|Story One, Part 5:
Sveta Rychkova, a Russian nurse
One hand gripped the shopping list and the other pushed the shopping trolley. She didn’t know why she had taken a trolley, there were only five items on her list, but she enjoyed the power of controlling the metal vehicle and she feared that her strength couldn’t hold a basket for long. She tossed some milk, crackers and pasta into the trolley, then headed to the chilled section. She would love to have some ham, but she was never sure about its quality, probably another of her mother’s issues subconsciously affecting her. She moved to the next aisle for toilet paper and froze. He was there again.
What often does that man work? He seemed to be there every time she was there. She knew he was Mexican; he had told her. He told her one day when she was looking at all these Mexican food tins. He had told her in her dreams too. He had begun to appear in her dreams regularly, especially one scenario that she remembered clearly. The Mexican was filling a freezer chest when the lights in the store would all go out. Sveta would suddenly find herself bent over the freezer chest with her panties around her ankles; she wanted to scream but no sound would leave her lips.
Before the Mexican could touch her, Sveta would wake up sweating and automatically grab one of the pills beside her bed. She would swear that the dreams were caused by something she had eaten, but Sveta knew deep down that her diet was not the cause of her nightmares. In another dream, the Mexican would force feed her cheese until Sveta suffocated and then abuse her unconscious body; Sveta was no dream analyst but she knew that there was something wrong with these.
The toilet paper aisle was empty, where had he gone? She looked around and she couldn’t see him. He knew that she knew he wanted to kill her and then rape her, because that was in her dreams as well. The cashier packed her shopping and left the shop before the Mexican could return from wherever he was.
She made a cup of coffee and watched the birds circling in the sky. It was so funny that she came all this way for a better future and now she found herself living in a small apartment in a strange city, while back home she had a room bigger than her whole apartment in a beautiful house with a big garden – also nobody was trying to kill or sexually attack her. They hate her. That’s it; they hate the successful. They feel jealous, they are all jealous and that’s why they try to kill her.
The time was just after six and she still had another three hours before she started work. She made another cup of coffee and turned on the television immediately muting the sound. She always kept the volume turned off, so she could imagine what the conversation was discussing. It was probably about their kids because that’s what all the people talk about on television lately. Their kids! She thought of the strange family in the neighbouring apartment: Four people living in 50-square- metres screaming all the time with the television blaring twenty-four hours a day.
She was feeling calm now. The sound of their television filtered into her apartment. It was strange how she had become used to it. When they first moved in everything about them bothered her, nowadays she could barely hear them. He seemed to be at work all the time and, for a strange reason, the kids never seemed to be away at school or something. That was insane, but none of her business.
The wife was there all the time. She watched everybody from the security of her veil. Sveta was sure that she had green eyes but sometimes these Arabs have green and blue eyes. Her eyes were not good eyes; they were the eyes of evil. Perhaps these Arabs perform some kind of black magic. Sveta wondered if she was under some strange spell that made her rely upon these little sweets everyday, she looked on the desk and she only had a few left to last until the start of her shift.
She should be extra careful tonight, the weekend was coming and she had to take some extra sweets. She would give only one pill to the old Arab women on her ward; she doesn’t need a second. She could also take a couple of extra packets from the store. She always thought that the pills had a weird bitter taste similar to the smell that Arabs leave behind them. Why do Arabs all have this funny aroma?
If that woman didn’t hate her so much, she could ask the old Arab lady. Perhaps she wanted to kill her, there was a look in her eyes sometimes, but Sveta knew that she didn’t have the strength or speed to beat a young nurse. Maret hadn’t called today. Maret worked for a company that cleaned offices during the night. Her husband had left her two years ago and since then they had became closer. It was weird, in the beginning they were on the same bus every single morning, but had never met. Something happened, Sveta wished she could remember what, and they became friends. In fact, Maret was her only friend.
Why had Maret asked her about the headaches? It seemed that Maret was asking the same thing as Margarita. Maret was always reading these women’s magazines packed full of health facts and statistics, she was always telling Sveta about nurse statistics, such as five percent of nurses in the USA have, one way or another, been for a period of their professional life a victim of drugs. Why had she picked that particular snippet of information? Was she trying to say something? Why couldn’t her friend mind her own business?
Maret was dating a man with ginger hair and a strange name. Maybe Maret wouldn’t want to see her so much anymore or her new male friend wouldn’t want Maret to be friends with Sveta. She now understood why her mother had warned her about ginger-haired men, but this guy was good. The strange-named guy was Dutch or something like that; she liked him when they all went out on that double date with the ginger’s Irish friend. Sveta had drunk lemon juice all night, despite protests from all three of her companions; she never drank alcohol, but how could she explain about her mother?
During that evening, the ginger guy had told them that his name meant ‘warrior’ and his surname meant ‘dark foreigner’. A chill ran down Sveta’s spine. Dark foreigner. She was the foreigner. Just as she was beginning to convince herself that Dark Foreigner had other things on his mind, the Irish guy joked that he didn’t believe a ginger-haired bloke could be a dark foreigner warrior and everybody laughed. Sveta put the pill back in her pocket and took a sip of her lemon juice.
We hope you enjoyed the first chapter of our nightshift stories; a series that will be interconnected, weaving throughout one night. We would appreciate some feedback on the first chapter. Thank you.
Read the other chapters
<--Previous 1 2 3 4 5