It was a very very busy day at the cafe. People were sat down on tables, both outdoors and inside the shop itself. Sofia Shevernadze was busy serving the customers, dressed up in her waitress uniform. Sometimes when she would pass by tables, some of the men would be rude enough to pat her on the ass or even saying to her face, "Nice tits, love." She did not like that one bit.
Sofia was an attractive young Lithuanian woman, working at this cafe in the heart of London. She was 22 years old, stood at 5'2, very pale, slim, had curly brown hair, had sky-colored blue eyes, had 40D sized breasts. She could be a cold person but often warmed up to people whom she got fairly acquainted with and had university degrees in Sociology, Law, Business and Politics.
For all her degrees in all the courses she took, she still could not find any job back in Vilnius, her home town and also the capital of Lithuania. Lithuania was a country in the Baltic. The Baltic was in the north-east of Europe. The countries there were sandwiched between Russia and Finland. It used to be a communist country and part of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republic), once controlled by Russia. It became an independent country once the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s. It then became a member of the European Union in 2004 and that meant Lithuanian citizens could travel freely to other member states of the European Union, including Britain.
Many Eastern Europeans often travelled to Britain because of the higher wages and that they could earn more money in Britain than in any other EU country. In fact wages in Britain are even higher than that of the United States of America.
However there was another reason why she left Lithuania. Sofia had a dark secret.
By the time it was 4PM, the cafe only had two tables occupied. Sofia went to the back room of the café and was going to tell her boss Mr Gupta (who is from Northern India and not a local British-Indian) that was going to go outside the shop and smoke for a while. The backroom was a storage room and her boss was searching for something.
"I am just going to be smoking outside in case you wonder where I am," Sofia told her boss in her thick Lithuanian-accented English.
"Ok. There is not much work to be done right now," Mr Gupta spoke in a think Northern Indian accented English.
Mr Gupta shrugged.
Sofia walked out of the back room. She took a glimpse at where the other waitresses were. The other waitresses were just sat down, smoking and talking away. Many of them were also from Eastern European countries.
Sofia walked out of the care. She took out a cigarette and lit it up with her lighter. As she inhaled deeply and then puffed away, she saw the other people out on the street. The street was full of other shops. She saw some shop keepers sweeping outside and she saw many pedestrians loitering around the sidewalk.
Something then caught her eye. Something she didn't like. Two guys she knew where headed for her direction. This was shocking for her. One guy was tall, Blond and had blue eyes and the other guy was her height, with black hair and blue eyes.
"Well well well. Who would have thought we would see you here," smirked the shorter guy with black hair.
"Hello Valek. What are you doing in this part of London?" she asked in a cold tone and in their native language.
"Would you believe looking for a job," chuckled the tall Blond guy in Lithuanian.
"Don't we all, Kovarisch" she told the Blond guy.
"Do you work here?" the black haired guy asked inquisitively.
"Afraid so. I am actually struggling here but I don't think they are looking for anyone right now. The cafe is not looking for any new staff," Sofia told them coldly.
"Listen to me bitch. I am going to cut to the chase. We want £1000 from you. We want it by tomorrow or else we would go over to the police and tell them your dirty little secret. We want it by tomorrow" Valek sneered at her.
Sofia gulped. This was the moment when he would always blackmail her. Because he knew her dirty secret back in Lithuania, he not only blackmailed her for money but also for sex with him and his friends. Lucky for her he was not a member of some criminal gang and that he and his friends weren't that too bright either, even when they did try blackmailing her. Many criminal gangs from eastern Europe exploited their own women and trafficked them to countries like Britain, to become sex workers and prostitutes in mafia-ran night clubs.
Despite the fact that Valek and gang sometimes beat her up, tied her up and forced her to have sex with them, they never made her whore for them for money.
Valek then put his hand on her right breast. She slapped his hand down.
"Take your hands off me," she scolded him in a low tone.
Sofia did not want to create a commotion, fearing it would make matters even worst.
The Blond guy named Kovarisch came and pinned her strongly against the wall.
"Listen bitch. You do as you are told," Kovarisch spoke to her in a dumb tone.
"Can you ask this oaf to let me go? He is hurting me," Sofia begged Valek.
Valek then gestured for Kovarisch to let her go. Kovarisch stopped pinning Sofia against the wall.
"Look Valek. I don't have this kind of money. I work in this lousy cafe ok. Cut me some slack," pleaded Sofia.
Valek gave her a look.
"Ok I'll be kind to you since you are, after all, just some fucking waitress in this fucking dump," chuckled Valek.
Valek and Sofia stared at each other for five minutes. Valek looked impatient and Sofia looked scared. She knew that he would not beat her up right here in front of everyone else.
"I want £500 instead. I know you can cough up that money, even if you work as a waitress in this fucking city. London is the place to make loads of money. Everyone knows that. Heck you probably make more money here than many people who do office jobs back in our country. If I don't get my money the police will know all about you and you will be going back to our country. Your mama and papa will learn the truth about their little angel, who is not really an angel at all but a devil. I also do not think you will survive women's prison either," Valek talking in a threatening tone.
Sofia sighed, with fear in her eyes and her voice.
"Look. I can't give you this much money right now. Give me time until the end of the week. I should have your money by then," Sofia whimpered.
"Ok. Have it by then. If I don't see my money by then, you can kiss your freedom good bye and spend the rest of your life in jail. Come Kovarisch, let's go," Valek telling the other guy with him.
Valek and Kovarisch left.
Shit. How the hell did they ever bump into her here of all places. Back in Lithuania, Valek did not just have Kovarisch alone but his four other friends. Then that faithful day when she boarded the plane headed for Germany (further taking her to another airport which had another flight headed for London), her heart sank when she saw Valek and Kovarisch on board the plane. They just smiled at her, as if they were old friends but lucky for her, they were seated elsewhere on the plane and nowhere close to her. They did not even disturb her. When she was finally in Heathrow airport, in London, she caught a glimpse of them. She suspected that they were in Britain, involved in something dodgy.
That happened 3 years ago but she was just as shocked that they were still in Britain. Perhaps they never left the country since arriving 3 years ago and it is only for her bad luck that they ran into her.
A young black woman dressed in Versace clothes, approached Sofia, putting a hand on Sofia's shoulder. She saw the whole thing but probably could not understand what they were talking about but enough to know that Sofia was being threatened.
"Are you alright? You want me to call the cops?" the black lady asked in her London-ish accent.
"No thanks. I'm ok," Sofia making a weak smile, then walking off.
Sofia went back inside the cafe, to continue doing some work. By the time it was 8PM, her work ended. She left the cafe, walked all the way to her bus stop and waited for her bus. When her bus finally came, she boarded it. She took out her bus pass and placed its front side towards the electric scanning machine next to the bus driver. She still had enough money in her credit to make some other journeys. She just headed straight for home.
Once Sofia got off at her stop, she then walked towards the building where she lived in. She was definitely sure that those two goons didn't know where she lived. She was sure that they were not even smart enough to think of hiding and waiting for her to leave work so that they could follow her all the way here. As for that incident at the cafe, it was nothing more than a coincidence.
Sofia took out her key and unlocked the front door to the building. Once inside she walked all the way to the elevator and pushed the red button. When the elevator finally reached the ground floor, it opened up. Sofia got inside and then hit button 4. The elevator took her to the fourth floor. When the elevator finally reached the fourth floor, Sofia walked out. She walked to her one bedroom flat. She took out her house key and unlocked the front door.
"Sofia is that you??" cried her housemate Jackie.
"Yeah it's me," Sofia answered back, then closing the front door behind her.
Sofia and Jackie had been housemates for over a year now. They lived in a one bedroom flat, that had a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom. Jackie used the living room as her bedroom and Sofia got the actual bedroom.
"Jackie I need to talk to you," Sofia said, as she entered the kitchen.
Jackie was cooking spaghetti and some lasagna.
"I hope you have a good appetite. I cooked enough Italian for the both of us. How about you just sit down in my room and relax. I will bring us dinner and then you can tell me what it is that is troubling you my dear," Jackie said to her in a calm voice.
Jackie was a plump dark haired dark-eyed Irish woman. She always spoke with a sexy Irish accent.
"I need a shower first," Sofia sighed.
"Ok dear. You go have shower first and then we'll eat. I'll wait for you," smiled Jackie.
Sofia went to her bedroom, took off her working clothes and out on a red towel around her naked body and then went into the bathroom. She took a 5 minute shower. The warm water felt nice on her naked sweating body. After her shower, she retreated to her bedroom and dried herself off. She then put on some more comfortable clothes and then joined Jackie in her bedroom/living room.
Both girls were sat down in front of the television, eating spaghetti. Jackie smiled at her. Sofia could still remember how they first met.
Sofia came to London about 3 years ago. She lived all by herself in some cheap one bedroom flat. Back then she had another job. She worked at Ikea. Working there was hell. If it had not been for Ikea, she would not have met Jackie. The two became very close friends and then decided to find a place to live together. Both young women were lucky to have found other jobs. Sofia ended up working at that café and Jackie at some WH Smith bookshop.
"I take it that something happened at work?!" said Jackie.
"Ok let me try start from the beginning," Sofia said.
Sofia was going to try telling Jackie her story. She was going to tell a half truth and a half lie. Sofia could not really let Jackie know her real life story.
Sofia told Jackie that her ex boyfriend from Lithuania came all the way to England and had managed to track her down all the way to London and that she needed to get away from him. Jackie said that they should tell this to the police. Sofia then made up a story how her ex boyfriend was some ex hitman and that the London police would not be able to fully protect her.
"I have an idea Jackie. Remember that place you took me to. That small town where your mom lives. That town that is next to the sea. Do you think I could go there and hide. I mean I am certain that he would not know that I would be in a place like that or thinking of looking for me over there," Sofia spoke in a persuading tone.
"Well it's worth a try. But let me call my mom first so that I can tell her to expect us to be there tomorrow afternoon," Jackie suggested.
Jackie's mom lived in a small town that faced the sea and it was situated somewhere towards the central-west of the country.
"Thanks Jackie. I really appreciate this," Sofia sounded grateful.
"Hey you are like my sister. Of course I would do everything in my power to try and save your life. I mean I am sure that he would try looking for you in some other big cities if he found out that you left London. A small quite town would be the best place to hide," Jackie said.
Jackie called her mom on her cell phone and spoke to her in Sofia's bedroom.
Over a year ago Sofia followed Jackie for a holiday. Jackie learned that her mom had moved in to some small coastal town which they had visited once since Jackie was a little girl. It was Jackie, Sofia and two of their other friends. One of them had a car and drove them all the way there. It was long ride. Jackie's mom lived all by herself and they all spent the entire week there, having a great time.
Half-an-hour later Jackie joined Sofia back in her bedroom-living room.
"Listen. Mom will be expecting us tomorrow. I also called Keira up. She said she can be here tomorrow morning and drive us all the way there. Told her it was an emergency. We are both calling sick tomorrow morning. Don't forget to call in sick. I didn't want to say this to you but forget about ever going back to your working place. I don't think you can ever go back there again, even to ask them for whatever money they may still owe you. This is a sacrifice you have to make," suggested Jackie.
Jackie always thought of things far in advance. Sofia felt guilty. She felt that she was abandoning her housemate and putting her in a much tougher position but she was sure that she would be able to find a one bedroom flat which she could afford. Sofia knew that she had to run away from Valek and his tall Blond henchman. As far as she was concerned, her life depended on it and if she was not in London anymore, there was no way in hell Valek could expose her to the London police as she was sure that they had no pictures of her to show to the police.
Whatever she did back home, she was going to make sure that she was never going to end up in jail for what she did. She did not even want to think about it. Thinking about it scared the hell out of her.
Tonight she was going to pack her bag and tomorrow morning, Jackie was going to come and pick both young women up. Keira was that friend who drove them there before and they used Jackie's map to try and find the place. Keira was such a good friend to do all this for Sofia. So was Jackie.
After Sofia finished packing some of her stuff, Jackie then came up to her.
"Hey I made us cups of tea," Jackie smiled.
"Ok. I think I am going to have an early night. What time do we have to be up?" asked Sofia.
"Jackie will be here by 7-ish. Wake up by 6 and be ready by then. But no. I think you should drink the tea I made for you before hitting off to bed," said Jackie.
"Alright," Sofia complied.
Sofia joined Jackie for tea and fifteen minutes later, retired to her bedroom and dozed off on her bed.
The next morning Keira came and picked them up. Keira was an attractive petite Blonde with green eyes. Keira had a Peugeot. They unloaded Sofia's baggage inside the car trunk. Jackie sat in front with Keira while Sofia sat in the back.
"Sofia we are going to spend the night there with you. We'll have to tell mom the whole story but I think after tomorrow, I have to be back for work," Jackie spoke to Sofia from the front seat.
"Me too. Hey Sofia you think you are going to enjoy life in a little town?," asked Keira.
"I am going to have to. What choice do I have?!" stated Sofia.
Keira drove off.
Keira had been driving for hours. Sofia told Keira the same lie she told Jackie. She had both young women's sympathies. They passed by cities and Sofia's eyes were used to seeing the empty highway roads for hours and hours and hours. She even remembered the car passing by some roads that were surrounded by woods.
As Sofia was sat down at the back of the car, listening to the two other girls talking to each other, she dozed off for a while. Her mind started wandering off. She was remembering the incident that happened in Vilnius, in Lithuania.
It was one stormy night. Sofia had a lot to drink. She had been drinking with friends in some night club. Back then she was just a university student. It was somewhere after midnight that she left her friends in the club and drove off in her car. Before she realized it, she had run someone over on the road. It happened on a road that was surrounded by woods. She stopped the car and saw who she ran over on the road. It was some drunken bum. There was blood stain in front of her car too.
She killed the drunken bum. She was scared as hell. She was going to go to jail, that is, if someone found out what she did. She did not want to go to jail. She was young and beautiful and had a future.
She hid the corpse in the trunk. She knew if she left it here, someone would see it and notify the authorities. Once the authorities had been notified, there would be an investigation. It wouldn't be long before they traced the man's death to her.
She hid the trunk in her car. She drove back home that same night, so that she could pick up some shovels from her garage. She then drove in the night again, burying the corpse by some woods. Not by the same woods where she ran over the bum. She drove off to some other woods and buried the body there. The spot where she had buried the corpse was very very deep into the woods ... A week after that incident, Valek and his friends approached her inside a pub inside their university. She knew Valek and his friends as they all attended the same university but not the same course. He always tried to ask her out and she always told him no. He didn't take no for an answer and always tried to put his arms around her but she always kicked him in the balls. This time when he approached she didn't kick his balls. He told her that he saw her one evening by the woods. He saw her bury some corpse and that he knew she must have run him over and try to cover it up, by burying the body.
He was blackmailing her. If she did not want to go to jail, she must comply with his two demands. One was that he and his friends could have sex with her anytime they wanted to. The second was that she had to give them, money every time they were broke or that they needed it. She allowed herself to be blackmailed into sexual slavery. Valek and his friends would bring her to their student accommodation, take turns tying her up and having sex with her while she is in bondage or that she would go on her knees and take turns giving each guy a blowjob or allowing them to fuck her in the ass or even make her participate with them in their group orgies, like having one guy fuck her on all fours while she sucked another guy off.
She put up with it as she was going to be leaving Lithuania for Britain in about a month's time. The idea was that she was going to be going to Britain to work for at least a month and then return back to Lithuania for her graduation. She decided she was leaving the country for good and would just kiss her graduation, friends and family good bye, as she did not want to be in the same country as her blackmailer.
If I leave Lithuania I would never see that bastard Valek and his friends again, she thought at the time.
It all happened 3 years ago and now she bumped into her blackmailer once more. As long as Valek did not have a picture of hers, there was no way he could expose her to the police and she doubted even if they actually knew her full name, apart from her first name Sofia. Without a picture or even a full identity, neither the British police nor the Lithuanian police would know how to look for her. She doubted if they even knew hot describe her to a police artist.
She doubted that it would even occur to Valek to go to the university reception with the police, making them give all the names and all the pictures of all the students who have ever studied there, so that he could identify which student it was who may have killed someone. Even if he was back in Vilnius, she was sure that he would forget all about her, since she knew him to have a low memory at certain times. He only blackmails her only when he spots her and he never even asks her for any contact details and makes his demands there and then.
He was only a threat to her while they were both together in London, as he would always remember her dark secrets. If he does not see her, he would not even really think about her, except that he is supposed to meet her outside her working place by the end of that week.
Sofia was sure that as long as Valek was in Britain, she would be in trouble. She had not seen him in 3 years and yet they bumped into her, in London. She still could not take the risk of even living another big city, as the chances of them visiting other places like Manchester or Liverpool were pretty high. Valek was an opportunist and opportunists only make it out in cities and not small towns.
"Hey Sofia wake up," Jackie called out.
Sofia woke up, blinking her eyelids. Jackie had just woken up from her dreams, which were about her memories in Vilnius.
"We are going to get something to eat. You hungry?" Jackie asked.
"You bet," smiled Sofia.
Jackie parked her car outside a large restaurant out in the middle of some highway. All 3 girls ate and then continued their journey.
By the time it was 4PM in the afternoon, Keira was already driving by a lone road that faced the sea.
"Hey guys we're almost there," Keira said.
They were already reaching the small coastal town of Jackie's mom. Sofia looked out the window. She saw some beaches. They were empty but she could see the tidal waves roaring. They looked beautiful.
Then they saw the sign:
WELCOME TO SALEM'S CREEK
Salem's Creek was the name of this little town...
Salem's Creek was not a small town because of its size. It was quite large in geographical size and how much land it encompassed within its own borders. It just had a few residents.
Sofia saw few people walking by.
Finally Keira reached Jackie's mom's house, which was a large two-storey house on top of a hill. The hill had a cliff which overlooked the sea.
Keira parked her car in front of what was supposed to be the house's driveway. All 3 of them got out of Keira's car. Sofia smelled the fresh air. It was clean air, not polluted and staunch like in London. Jackie knocked on the door. A minute later the front door opened and Jackie's mom stood on the front doorway. She saw Sofia and quickly gave her a hug.
"Are you alright my dear?? Jackie told me about your ex. You are better off with me here my love," Jackie's mom cried.
Jackie's mom was a fat woman in her 60s. She was very emotional and affectionate with all of her daughter's friends.
"I am fine thank you Isabelle. Now that I am here," Sofia replied back in a grateful tone.
Isabelle was Jackie's mom's name. Sofia hugged back.
"Why don't you all get your stuff out and bring them in," Isabelle ushering the 3 girls.
They got their baggage out of the car and moved them into Isabelle's house. Isabelle's house had a lower floor and an upper floor. On the lower floor were the living room, a long hallway, a downstairs bathroom and a kitchen, that had a backdoor that opened up to a small garden which was actually the edge of the cliff. There were stairs that led up to the upper floor. Upstairs were 3 bedrooms and an upstairs bathroom. One bedroom was Isabelle's. The other two were for guests.
Jackie actually lived all by herself here. She only had a TV and a radio and had a PC with Internet in the living room itself.
That whole day all 4 of them strolled around town. There were only a few people. Many families took their kids and left the town over the years, hoping to make a better life in the big cities. Overall the town only had less than 3000 inhabitants, most of them adults and elderly people. Most people had some form of employment. Some were fishermen. Some worked in farms. Others worked for some big corporation that manufactured stuff.
As for houses, most houses were very far from each other and not packed up like houses in the big cities. Some houses were big. Some were small. Some were near the beaches. Some were near the woods. Some near the highway and the road.
As for someone who was in this town and had no choice but to stroll around, he only had few alternatives where he could loiter. There was a petrol station. There was even a supermarket. There was a barber shop. There was a car dealer who had a shop selling all kinds of vehicles and for a cheap price too. There was a small shop that sold all kinds of things and even did repair jobs too. There were 2 diners and 4 pubs. There was a large Anglican Church. There was even a school but Isabelle told them most of the kids were gone and had only few students studying there. There was even a small bank. There was even a small lottery shop too.
On the downside there was neither a hospital nor a police station. For that they would have to go to the nearest town, which was miles away. Most of the town's residents had some mode of transport, whether it was a car or a truck or even a normal bicycle. If one did not have Internet in his or her house, tough luck. In this little coastal town, there was no CyberCafe.
That whole day Isabelle and Jackie were talking about Sofia's problem and what to do about it. Isabelle was more than happy to have Sofia stay with her.
By the time it was 7PM, they all had dinner at one of the diners. Isabelle and Jackie were sat together on one end of the table while Sofia and Keira were sat on the opposite end. That night they all had a good time. When they returned back to Isabelle's place, they all had tea before hitting the bed. Isabelle slept in her bedroom while all 3 girls shared the same bedroom, which was going to be Sofia's bedroom while she was staying with Isabelle.
The next morning, Keira and Jackie got in the car and waved their good byes to Isabelle and Sofia, who were stood by Isabelle's doorway. Keira drove off.
"I think you are going to like it here in Salem's Creek," Isabelle putting a hand on Sofia's shoulder.
Sofia looked back at Isabelle and gave her warmest sincerest smile.
"I do hope you will make this your new home," Isabelle said.
Sofia was grateful for Isabelle taking her in but she knew that if she wanted to have some of her own money to spend and not just rely on Isabelle to give her hand-outs, she would eventually have to get a job here.
Sofia has been in Salem's Creek for more than a week. In the morning she helps Isabelle with housework such as hoover the floor or sweeping in the kitchen. In the afternoon she accompanies Isabelle all the way to the supermarket to buy the groceries. Isabelle has a bicycle to help her get around and as for money she is a Pensioner but sometimes work at the local charities by baking cookies for sale.
As for other things that they do, they often have lunch at the diners or the pubs and Isabelle introduced Sofia to her other friends, especially when they have dinner at some of Isabelle's friend' houses.
Sofia really loved being here in Salem's Creek. The people were friendly and helpful. There were many beautiful scenarios.
There was one thing she noticed. There weren't that many people in this town loitering around and the only time she saw people in general was when she ate at the pubs or the diners. In the supermarket she and Isabelle normally bumped to either one or two customers and they were mostly elderly.
At night Sofia always slept inside her new bedroom. Every night Sofia would have dreams about the times she was forced to have sex with Valek and his gang. In the past it disgusted her but then now that she so far away from him, she realized that there was a part of her that liked it. Every night she would masturbate whether in her sleep or even when still awake. She masturbated to those incidents when she had been used as a sex slave by Valek. She knew that deep down she started cherishing these memories, no matter how degrading they once were.
Sofia still had a problem. She still had some of her money which she could get out of her bank account but it was going to last her only for so long. Sofia was not working and eventually was going to run out of money.
One evening while Sofia and Isabelle were sat down in front of the television having dinner, Sofia did bring up the issue. The issue was if there was any way she could find a job in Salem's Creek as her money in her account was not going to last forever.
"You have been so kind to me but if I could get a job here you would not have to pay for everything," Sofia said.
"Nonsense dear. I love taking care of you. I mean you did pay for some our lunches," Isabelle said.
"But when I run out of money I would have to rely on you to foot all the bills and I would like to have my own money to spend. I mean you understand," Sofia said.
"Well you could work at any of the diners or the pubs but I am not sure if they have any job vacancies over there," Isabelle sounding grumpy.
Isabelle felt unhelpful. Then all of a sudden Isabelle smiled, as if an invisible light bulb appeared right above her head.
"I think they have some job vacancies at the local school. I think they are short of teachers. You can get a teaching job at the school. I think you should get a job there. A friend of mine told me they pay very well. It's an easy job. I mean you are a smart girl and you can teach the kids something like maths or geography or anything of that sort," Isabelle said.
Isabelle was happy now. She was happy that Sofia was going to be a teacher at the school and staying with her in Salem's Creek.
Sofia thought about it. She had never been a school teacher before, in either England or Lithuania. She then decided for it. Why not. It is not like she would need some degree to become a teacher, especially in a small town like this. She could teach maths or science or geography or history. She wanted to make her own money and teaching shouldn't be hard. And if they were desperate for a teacher, there would be no reason for the school to turn her down.
"So do you think we can go to the school tomorrow morning? I mean I want to apply for a teaching job there? I think it should be fun!" Sofia stated.
"Sure. We'll go there. Right after breakfast," Isabelle said.
Next Day - Tuesday Morning
Isabelle was riding in her bicycle while Sofia was walking alongside her. The school was a large three storey building that stood by a large click. There was a sign that said SALEM'S CREEK SCHOOL.
Sofia could tell that some of the school building windows overlooked the sea.
"Wow this is the school?!" Sofia cried.
"Yup. Quite big isn't it," Isabelle
"Too big!" Sofia stated.
Sofia was shocked. The school was so big that it looked more like a hospital than a school.
"Well this used to be a very large town, like a couple of decades ago. Then more and more families started leaving this town over the decades, like even before the First World War. You see so many houses all over this town. The truth is that more than half of them are vacant," Isabelle commented.
"You mean half of them are empty," Sofia said.
Isabelle nodded, as if indicating it as a matter-of-fact. Sofia got even more shocked. She had only been in this town for over a week and now she learned that this town was nearly a ghost town.
"Shall we go inside," Isabelle suggested,
The two of them walked up the front stairs, then went through the front doors of the building. They were inside what looked like a foyer. In fact it did resemble the lower foyer of a hospital building. The floor was carpeted and they spotted what looked like a receptionist's table. They walked towards where the receptionist was seated.
"Have you ever been here before?" Sofia asked Isabelle, in a whispery tone.
"To the school, no!" answered Isabelle.
They reached the receptionist. The receptionist was a plump redhead in her 40s and wore glasses. The receptionist looked up to them and smiled. The receptionist was someone who obviously recognized Isabelle. After all why shouldn't she. This was a small town.
"Hey Isabelle fancy seeing you here love. You came here to apply for a teaching job? I mean why else would you be here? I know you don't have any kids," chuckled the receptionist.
"I forgot that you were the receptionist for the school Grace. If I remembered it was you I would have called you last night. No I am not here to apply. My friend is here to apply," Isabelle pointed and smiling at Sofia.
Grace, the receptionist, looked from Isabelle to Sofia, then back to Isabelle again.
"Is this the one whom I have heard about? Sara said that a young woman was staying with you," Grace said.
Sara was one of Isabelle's friends whom Sofia had already been introduced to.
"Yup," Isabelle smiled.
"So that settles it then. I would call the principal and tell him that you are here for the job," Grace said.
Grace picked up what looked like an intercom and then buzzed her boss, the school principal. The principal picked up from the other line. Grace told him that there was someone here to apply for a teaching post. Grace stopped talking and listened for a while.
"Alright I'll send her up," Grace said.
She then hung up.
"Ok. What is your name again?" Grace asked Sofia.
"Sofia. Sofia Shevernadze!" Sofia replied.
"Ok Sofia. You can take the stairs over there," Grace spoke.
Grave pointed towards the direction where the stairs were. Sofia looked at that direction. She saw the stairs, leading to the upper floors.
"You know something. On second thought maybe I should go with you. This is your first time and you are going to get lost in this place," Grace offered.
Grave left her post.
"Ok my love. I think I am going to go now. I am going to leave you in Grace's good hands. So when can I expect you home?" asked Isabelle.
"I think I should be able to be back by five-ish," Sofia said.
"Ok then. See you later. Bye love. Bye Grace. Nice meeting you. Hey Grace how about you come over to our place tomorrow evening, for dinner. Let's say seven-ish," Isabelle suggested.
"Sounds great. I'll be there!" Grace responded.
Isabelle left. Sofia felt touched when Isabelle said "our place", indicating that Sofia was also a rightful tenant under Isabelle's roof.
Grace led Sofia up the stairs. When they reached the first floor, Sofia saw how many hallways there were. Grace led her to a particular hallway but she did spot some classrooms with some students in them, as the doors were not fully closed.
Grace led her all the way to the principal's office on the front door there was a sign that said Principal's Office. Grace knocked on the door.
"Come in," the principal called from the other side of the door.
Grace walked away. Sofia then turned the door knob open and walked in. The Principal was a fat balding man in his 50s.
"So you are here for the job. I'm James Skinner by the way. What's your name?" he asked her.
Principal Skinner gestured for her to sit down at the seat in front of his office desk. She sat down.
"My name is Sofia Shevernadze," she responded.
"You speak excellent English. Where are you from?" he asked her.
"I am from Lithuania!" she responded.
They started talking and then he took her all over the school building. The Principal was 2 inches shorter than she was. During recess, Principal Skinner introduced Sofia to the other staff members, including the teachers, the janitor, the maintenance guy, the PE teacher (Physical Exercise Trainer), the school librarian and the lady running the cafeteria.
The first classes were from 7AM to 10AM. From 10AM to 10:30AM was break. Then from 10:30AM all thee way to 1:30PM were the second classes.
The first floor was for those students doing their primary education. Kids doing their primary education were those ages 7 to 10 or 11. They were referred to as juniors. A junior was the British equivalent of a 'grade'. There were altogether 15 rooms but only four were being used, as each class represented each junior. Altogether there were only 40 students studying on the first floor and they all shared the same 6 teachers.
What was also on the first floor was the Principal's office, the cafeteria, the library for junior students, a piano room, a gym, a small shop that sold school books and two separate toilets for boys and girls and the staff room.
On the second floor was for those students doing their secondary education. These were the preteen and teen students, ranging from 11 to 14 or 15. They were referred to as Forms. What shocked Sofia was that there were even more rooms on the second floor. There were 25 rooms but altogether there were only 7 Secondary students: 2 girls in Form 1 and 5 boys in Form 3.
By the time it was 12PM, they were back in Principal Skinner's Office.
"So if you can teach, I need someone who is going to teach those secondary students that I still have left up there on the second floor. One teacher teaches English and History. The other only teaches Literature. I need someone who can teach the more important subjects like mathematics or commerce or geography. I mean it is bad enough that we don't have any computer classes in this school or even have any computers, apart from the one ins my office or the one down by the reception or the one we have at the staff room. I can't even ask you to teach science subjects like biology or chemistry as we don't even have a lab for the students to work on. Miss Shevernadze, do you think you can teach more than one subject. I mean these kids have to learn maths and none of the teachers teaching in this floor have time to teach them," Principal Skinner said.
Principal Skinner meant that the teachers who taught the Primary kids don't have time to spare for the Secondary kids.
"Principal Skinner if you want, I can also teach maths and geography and I can also teach accounting and commerce," Sofia offered.