that meant, for a girl such as me.

I turned my attention to my small room, taking in the new-found belongings that would make me look and feel like I was just a normal seventeen-year-old. Inga had made sure to bring a set of clothing that would help me blend in, clothes that were soft and had colour and didn't hang like a sack off of my thin frame. I had never worn clothes like that; it was unheard of at the Academy, to stand out amongst greys and harsh folds. All of it was, really.

My lips parted as the clothes fell against my figure, the soft blue dress a gorgeous fit, showing me as a reborn girl. Gone was the harshened lines the grey always brought out, and though my hair was pulled back in the only hairstyle I ever learnt and numerous scars, almost invisible to those who knew nothing stood out, there was a moment of normalcy when I looked at myself. 

What a strange being, to see what could have been.

I could hear Inga moving around not a few feet away from my closed door, and knew that any moment from now, she would barge in and interrupt my few cherished moments alone. Hurriedly throwing on the clothing and making sure everything was properly tucked in and smoothed out, including my bed, I exited my quiet space. It was better to make a move before she could choose one for me.

Little Spy | Peter Parker ✓Where stories live. Discover now