This is something I have written about when new things are developed and change how we see the world. Hope you like it.
Red Light, Green Light, Red Light, Green Light. It’s like a traffic light system except I prefer traffic lights than whatever you would call this. It’s like you can’t call your house your home anymore because you’re in a different one every day and it’s like torture. It might be convenient for some people like my granddad who always likes a change of scenery or even that woman that lives down the road – or should I say lived down the road seeing as she won’t be living there anymore. But this system just isn’t for me. I prefer the old ways where when you bought a house it was your house forever or at least until you sold it. Mum keeps telling me that I’m being old fashioned and need to keep with the times, and this is coming from a fan of the hippy era.
Brrrrrrrrrrrring! The school bell rings loudly signifying the end of the school day and brings me out of my thoughts. I sigh loudly getting a few strange looks from my classmates as I scrape my chair backwards and slowly start packing my school bag. Planner, Pencil case, Books. All in their right places. Perfect. Now to find the small piece of paper with the new house address on that mum gave me this morning over breakfast. I really will never get used to having to find a different house everyday. Really, it was so much easier when everybody had a key which just unlocked one house. Aha, I fish it out of the back pocket of my school trousers and start walking aimlessly away from school looking for a 12 Elm Tree Grove.
One long hour later, just as it looks like it is about to rain, I find it. It’s a nice house really, big, old fashioned and it’s even got a balcony. It’s the perfect house and I wish I could stay here permanently but no doubt I’ll be living somewhere else tomorrow.
Walking up the path to the front door the smell of freshly cut grass is so overwhelming that I fail to realise that the house’s lock light is green so I walk straight into the locked door practically breaking my poor nose.
Strange, Mum was supposed to have come straight here after breakfast this morning to make sure no one else took the house because with this stupid system you can have any house you want as long as it’s unoccupied at the moment you want it. That’s another ridiculous thing about the system because if you just nip out to the corner shop to get some milk for your breakfast someone has to stay in the house because if you leave it unoccupied – even just for five measly minutes – by time you get back someone else would have probably took your house. Maybe mum’s gone to the shops to get some milk or something for tea and will be back in five minutes. Or maybe she’s gone to pick Ebony up from school seeing as I’m a bit late home from school myself as it took so long to get here. If we’re going to be living this far away from school for any length of time I’ll have to figure out a bus route.
Ebony is my little sister by the way and she’s only four years old so needs picking up from school, and it’s my job to pick her up everyday because mum needs to get to the house before anybody else does. Surely this isn’t any way to live. She can’t even take up a permanent job, in case somebody else takes the house that mum gave me the address for. With me being late home she might have thought I was staying over at school for an after school club or something so gone to pick her up herself. Well, whatever he reason is for not being here she’ll be back soon so I’ll just let myself in. After all I’ve got my own “Magic Key” as they are called same as everyone else in my family.
You see, everybody gets a key when they are born or whatever the age they were when the system started and it’s personalised to them. Three inches long and a lovely purple colour they are able to “remember” the inside of your house as you left it and make it appear in whatever unoccupied house you insert the key into. I don’t know how it works because it’s all very complex but it does. Everyone who lives in a house together like families each get their own keys which are all connected.
The connected keys all remember the exact same house exactly as the last person who has one of the connected keys left it. It’s the only part of the system I actually like because having the keys connected benefits me. For example, if in the morning mum leaves some warm, fresh cookies on a plate they are still warm and fresh when I get home from school hours later because when you leave the key remembers exactly how the house was left, cookies and all. It’s like time freezes when you leave and then continues when you return. It’s weird, but I like it. I wonder if mum left any cookies today for me. Well, there’s only one way to find out.
I get my key out of my bag pocket which is specifically designed for keys and insert it into the lock watching as the lock changes colour from a green showing the house is empty to a bright red signifying that the house is now occupied. I gingerly push the door open and look inside before stepping in because one day the keys could all fail and if you walk inside you’d fall into black nothingness.
I’ve actually looked through the window of a unoccupied house and all you can see is black – like there’s nothing there at all. Then when you put your key in the inside lights up so you can see what’s in, even if there is no lights on. In my house everything looks the same as this morning. Ebony’s teddy is sprawled on the floor in the exact position it was when she threw it from the breakfast table during a morning tantrum about her cereal. An empty coffee mug is placed on the phone table where I left it this morning as I rushed out of the door as not to be late for school. The boxes containing “memories” as mum calls them or boxes of junk as everyone else calls them are piled on the stairs waiting to be put in the attic just like they were this morning – and last night.
This last thing I noticed, about the boxes of junk on the stairs is pretty strange actually as they shouldn’t be there. Of course, they were there this morning but they shouldn’t be there now because mum was supposed to have cleaned them up when she got to the new house, same as the empty coffee mug left on the table. This proves that mum hasn’t been in the house all day because like me she has a kind of obsessive compulsive disorder where she likes everything to be in its right place.
Everything seems to be right so I remove my key from the lock and slide it into my back pocket as I step over the door threshold and on to the mat at the other side. The door quickly slams shut behind me, the noise echoing loudly through the empty house, and although I know that the lock light will stay red until I leave the house I can’t help staring expectantly at it, praying that my mother will walk through with Ebony holding her hand. Later, we’d all laugh about the situation and how I always think of the worst things that can happen like that time in Disney World where Ebony went over to watch some people on a ride and I thought she was lost and we would never see her again. But we did and I will see my mum again. It is 3:30 so she probably has gone to pick Ebony up from school and I’m just thinking the worst as usual. I’m probably just panicking because I hate being alone in the house ever since this new system started three years ago. It’s not like I’m not old enough to stay in the house alone because I’m fifteen, practically sixteen. It’s just she’s always here; everyday after school and it just feels so different. I’m starting to panic again so to make today feel more normal I’m to go change out of my school uniform.
I walk up the stairs trying to make as little noise as possible in the already silent house but ruin the effect completely as I trip over one of the “memory” boxes on the way and fall flat on my face hurting my already hurt nose. “OW!” I moan as I drag myself off the floor, rubbing my nose and continue to my bedroom. My nose will be completely broken by the end of today if I carry on the way I am.
As soon as I get in my room I turn my CD player on a start listening to my favourite music. The normality of this eases my mind and I am able to get changed in peace. I walk over to my wardrobe and pull my favourite jeans and T-shirt off one of the pin-neat piles in my wardrobe. I change into them and slowly fold my uniform to put in the wardrobe as I sing in harmony with the CD. Ah, perfect! Now for a snack. I turn the music off and head back down to the kitchen.
As I cut my Tuna, Cheese and Ham sandwich in half the phone rings suddenly, startling me so I nearly cut my finger off. Stupid timing! I quickly grab the phone off the cradle to quieten it as in the empty house it seems way too loud. “Hello,” I say into the phone as somebody at the other end says, “Hello, this is Mrs Jones, Ebony’s teacher, and I’m calling to inform you that no-one has come to pick Ebony up. Is there a problem?”
“No, everything is fine and someone will be there in a few minutes to pick her up” I reply calmly. I here the slow buzz of the telephone line signifying the end of the conversation and hastily replace it on to the cradle. I’m shocked, how could my mother forget to pick Ebony up? She’s so reliable, it’s unreal that she forgot or maybe she’s gone somewhere else and was actually expecting me to collecting her. This panics me even more, but I head upstairs to grab my trainers from the wardrobe anyway.